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Craig Greenup 30/08/23, 09:30
Maybe your small business doesn’t need a website. Perhaps you always have as many customers as you can comfortably handle. Or maybe you have a really niche product or service that means you’re pretty much the only option for consumers.
But – if these points don’t apply – then a small business website will definitely benefit your company. Small businesses need a website because, without one, they miss out. On growth. On a reliable supply of new customers. And on long-term success.
A Facebook profile will only get you so far. So when people ask us – does a small business need a website? – here’s what we tell ‘em.
These days, if you don’t have an online presence, you may as well be invisible. Customers who don’t already know you, are much less likely to find you. And when customers searching your business name on Google find no mention of your brand, they worry that you’re not a real business.
A social media profile is better than nothing. But you run the risk that consumers see your business as the side hustle you run from your bedroom – here today, gone tomorrow. Even if you do have a brick-and-mortar store, bear in mind that 85% of customers check a business online before visiting or making a purchase.
Around 84% of consumers say that a company website is more credible than a social media business profile. So as well as demonstrating your existence, a small business website demonstrates your credibility and professionalism.
With your own website (and the branded email address you get with it), you show that you’re serious about what you do. This, in turn, makes customers value your product or service more highly, which means you may be able to charge higher prices.
Small business owners work around the clock. Weekends and evenings are par for the course. But when you do manage to drag yourself away from your desk for the occasional break, it’s good to know that business doesn’t stand still.
Your website is always available to customers. It’s a place where they can find answers to their burning questions. And – if you have an ecommerce website – where you can sell to customers at any time of the day or night.
Whether your small business website acts as a digital brochure or an online store, you get to showcase who you are and what you can do for your customers – whenever they happen to drop by.
There are 5.18 billion internet users across the world. That’s a lot of people with your website at their fingertips. But even if you’re not planning to offer products or services beyond your country or region, a website is still a really useful tool.
We know that nearly half of all Google searches have local intent. That means people are searching for businesses that are based close to where they live. A website helps you to get seen by more people in your city or region.
So you get a lot of business through referrals. And you’re wondering whether your small business really needs a website. Bear in mind that even a referral needs a little extra info to get from maybe to sign me up!
Your small business website is the perfect place to put all of the reassuring proof that people need when deciding whether to purchase a product or service. Case studies, testimonials, customer reviews, media mentions. Put all of this content on your website and you turn browsers into buyers.
When you have your own small business website, you can make the most of its SEO (search engine optimisation) potential. That’s because you have a range of SEO tools at your disposal. Put these tools to good use as part of a solid SEO strategy and your website becomes more visible to potential customers.
People don’t need to search Google for your business name. They could be searching for an answer to their problem. Or a comparison of different products. But quality content on your small business website spotlights you as a brand that can provide solutions.
A website helps you to stand out from the competition. It will help you to outrank the 1 in 4 small businesses that still don’t have a website. And it puts you in the same playing field as much bigger fish. Who knows? With clever SEO, you could beat a big brand to a Google search result top spot and gain the customers and sales that go with it.
You can market your products and services on social media platforms. But the branding that dominates your profile is that of the social media giants. This makes it hard to differentiate your brand from all of the others shouting for user attention.
When you have your own small business website, you get to showcase your brand personality. With unique colours, typography, imagery and a great brand logo, you build a brand that engages customers – and sticks in their memory too.
If you solely showcase your brand on social media, you’re not in control of your online presence. If the platform changes its algorithm or starts charging for features, you may find your profile getting fewer views and your business getting fewer customers.
A website gives you the ultimate reassurance – because it’s something you’ll always be in control of. Your business has a permanent online home that you can arrange and rearrange according to the needs of your business and customers.
When you have your own website you get access to lots of valuable data related to your customers and their buying habits. It’s important to use this data in line with GDPR law. But as long as you’re ticking all the right regulatory boxes, you can use this data to develop better marketing strategies, better customer experiences and better products or services.
One in three consumers say they’d walk away from a brand after just one bad experience. So getting the user experience (UX) right is crucial for any business.
When you have your own website, you’re not limited to the functions of a social media platform. You get to decide exactly what kind of experience you want customers to have. You can add features that surprise and delight. Create contact forms that are easy to fill in. Build a reassuringly straightforward checkout process.
You can also guide users in a chosen direction. Whether you want them to fill in a form, download a resource, sign up to your mailing list or make a purchase, good web design will move them further down the user funnel.
When both time and the business budget are tight, it’s hard to know whether an investment in a business website will be worth it. But, having worked with lots of small business owners, we can assure you that it’s easier and more affordable than you might think.
A good web design agency will ensure that you get a user-friendly content management system (CMS). This makes it easy for you to upload or change website content once the website is live. They’ll also be able to guide you on what makes a standout small business website – from UX to SEO to analytics.
So does a small business need a website? We can think of very few scenarios where a website wouldn’t help to make your business more visible – and more successful. You can definitely get by without one. But if you want to see your business and customer base grow, getting your own website should be top of your list.
Want a quote for a small business website? Then contact the friendly Radical Web Design team. We can’t wait to hear your plans – and share our ideas on how to introduce your brand to the World Wide Web.