One of the most surprising things when you look at small businesses is how many of them don’t have a website. You would think that in this day and age everybody would know how important a website is for all businesses. Clearly that is not the case. Any business that does not have a website is missing out on one of the most powerful marketing tools available to them.
The main reason that it is important for businesses to have a website is how people are likely to find you. These days most people will go online and research products and companies before they make a purchase, if you don’t have a website you are missing out on all of this potential business. Even if people don’t buy your product online they are still likely to research it online so you have to have a website so these people can learn about your business.
A website is also important because it helps you establish credibility as a business. Most people just assume that you have a website since the vast majority of businesses do, at least the vast majority of big companies do. There are actually still quite a few small businesses that don’t have a website and without one this is exactly what they will remain. If you don’t have a website that you can refer people to potential customers are going to assume that you are a small time company that does not take their business seriously. Once you establish this reputation it is going to be hard to make sales.
A website will not only give you credibility but it will also help to give the impression that your company is bigger and more successful than it may actually be. One of the great things about the internet is that the size of your company does not really matter. There is no reason that you can’t get your site to rank in Google ahead of a large multinational competitor and funnel off some of their traffic. This is a big part of the reason that a website is even more important for a small business than a big one, it tends to level the playing field.
If in today’s age you don’t have a website there is a good portion of the market that will not even consider you as an option when they are looking to buy. I know personally if I am dealing with a supplier I am looking to purchase from and they don’t even have a website I pretty much write them off as an option to buy from and my view of that company is diminished to that it is a company that is very poorly managed. With this viewpoint why would I want to purchase from a company like this? Based on my experience most people think similar to myself. There are some people that do not hold this same thought but I would guess that probably 80% of people have bad opinions of companies that don’t have websites.
The great part about a website is that once you invest in it, you have it forever and it continues to work for your forever. What other advertising methods are there that once you pay for it once it continues to work for your business for ever? Not many. When you pay for a newspaper ad you get that one ad and any benefit that one ad generates but after that ad it is done. That money you spent on the newspaper ad is gone and you can never get it back. If you don’t get a return on investment from it, you never can. The same is true for google adwords, Facebook Ads, Linkedin Ads, a yellow page listing, magazine ads etc. Whereas with a website, if you don’t make a positive ROI in the first year, no worries because you have from now until the end of time to get a return on your investment.
Increasing visibility is one major factor that makes having a website important. Even if people have heard about your company, they may want to carry out research online first, before leaving the house. Provide a map and directions to your company’s shops or offices on your website so that visitors are less likely to have trouble finding the place.
A website is online and accessible 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Because of this, your customers and potential customers can visit your site for support or information about new and upcoming products and services whenever it is convenient for them. Your website will act as an invaluable and always-available resource for information which would otherwise only be accessible during your company’s business hours
Easily Accessible Data Center
Your website can also act as a data center for both your own employees, customers and your prospects. A great example of this is my customer Gold Roast. They provide office coffee & warm beverage services, coffee, tea & espresso machine repairs, and sell coffee, tea and espresso machines. Basically anything with coffee, tea or espresso they do it. How they utilize their website as a data center is they provide their customers with login’s to their complete product catalog. This allows customers to easy find any product they want and place an order for them. It also makes it easy for customers them to find replacement products if they want to change the coffee or tea products they order. For Gold Roast it saves them money by not having to print out paper catalogs, they never need to reprint catalogs when pricing changes, it saves them time by never having to send the customer the catalog or updates to the catalog (hard copy or digital copies) and it increases orders as it makes it much easier for customers to place an order. This is just one example but there are many ways a website can be used as a data center to to save labor hours and costs.
Your website can sell products at any time. Potential customers are not restricted to business hours. Instead, they can go online and purchase products whenever they want. A website with an online shop can provide a dramatic boost in sales.
Self Service Customer Support
Another advantage of having a website is that it can improve your customer support and as a result improve your overall customer service. A website can do this if you post support Q&As on your website or create a forum where users can ask each other questions about your product and other users can answer these questions. These answers to common problems or questions are then available on the internet if other customers of yours search in a search engine for a solution to this problem. You can also direct customers to these online documented resources so that they can solve the problem themselves. This can make things much faster for your customers and also make your customer support department more efficient. Not all products or services can benefit from a troubleshooting forum, but I would argue all products could benefit from a Q&A page for commonly asked questions as well as a forum where customers can post any questions, comments or feedback they have about a product.