If you’ve found this article the chances are you’re considering whether or not you need a website. It’s understandable to be confused about whether or not your company needs to become digital, having a website for most companies is an automatic benefit when being found online, Google will favour your company over a company that doesn’t have a website. There are many reasons to consider getting yourself a website, and it’s important to really weigh up your options before making any rushed decision! getting a good high performing website can make a huge difference in online sales & traffic.
What is a website?
In simple terms, a website is a collection of pages that have related content to your chosen topic, in 2021 a website can be built for many different purposes or to showcase a number of different ideas. However the most common use for a website is to gain digital advantage for your business.
Business websites are typically used to gain visibility for the business and connect them with their online customers, this can be through online sales or to get their attention and get more foot traffic through the door.
Websites can be built by professional web-design or with the right tools and software, by anybody with enough time and patience, in this day and age there are a number of free-to-use web building tools that can help a local business owner set up their first online store.
Why do we need a website?
Although having a website for your small or local business is not necessarily essential in some cases, the truth is that every business that does not have a website, will have a gap in the market they will never be able to fill. There will always be customers searching online for a local business that provides a service they are looking for, and it’s up to you to reach out to these customers and present yourself in their line of sight. Having a website will give you a better shot at bringing in more customers to your local store, even if you don’t plan on selling online.
To sum up, you may not feel like you need a website, especially if you are already seeing a large amount of local and loyal customers, however, situating yourself online will open you up to a whole new pool of potential customers, looking for your service.
How do we know if we need a website?
Knowing whether or not your company can benefit from a business can often be tricky, you might find yourself requiring a business if any of the following applies to you
- Customers are asking how they can find your online website
Immediately if a customer is asking for your online website details, it means they want to learn more about your company, this has the potential to turn a one-time customer into a loyal brand advocate ( a returning customer). This also means they may be looking to refer friends and family to your business, which becomes much easier when your business is online and easily accessible to all.
2. Stock Management and delivery issues
If your local business involves delivering goods to customers and you’re looking for a way to keep track of your inventory and deliveries having a website can do all this and more for you, not to mention give your customers the opportunity to order online, installing simple plugins to a website can allow you to see how much stock you have, the next shipment of deliveries (both outgoing and incoming) and makes stock management 10X easier.
3. Your competitors are busier than you
If you work in a competitive industry, it’s often harder to get customers to switch from one company to another, especially if the customers have remained loyal to a specific brand, they may not be open to seeing your offers & products out of loyalty to their chosen brand.
However, when it comes to online sales, 59% of customers look for online promotional codes and discounts before shopping. Which means your local business is more likely to be discovered online when the customers are at the ‘pre -purchase’ stage of their customer journey.
Having a website will give you the competitive advantage over your competitors, and make you more easily visible to those searching for your product or service online, it’s not to say that it won’t still be a competitive industry as your competitors may also have a website, however it gives you a better fighting to start to take a bigger piece of the market, and also broaden your reach to customers further afield.
There are many other reasons why you might find yourself needing a website, but the important thing to remember is having a website can instantly improve your chances of finding new customers and offering them a better service, it’s a chance to showcase how your business can help them.
Can I Use Social Media Instead of a Website?
The short answer is yes! Using social media sites is a great way to grow your brand and get noticed, there are a number of benefits to using these sites for marketing, not to mention signing up to social media is completely free for your business and should be utilised with or without a website.
If your business is working well locally and you may not have the money for a new professionally built website, or the time to design one yourself you may consider using social media as an alternative in attempts to gain a wider reach audience, and this can work, in some cases.
However, some of the issues that can appear from social media marketing is it often involves paying for paid ads (PPC) which may become costly over time, and not a long-term solution for online marketing.
Social media also involves planning, time and scheduling as you’ll want to make sure you’re reaching a wide audience, this can take time and months to accumulate a wide number of followers & those who like your businesses online pages.
Although that being said, if your business is completely unique and or offers a local service that customers are happy enough to praise online, the chances are your company will get viewings from shares & recommendations, giving you the opportunity to build a following and maintain an online social media presence that can inform your customers of your latest offers, products and events.
Can I Just Make a Free Website?
There’s no rule against making a free website online! there are many tools that can now allow non-web designers to work on building their own website from the comfort of their home, however, when it comes to well-designed and high-performing websites, it’s often common to find issues with ‘free websites’, a lot of the time a free website often costs more, especially when considering the cost of time. If you are going to attempt to create your own website, we advise researching the choices of free online website builders and looking which best suits your company, whether you’re looking for an online ecommerce store, a blog style website or a place to showcase your latest work and latest designs for your product or service. We also suggest looking for online help checklists that can guide you through creating a website and include things you may not have thought would be relevant to creating a website.
However if you’re looking for a custom built website with an individualistic feel to it, you may consider searching for local web designers to help assist you, as they may be able to provide a deeper knowledge and build something completely unique to you and your business.
What are the benefits of having a website?
Having a website makes sense for a few reasons, here’s some of our favourites.
- Your web presence is increasing your customer engagement.
- You can showcase your newest offers, products, services or events easily
- You business becomes easy to share and recommend
- You become a professional competitor gaining credibility
- Less expensive than constantly running ads
- It’s relatively easy to set up
Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience, your customers, if you’re looking for a product or service online, how would you want to find it? You’d want the process to be as quick and as painless as possible, customers expect to have things presented in front of them with a simple search into google, and it’s up to you to deliver that to them.
Whilst it may seem an expensive initial cost, the return on investment and the customer engagement you can gain from having a website can make your business viable for the foreseeable future.
To Sum Up…
You may not need a new website, some businesses work better from social media & more direct marketing tactics, however having a website does make you more likely to appear in the top results of google and get more visibility.
However getting a website to gain online visibility with no hope of earning a return on investment can be tricky, and often may not work for smaller businesses, in which your customers are used to visiting your store. Make sure that your website experience can offer your customers something more than what your competitors are offering, that way providing another service for your customers, this could be something as little as ‘accepting card payments online’ or offering an online discount.