8 Reasons Why Businesses Must Have a Website
Should your business have a website? A Big YES! And not because everybody else is doing it. We’re in the first quarter of 2019, and there’s still a great divide between 2 types of businesses: Those that have websites and those that don’t.
We live in an information age where the world revolves around the internet for almost every task and having an online presence is becoming a necessity. As a business, you need a website because your customers demand it. More times than not, you probably depend on the internet for most of your needs as a consumer. In the same way, your customers heavily rely on the internet to learn everything about your business. Why keep your customers in the dark when they’re looking for you online? Even if your business has a handful of employees, you need a website because that’s where the majority of your potential customers spend most of their time.
This makes a website a vital business asset for sharing info, building credibility and distinguishing businesses from their competition. A well-designed website will give your customers the impression that you mean business, isn’t that not what every business owner wants?
What’s Your Reason for Not Being Online?
It’s surprising that there are still some business owners who believe that to get more exposure and sales, they don’t need a website. Some cite lack of resources and time for building and managing a website. Others say I’m not tech savvy, I’m already on Facebook (or Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest), or the infamous I have enough clients so I don’t need a website. All these are dismissals, not real reasons.
The reality is that today’s small businesses have more marketing options than ever. Things have changed, and it’s now easier than ever to create and run your own compelling website thanks to innovative tools.
I know I know, running a business in the UK is no picnic. You have to comply with the HMRC, sort out insurance cover, handle several employees, cater to demanding customers, deal with unreasonable creditors, your to-do list never seems to end. However, this should not be an excuse for not having online visibility.
If you want more business, you should view a website as your digital business card and a must-have for any type of business.
Still unconvinced if your business needs a website? Keep reading.
With everything going digital these days, just how well are small businesses coping? Consider how much the internet has changed in the last decade. Smartphones have become more than just communicating tools, and you may be left wondering how it is possible that some businesses still don’t have a website in this day and age.
It’s unfortunate that out of the 5.6 million small businesses in the UK, more than 2 million small businesses (37%) are still not taking advantage of the internet to conduct business. Let’s face it, we live in a world where people visit online review sites like YELP before they buy, and Google products before they shop.
Here are some useful statistics that will paint a clearer picture on what we’re dealing with.
- 55% of the world’s population has internet access
- By 2021, the number of monthly internet users in the UK is projected to be 56.7 million
- In 2019, the Internet is expected to influence retail sales to the tune of 2.61 trillion
- The UK is losing 27k small businesses every year
- 90% of adults in the UK were recent internet users in 2018
- 80% of UK consumers utilize online commerce research before buying a product online or offline
- 60% of customers expect brands to have content online about their business
- 97% of consumers use the internet to find a local business
- 63% of consumers primarily use a business’s website to find and engage with businesses
- 30% of small businesses with a web presence generate over 25% of their revenue online
All these statistics mean that there are a whole lot of eyeballs that could be browsing your business’ website, if you had one.
Companies with a web presence perform better than those that don’t. If you’re a small business owner in the UK without a website and these statistics don’t persuade you to give your business an online presence, I have compiled a list of 8 reasons to have one for your business.
1. Enhanced Reach
With a website, you will be able to reach more customers. People can email you directly, make an appointment, or pay bills online. Today, people use the internet to decide where to and what to buy.
There are millions of people across the world who may be interested in your products or services. If you don’t have a website, you will have a limited reach. Because of this, you want to have an amazing first impression. Ensure your business comes up in local search to avoid losing customers to your competitors.
With a website, it will be easy to target potential clients beyond your local area. You will also have an easy job promoting, marketing and advertising your products and services.
2. Showcase Your Offline Business
Times are gone when people used to stroll down the local streets to window shop. Shoppers now use search engines like Google and Yahoo and other online sites to look for a store for their next purchase.
A well-designed website is the best representation of your offline business. Ensure that your business is well represented on the search engines by having a website. The automatic online presence offers you another marketing channel.
Think of your business website as an online billboard – it helps to build brand identity and image by displaying the mission and vision of your offline business for the world to see. If there is someone who, for whatever reason, cannot visit your establishment, they can instantly learn about your business and the kind of products or services you specialise in from the comfort of their homes.
Make sure your website is professionally designed as consumers pass judgements and make decisions about whether or not they will transact with you.
3. Improve Business Credibility/Give Your Business Legitimacy
Business websites are now the ultimate credibility piece. Your customers rely on the internet to get information on products and businesses. There are many blogs out there, and you never know who may be spreading false rumours about you.
Unsubstantiated info may be detrimental to your business; you don’t want that. Face-to-face interactions may help improve your reputation, but having a website makes it easy to pass out your card to thousands of prospective customers out there.
Just like people expect a business to have a real physical business address, they also expect your business to have a real website.
Customers are generally turned off by businesses that don’t have a web presence. With a website, you can share any information you feel will help promote your business. If your customers believe that your website does not reflect your business, they are likely to dismiss you entirely. When users start seeing your business website as a credible source of information, they will share with their peers and family, which means more customers.
4. Enhance Your Online Presence
Just like any business, you aim to expand in the market and reach out to more people. With the social media craze, more and more business now have Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts to engage their followers.
While this may give your business a boost in the online world, you still need a website to build credibility.
Social media platforms restrict you in terms of process, design and technology. Having a website means you can reach customers with social media profiles and those without. This can be particularly helpful if your target audience is the older population. With a website, a prospect who is thousands of miles away from your offline business can access your business products/services with a click of a button.
5. Makes Your Business Accessible All Year Round
With a website, you will be available to your customers 24/7/365. Unlike physical stores that have closing and opening hours, a business website makes it possible to update business information and engage with your customers even during non-working hours.
You can market your business any time of the day, and regardless of geographical restrictions. Customers can check out your business website whenever they feel like, with no pressure to buy. Besides improving customer communication, this will give you more time to attend to other business priorities.
Since your website will be live 24/7, it is vital that you post helpful content and provide your visitors with good user experience. Google continually reviews its algorithms to improve searches and your business needs to show up in the search results to avoid missing out on potential sales leads.
6. A Website Helps To Collect Vital Data For Lead Generation
No website means losing business. Ongoing business success sometimes depends on your business’ ability to bring in new customers. A website is one of the cheapest ways to generate leads and get helpful feedback from customers.
When your customers join your mailing list, you can send them monthly newsletters to inform them about offers, discounts and other news. Traditionally, it was expensive and unreliable to get people to jot down their email addresses at your storefront. With a website, you don’t have to undergo all that stress. A website makes it easier for people to write their email addresses into a box. And it’s not just about gaining new clients; a website will make it easier for you to serve existing customers better.
7. It Cuts Costs
It’s just a myth that running a website is very costly. More and more companies are adopting e-commerce due to the countless benefits online marketing beholds.
Besides sharing information about your business, you can turn your website into an online store. This means that you can directly sell goods and services to consumers and arrange for delivery at a fraction of the price. This will eliminate the necessity to use brick and mortar stores that involve substantial operating costs. You will eliminate overheads like shop rent, staff wages, tax and utilities, and this can help you lower the prices of your goods and services to provide your business with a real competitive edge.
8. Gain Competitive Advantage
These days, competition is fiercely digital. As mentioned, a majority of shoppers search the internet before making a purchase. Consumers want all the info they can get online when making a purchasing decision. If your business has no website, you automatically lose out potential customers to organisations that have already taken advantage of the online marketplace.
If you are in direct competition with a business who has no website, you clearly have an advantage. This is especially true if you’re marketing your site effectively. A business website can help level the playing field.
PRO TIP: It is worth mentioning that it is better to have no website than to have a poorly designed, sloppy and unprofessional website that will literally make your business look bad.
There are several Content Management System web builders out there that will let you customise for your unique business. You can also hire a web designer to help you create a polished, professional-looking website that functions properly and gives users easy navigation.
The days people used to rely on those bulky Yellow Pages to find your business are long gone. As a business owner, the best thing you can do in 2019 is having a website for your business. Hopefully, you now understand that if your business lacks a website, you’re missing out on huge opportunities for profit.