The answer is yes. There aren’t many businesses that can survive without a Web presence and there’s no reason not to have a website. Your company’s website can be a highly effective marketing tool that can be very cost-efficient. There are quite a few benefits, and very little downsides.
Ten Things Your Website Can Do (for Starters)
There are many things you can do with your website, here are 10 good starting points:
- Create a presence. Who knows about your business? Where can prospects and clients go to learn more? Your website can help establish your business as a going concern, communicate your brand value proposition and it can convey professionalism. It also extends your reach to anyone in the world.
- Help build trust. New clients and prospects might want to know about your business history,your expertise and your specialization. This is a great vehicle for people to learn more and attain that comfort level they seek.
- Get listed on search engines. Build your website incorporating search engine optimization (SEO) techniques so that you can easily be found by people searching for relevant key words. This can be an important gateway to expanding your business.
- Point of contact. Your website provides customers an easy way to contact you and learn more about your products, services and business.
- Leverage social networks. Implement a social media strategy to reach a larger audience and to create more buzz about your biz. Establish your presence on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter. Facebook likes and shares can drive people to your website. Links to popular or topical items from or to your website will add to its relevance.
- Sell products. If your business lends itself to online sales, create a virtual store as an alternative or complement to a storefront or office location.
- Share the latest news. Whenever there are new developments regarding your business, update your website. Sites that have fresh, relevant and timely information draw users back more often.
- Blog. Keep your website fresh and keep drawing people in with regular Blog posts. Show your expertise, share insights and provide practical tips on topics relevant to your business or to your customers
- Learn about customers. Learn about their needs, preferences, and interests. Establish and nurture two-way communication with prospects and clients. This will forge a deeper bond and serve them better.
- Customer convenience. Providing customers with multiple ways to interact with your business is almost mandatory these days. Anything less could result in lost sales.
Common Concerns and Questions About Small Business Websites
It’s natural to have questions and concerns about setting up a website. Cost is a common one. Beyond an up-front fee to design the website, the ongoing costs can be minimal. And considering the long-term benefits a website will provide, the cost to design a good website should be well worth it. Other concerns often relate to a business not being web-oriented or that it wouldn’t sell goods online. The answer to these concerns is that a business website can provide so many more benefits. Establishing trust, strengthening your brand, forging better customer relations, and informing a wider group of people about your business’s capabilities are all key benefits. Another common concern is that you don’t have much content to add for frequent updates or you don’t have time to blog. The short answer is that you don’t need to. Sure, more activity and frequently refreshed content can generate more interest, but any Web presence is probably better than none. Once you have a basic website, you can always add to it, as your business and resources grow.
If you’re thinking of creating a website or revamping your company’s existing website, do your homework and do the due diligence involved in making the effort worthwhile. Next steps:
- Look critically at websites of competitors or companies you admire. They might be within your industry or anywhere. If they have a similar product, service or business model to yours, then take note of the best ideas you see. You can adapt them to your business’s website.
- If you’re thinking of updating or revamping an existing website, conduct a brief focus group or do a survey of users.
- Meet with a few Web designers to discuss building or updating your website. Compare approaches, level of service, expertise and cost.
- To learn more about the importance of an online presence read “Why Create a Website for Business?” and “Why Your Website Is Significantly More Important Than You Realize.”