“What does Company X sell?”
“What services does Company Y provide?”
“Is Company Z reliable?”
Before purchasing a good or engaging a service, consumers have myriads of questions to be answered, and where do you think they get their answers? You’ve got that right – The Web. These days, with the introduction of the World Wide Web, our lives have been changed drastically and you can practically Google everything. However, imagine if you searched up on a company, and there’s absolutely nothing on the web about them, what would you think? Does this show that the company is outdated? Or simply invalid because, well, these days we can almost safely assume that anything that exists, will exist on the web as well. This is where I make my point – the importance of websites to businesses, especially small businesses. It is unlikely that large conglomerates have no websites, but it probably affects them much less to not have a website as compared to small business owners. Here are some reasons as to why it is crucial for small business owners to develop a website for their company:
1. Websites build credibility for your company
In the introduction of this article, I mentioned that many people Google almost everything, and if someone searches your company up on the web and is returned with no results, it wouldn’t be a very good sign. Of course, I cannot guarantee the negativity of that, but there is one thing for sure; it would be much safer to have your website appear, where you can control the image you would like to relay to your customers, than to have no news or random search returns appearing. Furthermore, no matter the size of your company, having a professionally done website allows the company to seem more credible because it gives people the impression that the company is doing well enough to be able to afford the time money and effort to create a professional looking website. This also shows the importance of having good first impressions – your company may be doing extremely well, but if your website is poorly built and does not reflect that, it will only result in poor customer perceptions.
2. Websites help promote sales
Websites are accessible 24/7, and this allows customers to shop on your website all day long, contrary to physical storefronts which only operate during business hours. This will definitely be beneficial for sales because now, you do not only rely on your store’s operating hours to make sales. Further, it increases the likelihood for people to purchase goods at a physical store if they have online catalogues to browse through before making their final purchase at the store itself.
3. Websites help increase brand exposure
The small business you run may have a storefront in town, where its busy from day till night, or you may have a few stores scattered all over the country, but how many people will pass by and actually take notice of your brand? Probably just enough. Then, think about the number of advocates your brand has? How many people are interested in spreading positive word about your product/service? Probably not enough. Having a website changes all that. Today, by utilising a few search engine optimising tweaks, you are able to control your search engine ranking, possibly appearing next to URLs of huge companies. This will bring exponentially greater traffic to your website and online store, successfully increasing brand exposure and boosting brand image.
4. You get more contacts and a customer base
Do you remember ever being asked for your email address to receive newsletters or promotional updates when visiting a website? In my previous point, I touched on how small businesses are probably not having enough brand advocates or having a loyal customer base. Building a website helps us to build a larger customer base by gathering contact information from customers, be it potential or existing and this can help increase the number of advocates for your brand as well as recurring customers. You are able to disseminate the information you want your customer base to have through this network of emails. When customers continuously receive updates from your brand, this brings your company a step closer to achieving top of the mind awareness in customers and it will also ease the spread of word of mouth as people can now link others up through the web, which is widely available to most.
5. Inexpensive advertising
Contrary to what most business owners think, it does not cost much to create a website. There are tons of professionals out there who are able to create simple and yet beautiful websites for your company without charging a high premium. There are also many introductory courses online for those who wish to dabble in website creating themselves. Whatever you choose, when your website is created, it costs almost nothing to advertise your website and brand through numerous online sites or social media sites. With the number of people on social media sites and the web, this is one of the best ways of advertising, and has amazing outreach not only locally, but to customers all around the globe.
As you see from above, it is very beneficial, if not imperative for a company to have a website. However, one important point to note is the impression the website gives to first-time and existing users of the site. It is crucial for the site to not be a mess of clashing colors (unless that is the concept you are going for) and for the site to be user friendly. Remember, first impressions are extremely important as it can make or break the reputation of your company.
Do you have a website for your business yet? Leave us a comment to share your thoughts on what designs you prefer when visiting websites or check out our previous post on how social media can be a game changer for your business here!