Given all of our rapidly growing technology, you’d think practically every one of today’s business owners would have a website. However, according to recent statistics, over 45% of businesses in the US don’t have a website in place, and just a little over 40% of Canadian business owners have an online presence. If you consider how many business websites are dated and/or poorly designed, the number is well over 50%.
Back in the day, our parents (or grandparents) “let their fingers do the walking” through the yellow pages to find local businesses. While we’re still using our fingertips, a growing percentage of today’s consumers are utilizing them to swipe on mobile screens or type on a keyboard to locate products and services on the internet.
The mobile marketplace is so prevalent up to 70% of web traffic comes from mobile devices with 57% coming from smartphones and tablets in the United States. Today, typical consumers are spending more than five hours a day on their mobile devices and this is the place to reach them.
Why Should a Business Have a Website?
The information and data as mentioned previously, are all very valid reasons why a business needs a website and why it needs to be optimized to be easily accessed by mobile devices. A mobile responsive website reaches more potential customers and will help to grow a business.
Check out this list of a dozen ways a professional website design will better showcase products and services online. This roster will also help to highlight the many reasons why a site offers more affordable and attractive solutions to many of the struggles many businesses are facing today.
#1 – They’re Always Open
Speaking of struggles, keeping a traditional business office or brick-and-mortar location open and running with full-time staffing is challenging at best. The costs are staggering with everything from regular payroll to property maintenance, different types of necessary insurance costs to consider, and much more.
A website is continuously available for access 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week, 365-days-a-year. Websites also come at a much more reasonable rate with significantly reduced expenses. For those businesses that do have a physical address, a website reveals their location, hours of service, contact information and other valuable content.
#2 – Offering On-Demand Communication
Communication is vital in every business environment, big or small. Responding to common consumer questions, answering simple inquires, providing a quote, or scheduling an appointment, along with a myriad of other tasks, are all easily managed using website solutions.
Whether it’s implementing a chatbot for automated responses, using email interactions, or users checking on hours and availability, a website is a hot spot for these activities. In addition, an FAQ page is another valuable tool that captures the attention of search engines which in turn helps customers find the site and the business.
#3 – Meeting and Beating Expectations
Again, in our tech-drenched society, today’s consumers are expecting businesses of every size to have an online presence. These expectations include a custom website design to meet and beat their own expectations.
Remember, there are many options available for creating a website, including using the popular WordPress Content Management System. There are personalized website designs from developers that will utilize more customizable options available above and beyond the WP pre-existing, pre-set themes, and templates.
We already wrote an article about why custom sites are better than templates; you can check that out here. It’s also important to remember that websites need to be updated and refreshed from time-to-time. Users visiting a stale site may believe the brand is not in touch with the times, or worse, they are no longer in business.
#4 – Targeting a Larger Audience – or Not
One of the many benefits of a website is its ability to reach a global marketplace. However, doing business on a world-wide or even a national level may be a stretch for many SMBs (small-to-medium-sized businesses.
Local search is a very specific toolset that can be used on a modern website. It helps consumers looking for businesses in a 20-30 mile radius of where they live and/or work find the business. This holds vast potential for tremendous growth for today’s SMBs. This gives them the ability to serve a specific neighborhood, city, state or region where their customers are looking for them.
#5 – Obtaining The Best Employees
There’s a term commonly used in mathematics known as the empty (or null) set, which is a group or an object with no elements present. When a business doesn’t have a website in place, they are offering the same thing to prospective employees, almost nothing.
Talented potential employees who are looking for work often use search results to find the best company for gainful employment. Or they will start with employment sites like Indeed.com (the current leader in the hiring marketplace.
Then they look for a link to the business’ website. They’ll want to be sure the business is a place where they want to work and research the business in order to make a good impression during an interview. A business with no website or a poorly designed one means is losing the competition for top employees.
#6 – Locating Your Business
Speaking of finding things, using basic SEO (search engine optimization) strategies on the business website, will make it easier for consumers and clients to locate your business, products, and services. While a physical location is important, no question, consumers will often look at a website before visiting a business.
Whether they’re looking for you down the street or on the other side of the world, the internet is where consumers will be searching. Consumers are also using websites to accomplish simple tasks on the internet instead of venturing out.
#7 – Using a Website as a Marketing Tool
In a world where more people are doing business online and visiting brick-and-mortar locations less frequently, a website is easily utilized as a type of fulcrum in online marketing strategies. Think of marketing funnel put in place on a website compared to a fulcrum in these ways:
- The traditional meaning of a fulcrum in a mechanical sense is the point on which a lever rests or is supported and on which it pivots.
- Where the lever pivots about one point and that is used to move an object at a second point by a force applied at a third.
- However, a broader definition of fulcrum states, if something is the fulcrum of an activity or situation, it will have a very important effect on what happens.
And like a fulcrum, a website increases the impact of marketing activity. It increases the value of the business’ investment in marketing. Read more about these concepts in the article, “What is TRV? – Keys to an Effective Marketing Funnel.” The acronym speaks to the importance of high-quality online Traffic, in a business-based Relationship built on trust, and the Value that’s provided to all parties involved.
#8 – Connecting With Consumers Where They Are
Nearly 60% of the global population is on the internet, with almost 4.5 billion users going online according to recent statistics. In the North American and European marketplace, the internet population and penetration rate is currently at 95% ranking the highest in the world.
This audience continues to grow exponentially, and this is the place where businesses need to connect with today’s consumers. Not only are these users online, but the vast majority of them are using mobile devices. It’s vital a business is employing a mobile-optimized website on the internet today. Period.
#9 – Competing With Bigger Brands
Websites offer smaller businesses the opportunity to compete with more prominent brands on the world-wide-web. With a practical design, sound strategy, and creative content, companies can connect with today’s consumers regardless of their relative size.
For example, given better, more effective, local SEO strategies, a small business selling sneakers and sports equipment could conceivably take away business from a big brand like Nike. The key takeaway is small businesses are unique in some way, offering more trust and value not seen in faceless corporations.
#10 – Creating Credibility, Legitimacy, and Trust
The rise in technology has led to a growing concern when it comes to the credibility and legitimacy of a business and its brand leading to an all-time low in consumer trust. Many point to data breaches and faulty privacy practices that hit such high-profile figures as Mark Zuckerberg and his leading Facebook social media platform.
In the past, many people expected businesses to have a physical location to be considered trustworthy. Today many consumers are suspicious of a company that doesn’t have a website, or if their website is poorly designed or appears dated. A useful, easy-to-navigate, mobile-optimized site goes a long way in gaining a user’s trust.
#11 – Collecting Data and Generating New Leads
As highlighted previously, never use shady tactics to collect customer data or send unwanted information to consumers. Instead, offer them something of value in exchange for their email address.
This could be sharing an informative ebook, a discount, a free consultation, or a quote. This way, your business will come off as a helpful advisor instead of a pushy salesperson while generating new leads for the future.
The null set is also worthy of a revisitation here. Customers and potential customers who try to visit the business’ website and it doesn’t exist or who leave the website because they’re disappointed, are customers lost. A business often measures the success of its marketing by measuring the number of leads generated, but prospects and customers who don’t interact, the null set, also contribute to the cost of having no website or a poorly designed website.
#12 – Getting Value
Saving money and cutting costs is always paramount on the mind of any given business owner. A professionally designed website doesn’t cost as much as it has in the past. And the rewards gained from more effective marketing and improved customer value perceptions generate a positive return on the investment.
Don’t be fooled by independent “webmasters” who use “black hat tactics” and offer big rewards after huge upfront costs and continued outrageous rates for support. Trust in a well-established company that delivers proven results at affordable prices with ongoing upgrades available without unnecessary delays.
Why Should a Business Have a Website? – Making A Reasonable Conclusion
A modern website will showcase your business and brand voice. Professional design and content that’s easy to use will clearly communicate its values. A business website will:
- Allow the business to be open 24 hours of the day, 7 days of the week, every week
- Offer on-demand communication
- Support customer expectations
- Target its best audience
- Provide a path for future employees
- Let customers find the business
- Maximize the effectiveness of marketing tactics
- Communicate with customers where they are
- Compete with larger businesses
- Create credibility, legitimacy, and trust
- Facilitate the collection of data, and generate and nurture new leads
- Generate value
Now is the time for creating that professionally designed and affordable website design to deliver all of these results and more. Even if your company already has a site in place, please contact us today or call (415) 906-2411 to discover the many valuable ways a website (or update) will help your business to grow and prosper.
HAPPY 2020 and BEYOND!
Author: James Hipkin
CEO, Managing Director
James brings over 30 years of professional sales, marketing, and marketing consultation services to the table. Serving global brands along with small businesses, Hipkin leads a highly-skilled team of full-time developers, producers and project managers who are committed to your success.
An excellent communicator and inventive problem-solver, his creative vision and bottom-line sensibility have proven successful at building productive, long-term partnerships with both employees and clients.