I like to think of a new business like a little seedling that starts off with a single sprout, then grows some sturdy roots as the base for its leafy shoots, and hopefully it blossoms into a beautiful tree with plentiful year-round fruits!
Essentially – it starts small, grows with care – and if you stick with it – there’s a great reward for all your hard work.
I am going somewhere with this, so stay with me.
If you’ve been operating your business through a Facebook page, Amazon or your smartphone solely, you’re somewhere between having your sturdy roots and growing those backbreaking shoots. You’re probably even already getting some juicy fruits, which is awesome! You’ve planted the ‘seed’ for your business and it’s working, good on you. Lots of people don’t make it beyond those lil baby sprouts, so my compliments are sincere, I promise you.
But, how do you go from where you are now, to producing that mega luscious bounty?
The next step involves kicking up your professionalism with a transition into the world of brand identity – which starts with your online presence.
As we near 2020, we’re all quite aware that the internet has taken over and if your business isn’t on it, you’re in trouble. Even if your business is on it, you may still be getting overlooked if you don’t stand out.
So, what does it take to get noticed online? The very first thing – A captivating and professional business website.
A platform for people to find you, check you out, suss out your goods and decide if they like what you’ve got going on. Sure, social media channels can work to start, but there are a tonne of limitations on how good you can make your business look on these channels. Plus – you could get booted off them at anytime if you don’t follow their endless and ever changing policies – more on this shortly.
Of course – we’re web developers, so we are biased, but we also know how powerful the internet is and we’ve used it to help many business owners go from agonizing over little shoots — to a bountiful business. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not judging anyone that hasn’t yet launched a website for their business, I’m just speaking from experience and I want to shed light on how important a captivating online presence is for business owners.
The decision is up to you, but let’s explore the top 10 reasons why your business needs a website—Now.
It’s expected and professional
Think about it – if you want to be a professional in a professionals world – you gotta look the part. The first thing most people do when they want to know more about a brand – they search for them. So, if you’re not online – you’re seriously missing out.
Important Note – Social and eCommerce platforms like Amazon or Ebay own the right to kick you off their platform at any time without notice, so you need to focus on creating a business that you can still operate if that happens tomorrow.
“Growing a business on third party platforms is like building a home on borrowed land. You’re basically a tenant.”
Your competition has a website
Everyone and their dog (literally) is online, so you can bet your sweet cheeks that your competition has a business website. With over 3 billion people using the internet now, just by having a website – your competitor boosted their potential customer reach by 3 billion more people than you.
It builds trust
It’s true – people are creepers – they want to check out others online before they meet them – look at Tinder for goodness sakes. You can know everything about someone before you even have to face them in person. This is a huge advantage for a business owner, because nobody has time to have meetings with every potential customer to pitch to them in person. Your business website is your billboard and you want to invite all the ‘creepers’ possible to take a look.
Here’s an example – Let’s say you just moved to a new area and you want to get your haircut. You look around whilst you’re out and about, but you’re not really sure if you can trust the people in the stores you’re looking at. So, you jump online to find that perfect salon, with the perfect stylist. You search, compare testimonials and pricing and eventually you book an appointment.
Get it? I hope so, but if not keep reading.
It’s the cheapest long-term advertising
The cost of setting up a business website doesn’t need to break your bank. If you’re a committed business owner and you want to take your business to the next level, you need a place to direct people and a website is so much cheaper than a brick and mortar location. Plus, you can much more easily redesign, tweek or edit it.
It’s your foundation for growth
Even if you’ve grown beyond the little sprout that you were, a website provides the best ‘soil’ or foundation possible for your growth, because if your business is working, eventually you’re going to need one anyway.
Why not start if off right with a beautiful site that can grow with you? Set it up and let it work for you.
Content is king and you’re wearing the crown
Like I said before, your website is your billboard on the internet that you have complete control over. You’re in the spotlight of this billboard and you can say whatever you like. It is one of the only places where it’s completely cool to brag about how good you are and your successes as a business. You can feature testimonials, images of your work, talk about your passions, why you started the business, how you are going to change the industry or what social causes you love.
You’re always on, without being open
This is one of my ultimate reasons for having a website. It is there and on 24/7, so you don’t have to be. You can let it work for you anytime and anywhere. The internet never sleeps and people from all different timezones can find you, read about your products or services, find out where you’re located or contact you if they have more questions. You can get out and live your life, while your business website keeps people informed, so you don’t have to be ‘on’ all the time.
You’ll rank in Google searches
What do you do when you want to find something on the internet? You probably Google it, right? Well, if you’re business is ‘Googleable’ (not sure that’s a word), you can get ranked and show up in searches. Of course you’ll need exceptional content that includes the keywords you want to rank for, but that’s where a smart developer can help.
Important Note – Just having a website online, doesn’t automatically mean you’ll be #1 on Google, but having good keywords in place and building your site right from the start, will save you loads of time and money in the future. Hiring someone to optimise your site down the road is often very expensive and there are a tonne of scam artists out there waiting for you, so if you want to know more about how SEO works – Read this beginners guide.
It’s an easy way to connect with customers
Customers are the only reason your business will work, so it’s important that you make it nice and easy for them to get in touch with you. Most businesses work really hard to get people to notice them and it’s incredible how many don’t actually have their contact info displayed in a prominent place. Customers should be able to land on your site and contact you within 20 seconds. A lot of factors can make people bounce off your site. You can read more about how to improve bounce rate here.
It’s an extension of you – If it’s stunning, you are too!
Your website is you, it’s your brand, what you stand for, what you do and how you do it best. If it looks shabby, you look shabby. If it doesn’t function right, you probably don’t either. If you don’t care enough to fix a problem on your site or make it look as fresh as possible, what are you going to do for your customers? People care and want the best, so you need to prove to them that you are and a website is the perfect laneway to do just that.
Important Note – over 50% of online searches are done on mobile devices, so you not only want to make sure you have a beautiful looking site, but that it works seamlessly across all devices. When talking to your developer, make sure you check that they intend to make your site responsive on all devices. A legit professional developer should know how.