What can a website do for my business?
Modern businesses cannot thrive without a quality website. Find out how a new site can help your business
The question is not just: what can a website do for my business? It is: what do you lose by not having a website?
In the digital age where nearly everyone has constant access to the internet in the palm of their hand or on their desktop, a business simply cannot ignore their internet presence. Still though, nearly half of small businesses in the UK don’t have a web presence. The good news is – that’s an opportunity for you.
In order to understand why a website is important for your business, and specifically the importance of web presence for small business, you need to realise what a website will do for your business and your bottom line, as well as the risks of not having one.
Why should my business have a website?
Understanding the ‘why’ behind web presence is vital. It’s not enough to just convince yourself to have a website because everyone else does. You need to harness its potential, which is possible even without much cost or self-input.
Let’s examine the main reasons behind the importance of a website for a business. The list below includes just some of the top reasons:
- 24-hour access
- More customers
- Added value
- Advertising and marketing
- Fewer barriers to entry
- Communication and customer service
The modern consumer is used to being able to browse, compare, and shortlist businesses whenever and wherever they want. That means somehow having a ‘brochure’ ready to get into the hands of your potential customers, and convert them in to sales leads, even when you’re not working.
Think of your website as a launch pad that draws them in much more effectively than print, with its inherent restrictions, ever will. In fact, even if a potential customer first learns about you through printed media or networking, the first thing they will likely do, will be to go and check out your website. It’s the hook and the bait, and first impressions count.
Access more customers
The figures on internet use, particularly in the next generation of big spenders, are staggering. 87% of British internet users make purchases online. That excludes the ones who are just looking to find your phone number or email address.
The power of the internet for customer reach is enormous. If you need one reason as to why to create a website for your business, it’s this – you reach more customers. Furthermore, once you’ve got access to your customers, you can then guide, educate, and inform them in a way that naturally steers them towards your business, without using a hard-sell approach.
Boost your value
It is normal for start-ups and entrepreneurs to need business loans. Having something to ‘show’ to the bank is essential for getting financial backing. Like it or not, the existence of a website, and the nature of it, affects the perception people, including lenders, hold of your business.
A business website becomes a powerful tool when seen and used as a platform for boosting your reputation. A website is one of the easiest ways of demonstrating the faith other customers have in you, showcasing awards, and demonstrating tangible examples of your work.
For very little investment, your website can quickly become one of your most refined advertising tools. Even better, your website can be busy advertising your business all of the time, without real-time input.
Marketing to your audience
Understanding your audience is imperative, and your audience are likely online repeatedly. Catching them where they are, through social media platforms, or email newsletters, which then direct to your website, with up-to-date press releases, is central to success.
Within this is the very basic fact that having a website will enable your business to have dedicated email addresses, rather than something generic. All of this serves to build credibility, something that has traditionally been tough for start-ups to achieve.
Minimal barriers to entry
Having realised the importance of something to your business, you can still be concerned about costs. The good news about websites is that they are relatively cheap for what they do. It’s a great deal easier to start a business now, thanks to the internet, than it used to be. Find out more about costs on our ‘how much does a website cost?‘ page.
Websites, through blogs, static content, and newsfeeds, can communicate with the customer in a way that entices them to action. Getting a promotion running, or an event to gain followers, is a cinch from a web platform. It is low intensity input for high returns.
On-hand customer support
With minimal input, you can create FAQ’s, guides, product manuals, and more, and put them all in one place within easy access of your customer. This improves customer service and as such boosts brand loyalty.
Compete on a level platform
You are no stranger to competition. In order to compete on a level playing field with your competitors, you need to make sure you’re actually on the field. Your successful competitors almost certainly will have realised the importance of a website for a business, so match them, then go better.
Websites also put the power into the hands of small businesses as much as the big guys. You can compete evenly with much bigger businesses without overstretching yourself.
Why create a website for your business – the practicalities
The good news is that the barriers to entry when considering creating a website are minimal. You can, if you wish, even attempt a basic website yourself for nothing more than the hosting and domain costs.
However, choosing a professional to create a website for you and to build your web presence is unlikely to cost as much as you think. Importantly, you should see a valuable return on investment over time due to your web presence.
Indeed, it’s likely that a website will save you money as your business moves forward. Advertising will likely be more powerful and cost-effective than traditional methods, for example.
Customer contact is easier, meaning more customers will actually make contact. Furthermore, having a centralised location to send customers, who need support or further information, will relieve you of the time burden.
If you are not available, because you are up a scaffold for example when your customer wants to make contact, you’re likely to lose them. A website can act as a 24/7 receptionist.
If your line of business is away from the internet, construction or tree surgery, for example, you may be tempted to think that as you don’t use the internet for your line of work, your customers won’t either. However, this is short-sighted.
Why should my business have a website – the bottom line
At the end of the day, if you don’t have a website you will lose business, even if you’re not specifically an online business. You will miss opportunities you don’t even know exist. For retail businesses, it’s absolutely critical to success, and with ecommerce applications like Shopify, there really is no better time to get onboard.
What is important to get right, to make a website work?
Once you’re convinced of the importance of a web presence, you then need to drill down a little into the detail. Remember, first impressions count, and a bad website can speak volumes about your business.
This is where a small investment in a professional website can pay dividends in the long-run, most especially for ecommerce businesses. A professionally crafted website can give the impression of a well-oiled machine, capable of competing with the big guns. This means prioritising functionality whilst combining sleek professional graphics, images, and content.
A skilled website designer will ensure that your website works for you, and maximise on the importance of a website for a business. They will ensure it is targeted to the right market, specifically local, if that is appropriate.
They will be able to create a website which is part of your wider online presence, and multi-channel marketing, largely without you having to lift a finger, but giving the impression that you have the ability to constantly manage your web presence.
What can a website do for my business?
In conclusion, business owners simply cannot afford to miss out on the potential of web presence. It’s not a difficult world to enter, and is likely considerably easier than you realise.
The return on investment will prove highly worthwhile, and running your business will be easier and more efficient.
Already have a site but want to make it better? Visit our website redesign page to find out more.
Compare website design quotes
The information on this page should help you to understand what your business needs a website. For the best information though, you should speak to experts – we can help with this process.
To compare quotes from up to four website designers or agencies, you just need to complete the form at the top of the page. This process is free, quick and easy, and it could save your business both time and money.