We’ve said it before, but it’s worth saying again until the thought sinks home — at least for the readers who are still-uncommitted and teetering on the fence about creating a business website of their own. If you think that you don’t need to have a business website, you’re not not doing all you can to help your business thrive.
The latest statistics say that there are over 900 billion – no mispelling, billion— websites on the internet.
According to another source , the top three reasons why many small businesses still don’t have a website are: (1) The business owner doesn’t believe that they need a website, (2) the cost of building and maintaining one, and (3) a lack of time.
This is understandable, from a particular vantage point. If you think you’re doing well, and will continue to do so in the future, why change what’s working? Don’t rock the boat. Besides, better to funnel the money back into the business and not to a website you don’t even need anyway, right? Especially when you’re too busy running the business in the first place to pay special attention to running and keeping a site.
We can’t force people to adapt to changes if they’re simply not ready or aren’t interested, but for those who are still thinking about it, here are some important things you need to know that you may not have been able to consider from that particular vantage point.
There are billions of websites online. Even when you factor out the defunct, the outdated, the non-business related, and the junk sites, what’s left may be a lot of competition. But all this means is that when it comes to e-commerce, we have a very, very large virtual space to move around in. First, though, is that you have to enter to get the opportunity to improve your business’ reach.
Anyone serious enough to start a business needs to have an internet presence. You want to start a business, cool. You want to be seen as a professional, you have to act in a way perceived as being professional. And part of being a professional is making sure you come a cross as serious about communicating with your customers. That means you have to make sure you’re able to let them find you, quickly, easily, and without fuss. You stand by your name, your services and your products by putting them out there.
It’s not just your internet presence, but the fact that your customers can connect with you from anywhere. Having a website is another way of saying, “We’re here to serve you better. Here’s how you can get in touch with us.”
The proliferation of mobile technology is a key push in this argument. More and more people get their daily connection via mobile phones, conducting business via smartphones and apps. It simply makes sense to make it a point that you go to meet your customers where they are, and if it’s via mobile-friendly websites and apps, well then, why not? But you have to have a website first.
Related article: Do You Have A Mobile Strategy?
The main point of having a website is communication. That means providing information, and in business, information in itself can already provide a service. For example, a visitor can come to check on the general information you have on your products or service so they can make an informed decision. This can cement an image of your business as a reliable, trusted source of that information. This gives you authority which is good for building credential.
The other important point is that your website is also a platform for lead-generation and e-commerce. You can grow a powerful tool for business– your own email list. Using that kind of permission marketing means your customers just signed themselves up to get news from you. You don’t go to them, they signed up for it.
Lastly, your website is the the contact point for customer service. Think of online car rentals. Customers can sign up and reserve a car online when and where they’ll need it. And do you know that there are spa -booking software to help spa business and their customers can set appointments and reservations online? Think of that. Not only is there specific software for such a specific niche, it’s also meant to take the burden off spa operators in scheduling appointments and put it on the clients. The Internet’s effect on communication can make business harder in a sense, in the same way that it can also make it much easier.
Not too many people would exert themselves to hunt down a particular establishment or retailer online after the first few pages of search results. But in all seriousness, making the effort by creating your business website already puts you ahead of people who share the same niche but don’t have their own website because it’s not part of their vision, ‘not really a priority’, etc.
The steps you take to improve your business’s reach can fuel the next stage of your business’s growth. And an essential part of that growth rests on your website.
Say perhaps you don’t want to expand beyond the point where the business demands more than you are willing to give. Growth may not be your main goal, and that’s perfectly acceptable. Staying small isn’t a problem — it can even help with exclusivity and branding, but with a website, you simply reach a wider audience. Over 90% of connected consumers search for products and services online. They can’t find you if you’re not there to find. Customers don’t have to call you, they just need to visit your site.
Your website is your business on the internet. Even if you have a one-man mom-and-pop store, or a chain of brick-and mortar stores, or a factory, your website is the final destination of all your digital marketing efforts (email, PPC, e-newsletters, advertisement, etc). Your website is the public face of your business on the information superhighway, and the source of all the information interested visitors and intent consumers need to learn about your products and your business.
Your business is providing a service to your customers. A website is simply presenting that service to the world beyond your immediate surroundings. Give your business a chance to shine, and you may be amazed at the places it will lead you.
You may also find these links useful:
How the Tech Revolution Straight Up Bypassed Most Small Businesses (Inc.com)
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