I hear it all the time: “I don’t really need a website. Most of my business is by word-of-mouth.”
That makes sense, right?
Does every business need an online presence, or is a website only important for businesses that don’t have enough customers and need to advertise everywhere they can?
My opinion is that most businesses should have their own domain and their own site — even if it’s just a static page or two with nothing more than the business name, what the business provides, and how to get more information.
Let’s talk about it…
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Why Every Business Needs a Website
Here are my top five reasons for thinking that way:
- Today’s prospective customers tend to search for a business on the internet before calling or visiting that business, even if they’ve received a referral from someone they trust. It’s habit. If they can’t find you online, but find a similar business with a web presence, chances are really good they’ll call your competitor instead. People used to settle for a referral from a friend. All they needed was the business name. Consumers now value online reviews, online reputation, and overall ratings. They want to know how several people feel about a business, not just how one person feels.
- Websites lend legitimacy to a business. In a way, if you’re not online, you don’t really exist. Prospects feel much better when they can confirm you have a website (assuming that website is properly designed and maintained). If your site is slow-to-load, doesn’t portray your brand properly, or returns a “404” error code (site not found), you should get it fixed fast.
- You can’t expect to settle for being listed on someone else’s website (Yelp, Superpages, YP.com, etc.). Businesses need their own website to tie together all of their online mentions and assets for search engine optimization (SEO) value. If you want to get found on the first page of the SERP steadily; you need a website. Not only that, but paying third-party advertising sites to host your site can get downright expensive. Your website marketing investment is a whole lot better kept in-house. That way, YOU own it. You’re not depending on someone else to keep you in front of customers.
- Marketing was once a function of paying for ads and blasting your message to the masses. The internet has caused a major shift in that model. Successful businesses now know how to do inbound marketing, not just outbound marketing. Ads still work, but they work best when they send listeners or viewers to your website where they can find out more information. Your website is the hub of your marketing efforts. Not having a website is like driving a car with no wheels. It may get somewhere, but it could get there a whole lot quicker with the right parts in place.
- Should you decide to sell your business, chances are high you’ll get a better price if you’ve established a solid online presence, and your website is turning up high on the search engine results page (SERP). Don’t run past this point too quickly. Your website is a valuable asset that can add considerably to the value of your business.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Your website is a valuable asset to your business.” quote=”Your website is a valuable asset to your business.”]
Small Business Websites Don’t Have to Be Expensive
Some small business owners think websites are too expensive. If you want an artist’s dream, complete with whirligigs and dancing elephants, or if you get a bid from a company that specializes in custom-made websites, you may certainly need to shell out an uncomfortable amount of cash. That kind of website or provider can be expensive.
If you want a website that’s built for effect and not for show, however, getting your business online shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg at all.
Be careful, though, you need the functionality of a website, but also need the marketing impact of that site. You need an online strategy, and you need the content that will drive that strategy. A website, by itself, isn’t the total package.
[clickToTweet tweet=”How to choose the right help for getting online.” quote=”How to choose the right help for getting your website built or improved.”]
Things to Consider When Hiring a Website Designer
To get the best value for your marketing dollars, make sure the person or company you choose has a firm grip on these factors:
- The webmaster you choose must be capable of helping you find a URL (yourcompany.com), choosing a host for your site, and installing a WordPress content management system (CMS) that’s running a fully supported theme that will remain updated. Beware of free or fly-by-night themes. They will eventually become outdated, and you’ll need to either pay for a developer or switch themes. I can’t stress this factor enough. For my clients, I use StudioPress Themes ONLY. They run on the Genesis framework and are built by a company that’s been in business for years. The support staff is fantastic. I am licensed to provide StudioPress themes to all my customers. That’s another thing to look out for. Sometimes, people will install things on your site they don’t own. That’s illegal.
- The company you choose must provide content written by an experienced copywriter who takes time to find out about your business, your goals, and your customers. The writer must be able to conduct an analysis of your competitors and perform sufficient keyword research to inform your website content and strategy. You should receive copies of those reports.
- The person helping you launch your website should lead with strategy, not with tactics. That’s the first thing you should note about any website builder or marketing consultant you speak with. If the initial discussion is all about tactics (building a site, linking to social media, choosing colors, etc.) and doesn’t focus on customer identification and your strategic plan to reach those customers, run to the nearest exit. You work hard on your business. Don’t settle for an agency or adviser who isn’t capable of providing the help you need.
I come from a corporate copywriting and digital assets management background, but my heart is in working with local businesses and entrepreneurs. That’s why I offer the most reasonable prices you’ll find on full-package help for getting you online fast. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a small business launch a website and not get the investment back in fairly short order. Having your own website makes business sense in a whole lot of ways.
Want to know what it would reasonably cost to get your business online? Or, if you already have a website, but it’s not getting customers for you and helping you make sales, do you want to know what it would cost to get capable help?
For more information, here’s my Contact Information.