More Reasons Your Business Should Have a Website
5: Your Customers Will Appreciate It
As we said earlier, your website doesn't have to be fancy to be effective. At the very least, listing your address, store hours and directions will instantly simplify the lives of your potential customers. Without a website, they'd have to call you to learn these things. Some of them might make the effort to do that, and some might not bother.
Having a website also offers a perhaps unforeseen benefit: It saves time. Business owners without websites often end up fielding a lot of mundane yet time-consuming phone calls from people with questions about things that could easily be thrown up on a website. So a website benefits everyone in the customer-service arena: Your customers feel supported, and you can concentrate on running your business instead of answering the phone.
That said, always include a phone number on your website. Customers might not use it, but it's always comforting to know that there will be an actual person on the line if you need to make a call.
4: It Can Showcase Testimonials
Creating a website is an easy way to connect with customers. It lets people know who you are, what's important to you and what you can do for them. Customer reviews are an especially effective way to add that crucial personal touch. They remind customers that there are actual people running the business.
Of course, having an online presence can also expose you to some haters. Even though you obviously wouldn't feature negative reviews on your site, you can't control what people say on sites like Yelp, Angie's List and Google Reviews. But glowing customer testimonials on your website (with pictures, if you can get them!) will help counteract that. Being online comes with risks, but the good often outweighs the bad.
3: It'll Make Your Life Easier
No matter the time, effort and stress you expended on website creation, once the site is up and running, your business should instantly become more efficient.
How will that happen? Let us count the ways. Communicating with your customers will be a breeze when you can automatically send emails to everyone who enters their address on your site. Your customers can reach you at all hours of the day through the contact form on your site, but you won't necessarily have to answer them immediately. Instead of manually restocking your shelves, you can snap a couple of pictures and add the items to your online shelves with a few clicks. For anyone who sells heavy or bulky products, this can be a godsend. Your inventory will automatically update, saving you time and giving you peace of mind.
2: It'll Help You Generate Leads
There are plenty of benefits to having even the simplest website, but there might come a time when simple just doesn't cut it anymore. Even if you're happy with the way your site has upped sales or streamlined your business, there are plenty of other things you can use it for. One of the biggest is lead generation.
It's great if you have lots of people making purchases on your site, but it's return customers who are going to keep you in business for the long run. That's Business 101. Your website can help you create relationships and turn your viewers into loyal customers. Generating an email list is a first step, and then you can move on to newsletters, blog subscriptions, videos — whatever communication method you choose to keep them connected and coming back for more.
If people are coming to your site but not making purchases or leaving their information, you can use analytics, as we'll see next, to figure out why and what to do about it.
1: It'll Help You Understand Your Audience
You can run your website on any number of levels. The ground floor is the bare-bones contact info-and-FAQ version. You can kick it up a notch from there and start selling your products online, and maybe that's where you'd want to stop. You'd probably expand your business quite a bit just by doing that. But your website can also grow your business in indirect ways. If you go a step further, it can turn into a treasure trove of market and customer information.
You can find out a lot about your online audience just by doing the smallest amount of research. Depending on your traffic, this project could be free — signing up for Google Analytics is a good starting point. You can see what percentage of your viewers buy something, how long they stay on the site and who signs up for email lists and newsletters. If you're willing to spend money on analytics, subscribe to or hire a service and really get down to the nitty-gritty. Fine-tune your site based on customer analysis, and you'll really take your business to the next level.
- Belicove, Mikal E. "Five Reasons Why Websites Still Matter." Entrepreneur, Sept. 13, 2011. (April 13, 2015) http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/220307
- Jacob, Sherice. "The 10 Commandments of an Awesome, Lead-Generating Website." Kissmetrics, Nov. 10, 2011. (April 16, 2015) https://blog.kissmetrics.com/lead-generating-website/
- Pisani, Joseph. "How the Tech Revolution Straight Up Bypassed Most Small Businesses." Inc., June 5, 2014. (April 15, 2015) http://www.inc.com/associated-press/small-businesses-have-no-website.html
- Theriault, Michel. "Key Steps to Building Your First Small Business Website." Forbes, Dec. 10, 2013. (April 13, 2015)://www.forbes.com/sites/allbusiness/2013/12/10/key-steps-to-building-your-small-business-website/
- Tsukayama, Hayley and Sarah Halzack. "Google is about to dramatically change how search works on your phone." April 20, 2015. (Sept. 8, 2015) https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2015/04/20/google-is-about-to-dramatically-change-how-search-works-on-your-phone/
- Wagner, Eric T. "Five Reasons 8 out of 10 Businesses Fail." Forbes, Sept. 12, 2013. (April 13, 2015) http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericwagner/2013/09/12/five-reasons-8-out-of-10-businesses-fail/
- Williams, Jane. "The Reasons Why Your Small Business Needs an Online Presence." Houston Chronicle. (April 13, 2015) http://smallbusiness.chron.com/reasons-small-business-needs-online-presence-27742.html
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