Business in the Modern World: Necessity of Websites

Having a website is a pre-requisite to having a successful business in today’s interconnected era. People look for services online today more than any other service, but as of 2009, 46% of small to medium enterprises in the US still don’t have a website. But more importantly to the business owner, they’re losing out on business. As of March of this year (2012), businesses with a website have on average higher revenue, more sales, and better expectations of financial stability in both their business and the greater economy.

If you don’t have a website, you’re losing out on customers to competition who do, no matter if you’re large or small. Even if someone likes your business, they will look for you online. If they can’t find you, they’re going to be finding someone else to do the job because they’re what’s showing up when they’re searching for your services.

It even saves you money in the long run, as investing in a website will allow you to lower costs in other advertising mediums since older advertising mediums are accounting for less and less exposure. The yellow pages are dying. Fewer and fewer people use them each year, yet it costs a lot to get yourself in there. So you know you need a website.

That said, it’s not enough that you get a website up and running. If your website isn’t well designed, the site may have an opposite effect on your business. If you’re going to have a website, you’ll need to do it right. Your site is the main avenue of communication about your business. You don’t want your site to communicate that your budget is on a shoestring, so you let your nephew build it for you. You want it clean and professionally done to communicate that you’re serious about your business, and creating a clean website to communicate to your customers is a top priority.

On top of all this, there are an enormity of benefits to having one. For example, the website works for you 24/7. When your business closes, your website acts as an employee that works the night shift. People used to have to call during business hours if they have a question, but now they just check online for the information they need. You’re actually adding more work for your employees by not adding this information in a clean and easy to find manner.

With a website, you can:

  • Create an authoritative voice for your brand
    • It allows you to control the branding message for your company, as your website will be the place for information about your business.
    • Not having a website gives the impression that your business doesn’t have the budget to have a website
  • Get Social
    • Integrating social media with your website allows you to stay even more connected with your customers, as well as better leverage your online presence.
  • Benefit from the search engines’ bias to show local resultsShare your company story and information
    • While universal search has been the predominant way search engines functioned, within the past few years, the paradigm has shifted to focus much more on local results for search. Use this to your advantage.
  • Differentiate yourself from other businesses,
    • Websites allow you to communicate a strong message to your customer your unique value proposition.
  • House your own community
    • Depending on your business, fostering your customers in a community on your website is great for growing your customer base.
  • Save costs by answering frequently asked questions
    • You’re getting a phone call about the same question over and over from customers because they couldn’t find that information online. When frequently asked questions are answered on the website, you’ll be free to do actual productive work.
  • Build an email list.
    • Having a website allows you the opportunity to developing an online mailing database of customers truly interested in your business’ work. Add a sign up form on your website, and you’ll be able to develop an email newsletter list that you can leverage.
    • Update your customers with business related information such as new products, specials, events, and other fun things your business is doing. It’ll allow you to better drum up business, and keeps your branding in the minds of your customers.

Really, a website’s all about reaching your customers. If they can’t find you, they’ll find someone else. But there are plenty of opportunities to avail yourself to your customer base, keep them engaged, and keep them loyal. For your business, a website is one of your most powerful tools in that regard.

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