Startups and small businesses aren’t always thrilled to get their first website built. Websites can be seen as a burden on time and effort – the cost to build and maintain is also off-putting.
I’m here to tell you that while it is true that websites do cost money and take time and effort to build they are absolutely worth it!
Having a business website is a powerful and unique tool. If done right the benefits greatly outweigh the cost. Here are 6 reasons your small business needs a website.
A space that’s all yours
Once someone lands on your site they are in your hands. The images, the copy and the conversion you’d like to steer them towards is all up to you. You get to decide what are the best bits about your business and what you want to share with your users.
When you think about this in contrast to other platforms your business might be on such as Instagram, YouTube or TripAdvisor you can see how valuable this is. With a website, your business doesn’t have to compete with other peoples adverts, content or the possibility of bad reviews.
The value of carving a space that is entirely yours is huge.
Take control of the first impression
Having this unique space also means you can take control of that all-important first impression.
Don’t rely on other peoples images of your business or what they might see as they glance in through your shop window. Take the initiative and create a website that shows you off how you want and gets people excited about your business.
I see a lot of cafes and restaurants without a website or much of a website. You can’t stop people posting images of your food and drinks so what ends up happening is when someone looks you up they end up seeing a dodgy close up of your food taken on someone’s phone.
The product, the brand and the service is there but if you’re not communicating it in the best way you will miss out on business.
Reach new customers
One obvious advantage of creating a website is you are increasing your chances of reaching more of your target audience.
I see a lot of small businesses relying solely on Facebook or Instagram to market themselves. These platforms are a good start but they won’t help your business reach its full potential.
A website is one of the most effective ways for you to reach and communicate with new customers. If you currently rely on word of mouth or one or two social media platforms then you might be surprised by how much extra business you can get by having a website.
It’s also worth noting that social media platforms, directories and review sites come and go. Yelp is now a thing of the past as is Vine and Myspace. Facebook will quite possibly be the next to go but this may be a slower transition.
Any additional opportunities to reach your target audience should be taken advantage of.
If you are a small business or freelancer you won’t have a big budget, if a budget at all, for paid forms of marketing.
A website is one of the best ways to market yourself for free. All you have to do is to put in the time.
Once you have a good site built with some nice images you can create a blog and start building up a following. Or you can start building an email list, which can be invaluable for e-commerce sites.
Share useful information
Businesses that make it hard to find useful information like open hours or a list of services will frustrate their customers. Providing the sometimes boring but important information means you can create a good flow for your customers.
To an extent you can use Google Business for sharing essential information like open hours and location. However, having a website gives you the space to expand on this.
You might be a cafe and want to go into more detail about what you provide for different diets and allergies. Or you might be selling a service, such as recruitment, and want to create a FAQ section that covers questions that are taking up time to answer by phone.
Making information easily accessible to your customers helps make a good user experience. It can also cut down on the time you spend answering emails and phone calls.
Established and professional
For better or for worse, there is an expectation that as a business you will have a website. Nowadays you see websites for almost everything, from weddings to parties and even pets so it’s unsurprising there is an expectation that even a new business should have a site.
A lot of time a business fails or succeeds by what they communicate with their customers. If you’re in an industry that’s highly competitive like marketing or graphic design then it will help you if you create a website that visually competes or surpasses competitors.
Even if you are a one-person agency working out of your shed you can still compete with bigger businesses by creating a website that looks legit and shows you’re knowledgable in your field.