Does your small business have a website? If not, you have come to the right place. Building a website can seem intimidating and expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. There are many services these days that make it easy to build a website, such as Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, and others. You can also hire a firm to build one for you. This is the simpler option as everything is taken care of for you by the firm, eliminating the need for you to learn about search engine optimization, website design, hosting, or domain registration. It also allows you to spend more time on other important things, such as improving client relations, or drilling into your business’s finances.
1. Your Customers Expect To Be Able To Find You Online
Today’s customers expect to be able to learn about what your business sells, your hours of operation, location, phone number, and any other relevant information with a simple Google search. There are many ways to get this information out there, such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google My Business, etc. But the easiest way to get it to the top of your customers Google search results is by having a website. An effective website also allows you to be able to present this information in a way that fits your business.
Have you ever tried to find a restaurant’s menu online, so that you knew what you might want to order before you got there? In this example, a restaurant having a menu on their website is very important. This allows potential customers to Google search a term like, “burritos near me” and have your restaurant which serves burritos show up in their search results.
2. Your Competitors Have Websites
Would you think it was weird if Walmart, McDonald’s, or another large company that sells a product similar to yours didn’t have a website? Then why should you not have a website? Having your own website allows you to compete online with your direct competitors that offer a similar product or service.
You are losing customers that do online research, to said competitor, due to the unavailability of information about your product or service. Not everyone shops based on stores their friends recommend to them or that they have seen while driving around town. Some people thoroughly research where they plan on spending their money now that there are so many alternatives out there, be it online shops or driving a little farther.
3. You Have More Control Over Branding On A Website Than On Social Media
If you make a Facebook page, there are a few things you can customize, like your profile picture and your cover photo, but you can’t change the overall design of how the user interacts with your page. But on a website, you can make it look and function any way you want, and make every user interaction reflect your brand in some way.
Another problem with using social media as your primary means of online branding is that any platform, like LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, could change tomorrow. The changes they make may not have a large effect on the function of your page, but there is a chance that it could be changed in a way that doesn’t reflect your brand.
4. A Website Is Another Way To Make Sales
Websites aren’t just brochures with sheets of information, they can be used as an effective sales channel by any business. They can draw in leads, collect potential customer email addresses, be an ecommerce store that customers can purchase your products on, be a tool to schedule appointments, and help provide a customer service channel. Many businesses even find that just selling gift cards for their brick and mortar storefront is effective. And many businesses are missing out on revenue from their own branded merchandise sales that can easily be added to a website.
It’s especially important for restaurants to have a website. These days, most restaurant POS systems also include an option to offer online ordering. Your restaurant could be missing out on a significant number of orders from selling items online for carry-out or delivery.
Another use of your website to encourage sales is sharing content from your website on social media. For example, when you publish a new page such as an online ordering page, you can share it on social media. This is a straightforward way to get more shareable content and will make potential customers more aware of your website.
5. Good Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Is Advertising You Don’t Need To Pay For
Have you ever noticed when using Google search to find something, a list of links will appear at the top of the search results that say they are ads? These are spots that businesses are paying to show up in, and they have to pay for each person that clicks on their link. However, research shows that many searchers skip these ad results all together. In order to get in the group of websites which show up at the top of Google search results, your website needs good SEO.
Good SEO can save you money, even if you pay someone to do it. Paying to show up in the ads section of Google search results can get very expensive. Whereas paying for good SEO will help you show up at the top of the result every single time, without having to pay per click. If you are curious on how to show up for searches like “coffee near me”, read this article: 7 Tips For Local SEO.