Small businesses typically focus on the necessities, spending cash flow only on the things they need the most. Sometimes having a website isn’t thrown into the “things I need the most” pile, but it absolutely should.
Websites are a powerhouse of information about your brand. Not only is it downright necessary to have one, but your customers expect you to have one. You’re making their research, and therefore purchasing decisions, a very easy process—and everyone likes easy.
Throw out the misconception that a website is a costly and luxurious endeavor, because it’s not. What it is, however, is a tool you need on your side, and here are 5 reasons why.
1. A good website sells your products or services for you.
Your website is essentially a fully-staffed, 24-hour sales team. If your site is stocked with service information, prices, useful content, contact information, and answers to frequently asked questions, you’re already ahead of the competition. With (potentially) minimal effort, you may already be halfway through the sales process without even speaking to the customer.
2. First impressions are just as important online as they are offline.
When we meet new faces, most of us hop on Google or social media to look them up. Admit it; it’s the norm these days. So it makes sense that 81% of consumers do online research before purchasing a product or service. If a business has a crappy website, it becomes a reflection of the business itself.
If your profile picture on Facebook is a questionable one—whether it’s representative of who you are or not—a hopeful employer could easily toss your resume aside after they peek at your page.
Think about your website that same way.
3. 60% of shoppers begin their research on a search engine before hitting up a site.
There’s a direct correlation between having a website and showing face on Google: search engine optimization (SEO). The sites you see on page 1 are optimized to the max. The code is up to current SEO standards, the content is mapped with keywords, and the site runs smoothly and looks awesome.
The key here is that your business site needs to not only exist, but it also needs to be optimized in order to be found. And if your customers can’t find you, they’ll likely dismiss you entirely.
4. Small businesses lose revenue to brands that have better sites.
It doesn’t matter if your business has a very tiny niche or sells the most boring product in the world—if you can sell it, build a presence online and market it with a website.
What’s more, consumers are more likely to trust a business if it has a website. If the competition has one, even if it’s like the crappy ones we talked about earlier, they still look better than you.
But this doesn’t mean you should quickly patch together a site and call it good. A bad website can be just as damaging as not having one at all.
5. Websites build credibility.
The most credible sites harbor things like contact information, team bios, client lists, and case studies, as those are the backbone of showcasing credentials, capabilities, and successes.
A credible website is one that towers over the competition. It regularly churns current, valuable content, and it’s lean, sleek, and fast. A strong website shows that you’ve invested in your business and are in turn willing to invest in loyal customers.
With 3.2 billion people online, can you really afford to be living offline?