Why a Website Is Essential for Your Small Business
If you’re starting a new business, a website is an essential part of the equation. This is how potential customers can get to know you. If not, it can hurt you. Today, only 71% of small businesses have a website, even though 81% of shoppers will look for a website before purchasing. With so many people using mobile devices, having an online presence is vital to your success.
Now, there are some reasons why some businesses don’t have websites, like they don’t want one, they don’t want to invest the resources, they use social media in place of their website, they may feel as if they are too small to need a website, or they may feel that it’s not relevant to their industry. Each one of these reasons hinders growth and keeps you away from reaching your ideal customers.
Here are a few other reasons why a website is essential:
Why would someone buy from you if they can’t find anything about your company? Your website helps establish your brand as one that’s credible and able to do business. Although social media has its place, your website offers deeper insight and guidance on how and why you are the right choice.
Customers aren’t the only people looking at your website. Other businesses do too. Partnerships are huge in the business space, and this is a good way for another business to determine if you are the right fit. In business, you must consider all types of customers. While one company may not have the right product for someone, you’d be surprised how often businesses get referrals because of their online credibility.
You can’t compete if you’re not ready to be in the same space as your competition. Your website is the perfect place to showcase why you’re different (and possibly better) than that “other” guy. Not having an online presence will make you miss opportunities that can help you scale.
Just because you’re in one town doesn’t mean you can’t do business in another. A website opens doors to around-the-clock global business. Your website should be viewed as another extension of your main location. This is a digital imprint you’ve made on the world.
Building a brand doesn’t happen overnight, but a website can help push your business toward its potential much faster than if you don’t have one. If you think building a website is too much, or you don’t have the resources, there are easy options that can help put that myth to rest.
Creating a great website
You can build a great website for your small business in little to no time which requires little to no resources (yes, there are FREE website builders out there). Before getting started, there are a few things you need to know:
A few easy website builders on the market are Wix, Squarespace, Mailchimp, and Weebly. In terms of functionality, Wix and Mailchimp are continuously adding new features and upgrades. Some people choose WordPress, but you may find it has a bit of a learning curve. WordPress has a great advantage, since it has many addons, integrations with other tools, and customizable themes. If your brand is strictly eCommerce, you may want to look at something like Shopify which also has templates and can make setting up a store very easy. There is a monthly fee involved depending on the complexity of your needs. There are additional website builders that may be better suited for you. Do a little research to determine which one works best.
You want to make sure your domain matches your business name. You may even be able to purchase your domain when you build on the platform. While you may not know much about branding your business right now, choosing a brand name that is not taken or trademarked is the smart route. Hopefully, you’ll be able to get the domain of your company name. It looks professional, is easier for people to find, and brands your company across platforms and in email.
If you use the website builder platform for your domain, you’ll already have a hosting provider. If you purchase your domain elsewhere, that may be your hosting provider and you’ll have to point your domain to the website platform.
If you’re using a platform like the ones mentioned above, there are ready-made templates where you can choose something very simple without a lot of work. All you have to do is change your content and colors and you’ll be good to go. Even if you have a template, you will have some flexibility on how things look. If you want to add or delete items, you can.
It has been said many times that content is king. But what does it mean for you and your website? You should spend some time on the content for your website. That means choosing colors that align with your brand personality and voice, and making sure your content is engaging and clearly explains who you are and what you do. Quality pages have a headline, sub-headline that describes the headline, calls-to-action directing them to do something (the little buttons that take them elsewhere), good images, sales or offers, benefits, and other resources that can help them. If you have the resources, investing in a copywriter could help with conversions.
Always have a way for someone to contact your business whether it’s a phone number, address, email, or form. Depending on the type of business you have, you may also have a live chat feature.
If your business is on social media, make sure to connect your platforms to your website. This can also help drive traffic to your business and improve engagement. This also makes it easy for others to share your content.
Reviews and testimonials
If you have reviews of your good work or any testimonials, make sure you add them to your website as social proof. This further enhances your credibility and lets people know your business can be trusted.
Don’t be afraid to look at other websites you like for inspiration. There may be some design elements and features you would like to add to your website. A quick Google search of small business websites may guide you to websites and templates that catch your eye.
If you’re on the fence about starting your own business, now is a good time to rethink that decision. With online sales going through the roof, you’ll be able to create your own destiny by being your own boss. This gives you more flexibility and greater control over your future and profits. If you have a hobby you’re passionate about, dipping your toes into the business pool can’t hurt. This can also give you experience you can leverage in your current role, and help you become an expert in something important to you.
Now’s the time to step out and follow your dreams. Start that business and start growing with your new website!