If you run your own small business, but don’t have a website for it yet, you might question whether it’s a step you really need to take. It’s true that many businesses do get by without one – in fact 40 percent of British businesses still have no online presence. So if you’ve been coping pretty well without one so far, do you really need a business website at all?
The short answer is yes, you do. For a myriad of reasons. But here are 5 to get you started:
Why your small business still needs a website
1. Give your business credibility
The simplest argument for getting your business online is that your customers are online. We live in an ever more connected world, with smartphones and tablets at our fingertips. On average we spend 3 hours 15 minutes a day online and a chunk of that time is spent looking at small businesses like yours. A recent survey found that 93% of consumers have used the internet to find a local business in the previous year with 34% searching daily. So if your small business doesn’t have a website, you’re missing a big opportunity to get yourself in front of all those prospective customers.
Today’s switched on consumers expect you to have a professional looking website, if you want to be taken seriously. It’s an uncomfortable truth that 75% of people make judgements about the credibility of a business, just from looking at its website design. So it’s never been more important to have a website that does your business justice.
Having a professional, branded email address for your business also gives you much more credibility than a generic Gmail style address. This is something that’s easy to set up, once you’ve got a website.
2. Get noticed and attract new customers
Your website is a powerful digital marketing tool for getting your business noticed and finding new customers. When people use Google or other search engines to look for a product or service online, there are tactics an experienced small business website designer can use to increase the chances that they’ll come across your business, rather than someone else’s.
If you’re a small business, start-up or even a sole trader, you might think you’ve got little chance of competing against bigger, well established companies. But a specialist small business web designer can use clever SEO strategies to help level the playing field. So you could rank higher in the search engines than companies much bigger than yours.
You can also use your website as a platform to differentiate yourself from your competitors and establish yourself as a leader in your chosen field.
3. Showcase your business’s products and services
You might think that if you’re not planning to sell products online, you don’t need to be online. But websites aren’t just for selling. Your customers need to be able to find you, and find out more about you, quickly and easily.
Whatever your type of business, it will always benefit from a website to showcase your products or outline the services you offer. That’s because today’s consumers increasingly prefer to research a product or a service online first, before they do anything else. They expect to be able to find the answers to their questions at the click of a button.
By giving customers descriptions of what your business can offer, with beautiful images and engaging copy, you’ll boost the chances of them choosing you and not your competitors. If you’re a local business, you can also integrate Google Maps into your website, to help customers locate you quickly.
E-commerce is a trend that just keeps on growing, with a bigger proportion of total consumer spending going to online shopping every year. So if there’s a way to start selling sell your products or services through your website, you’ll be adding a lucrative new revenue stream that would otherwise be missed.
4. Build trust
A website is the perfect place to show off the reviews, recommendations or testimonials that you have gathered for your business. If these aren’t easily visible to customers you’re missing a trick, because 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business. And 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
By using your website to showcase positive reviews, you’re building trust in your brand to help turn visitors into paying customers.
5. Stay in tune with your customers’ needs
One of the key strategies for sustained success in business is listening to your customers and acting on their feedback. Your website is a great way to learn about your customers’ needs by providing mechanisms for them to get in touch with you.
Whether it be advertising your email address, giving them a phone number or providing contact forms for feedback and reviews. Making it as easy as possible for customers to find out how to communicate with you will help drive and retain more business.
It’s also a brilliant way to capture customer data such as email addresses, which you can use to nurture your customers. Email marketing is now a huge driver of business and a website is a really easy way to facilitate this. Once you have an customer email database, you can send out new product information, special offers and discount vouchers to encourage more sales.
By now you should be convinced that you really do need a business website. Or you might still have some reservations. Here’s a few of the most commons ones:
Is a small business website really affordable?
Budgets are always tight for small businesses, but it’s a common misconception that getting a great website has to be costly. Big design agencies may quote eye-watering figures, but there are other options for more affordable web design.
You could go down the DIY route and build a website yourself, but to do the job well you really do need some design expertise.
A better option is to find a local freelance web designer or specialised small business web designer. These are usually a lot more affordable than a mainstream agency. A local website designer will also bring the benefit of knowing your particular geographical markets.
Won’t it be a lot of hassle?
It really doesn’t have to be. A small business web designer will almost always be happy to do all the hard work for you, including writing all the text for your website and sourcing great images, if you don’t already have some.
What if I don’t have the time or expertise to keep it up to date?
Small business web designers usually build sites on WordPress, which is designed to be very user friendly. So you can easily update your site when you need to, without needing any technical expertise. If you really don’t feel comfortable doing this, talk to your web designer about them doing regular updates for you.
With a bit of help from your friendly, local small business website designer, you can get your business online and working for you, without it costing a fortune – or giving you a headache.
If you’ve got any questions or need a bit of advice, then just give us a call. We’ve got a range of small business website design packages to suit every budget and we’d be happy to chat them through with you.
About the author: Tangled Web Solutions is a local web designer in Leominster, Herefordshire, who builds beautiful, affordable small business websites to help elevate your brand and drive your sales. For more information give Sara a call on 01568 610 792 or 07505 001 460.