In this day and age where digital technology and the Internet has influenced how we live and work, it is shocking to know that very few small business owners have a website.
It is hard to believe that only 46% of small businesses have a website. This statistic is confounding when you realize people spend 6 hours a day on the Internet.
Based on 2014 survey results, 41% of small business owners reported they don’t think they need a website. What that means is they probably don’t know the benefits of having a website for their small business.
1. Improve Business Credibility.
A simple way to view a website is that it is your online business address. This is where your customers, clients and associates go to find you on the Internet.
The Home page identifies your branded value proposition, the About Us page tells visitors all about your business and the Contact Us page informs everyone how to get in touch with you.
It legitimizes your business and improves your credibility. It gives your business an identity and is virtual proof that it exists.
Don’t be mislead into thinking a company page in Facebook is enough to build your credibility. A 2015 survey showed that 84% of consumers believe that having a website makes your business more credible than just a social media page.
Having a website means you have your own domain. In the same survey, 65% of respondents regard a company-branded e-mail as more credible than a generic one.
2. Build Your Business.
Before broadband technology became widespread in 2004, websites were used primarily for marketing and informational purposes. A website functioned more like a brochure; you put one up to stay ahead of the competition. But there wasn’t much thought and purpose behind the content.
With the growth of the Internet, the influence of social media and the popularity of mobile devices, the website has become a crucial tool to build your business.
- Share Your Story – According to Nobel Prize winning psychiatrist Daniel Kahneman, consumers patronize brands they can align their values with.
A website is a great way to share your story; tell your audience why you started this business, your goals and what you hope to accomplish with it.
- Get Clients – It’s not enough to have a rock star online profile. 36% of clients prefer to deal with businesses that have websites. By contrast, only 21% will work with businesses without websites.
A website gives you the platform to highlight your experience and expertise.
- Find Your Team – Are you looking for people to help you run your business?
Set up a Career page in your website where prospective candidates can fill out an application form and attach their resume.
Post your job requirement in social media and link it back to your website. You should have a good number of candidates in no time!
3. Enhance Your Online Presence.
Here’s a statistical fact that will blow your mind:
This number is expected to grow as the world becomes increasingly dependent on mobile technology to search the Internet. Today there are an estimated 2.3 Billion smartphones worldwide. But in 2020, the total number of smartphones is expected to hit 6.1 Billion.
If your small business does not have a website, you will be undermining its ability to generate income. And not just any website; but a mobile responsive website, one that can be accessed by mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Statistically, 65% of online traffic comes from mobile devices.
A mobile responsive website will help you capitalize on the opportunities available on the Internet through the following ways:
- Improve Search Rankings – By optimizing your web pages, it will be easier for people to find your content.
- Distribute Content – Create relevant, unique and usable content and distribute them through different channels such as social media and blog sites. People who love your content would want to know more about you and visit your website.
- Open 24/7 – Unlike a brick- and- mortar business that operates 9- to- 5, a website never closes shop. It is open 24/7, even on holidays.
- Introduce Business Flexibility – If you don’t want to miss out on opportunities, outsource customer service and have your agents manage all concerns and inquiries via chat or e-mail support at your website.
4. Build a Strong Relationship with Your Market.
A business by definition is a living, breathing entity. Loyalty is achieved when customers know they are dealing with a company that understands their needs and not just a company that wants to profit.
- Let the Market Know “Who You Are”. Outside the Home and About Us pages, you can set up a blog page where you can share your thoughts and ideas with your audience.
- Address the Needs of Your Market. Invite your audience to engage you by encouraging them to post comments on your blogs. Embed survey forms and ask your audience to participate and convey their needs.
- Educate the Market of Your Business. Utilize the 80-20 Rule; 80% of your content should be usable or relevant to the needs of your audience while 20% should educate them about your business.
- Improve Customer Service. In addition to e-mail, social media, mobile and landline, install chat support as the 5thavenue for customer service. This will give your end-users more options to relay concerns and inquiries.
5. Efficient Way to Promote Your Business.
If you are still using traditional forms of marketing, you are wasting valuable resources, time and money. Traditional forms include press releases, print ads, flyers and distribution Point- of- Purchase materials.
While still popular, traditional methods cost more money and cover less ground. It is also unsustainable; flyers, posters, print ads and press releases usually end up in the trash can.
Online marketing is faster, more efficient and inexpensive. There are many tools and techniques that you can use for online marketing but without a website, these strategies will fall short.
Think of the website as the sun with these online marketing tools as the planets revolving around it. Your online marketing efforts will create inbound avenues to a specified destination place which is your website.
Among the most popular online marketing tools that you can use to create inbound traffic to your website:
- Social Media – Of the 3.5 Billion people online every day, 2.34 Billion or 67% are on social media.
- Blogging – Companies that blogged 16 times a month received 4.5 times more leads than those that blogged 0-4 posts per month.
- E-mail Marketing – E-mail marketing is 40 times more effective in acquiring customers than Facebook.
- Use Videos – Embed a video on your Home page. A video can deliver your messaging content faster and more efficiently than text. Video on a landing page can increase conversion rates by 80%.
Finally, online marketing is a sustainable process. Your content will not go to waste. You can easily update it and reuse after a few months.
6. Boost Your Reputation as an Authority.
If your business is in a competitive industry, a website will give you the forum to boost your reputation as an authority figure.
- Blogging – There’s one reason why blogging is the cornerstone of the content marketing process: It works! Here are 3 key statistics on the benefits of blogging:
- Websites with a blog have 434% more indexed pages.
- 47% of buyers read 3 to 5 blogs before engaging a sales rep.
- 61% of consumers report a blog influenced their decision to buy.
- Podcast – Set up a podcast in your website, distribute the schedule via Twitter, Facebook and invite experts to discuss topics that interest your audience. 21% more people listened to podcasts in 2016 compared to 2015.
- Seminars – Conduct seminars on your website. This is a great way to share your knowledge with your market. Encourage your audience to actively engage during the seminar.
7. Create a Tool for Sales Generation.
A website can also be an active and passive tool for generating income because it is the termination or exit point in the sales funnel.
It is very difficult to convert sales in social media. There are no available mechanisms to complete the transaction on- the- spot. An e-commerce website for example, has a checkout counter where goods and services can be paid for right away.
It can also be a good source for passive income via PPC or Pay- Per- Click advertising. Advertisers will pay you every time a user clicks through their ad in your website.
8. Showcase Your Work.
Here’s a valuable tip for those who want a clear advantage in the job market:
Open a personal website and include a page that showcases your body of work.
That is one valuable tip that Hiring Managers all over the country wish job applicants knew. The same can be said for small business owners. A website will give you the venue to present samples of your work.
If you’re offering interior design services, content writing, professional web design services and other types of work that can be made visual, a portfolio page will encourage more clients to try you out.
If you want to increase the impact of your portfolio page, include 5 or more client testimonies. You can put the client testimonies in the Home page which is where users land after clicking unto your link or the Services page.
9. Keep Track of Your Business in Real Time.
One of the most significant benefits of having a website for a small business is that you can keep track of its performance in real time through the use of analytics.
Analytics will provide you valuable data on how your business has been moving within a period of time. Key indicators of business performance include the following metrics:
- Number of visitors going to your website.
- Number of “unique visitors” or those who visit your website only once.
- Page views or impressions tell how many times a page has been read or visited. This will give you an idea on which type of content visitors find interesting.
- Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave your website without exploring past the page they landed on.
- Average time on site will show how long visitors view your content. The longer the average time on site, the better for your website.
10. Professionalize Your Brand.
Many small business owners make the mistake of not working on their brand until they gain traction.
You have to start working on your brand before launching your business. The brand gives your business its identity and makes it easier for customers and clients to understand what it is all about.
The website is the most effective and efficient way to build and professionalize your brand:
- It places your branded value proposition front and center in the Home page.
- Website optimization techniques can help Internet users find your brand.
- It can be distributed seamlessly through various online channels.
- A professionally made website shows you are serious about your business.
If you want an effective website or one that can help you take your business to another level, you have to be prepared to invest in one. In a survey of small business owners, 19% identified cost as another reason for foregoing a website.
A website is not an expense. It is an investment because you should expect a return on your money within a period of time.
For your investment to pay out, you have to make sure your website is professionally designed, fully functioning with fast download speed and packed with great content.
Do not penny- pinch and try to do a website on your own despite the availability of free templates. Your best option would always be to hire a professional web designer who has the experience and training to build a functional yet aesthetically beautiful website.