Do You Have a Website?
There’s no question in my mind that today’s world is online. More and more people every day use the internet to shop, find answers to their questions, connect on social media, and discover products and services that make their lives easier.
Consider this: more than half of the world's population is online. Additionally, 1-in-5 internet users shopped online in the last 30 days.
So the question is: Is your business online?
If you're a business owner and you don't have a website, or you are not sure why your business needs a website, then this article is for you. In it, I will discuss the impact that having a website has on your potential customers, the cost of not having a website, the economics of owning a website, and how a website can expand your business in ways you might not have previously imagined.
By the end of this article, you should have a better understanding of all the great things having a website can do for you and your business (plus a special bonus for those wondering how they can get a professional website on the cheap!). Let's Get Started!
A Website Is Your Face To The World
Have you ever visited a business's website before you decided to buy from them? I almost always do this.
When someone is considering doing business with you, many times they will visit your website first to figure out if they can trust you. Now, what happens if they visit your website and it looks unprofessional, outdated, or - yikes! - your business doesn't have a website at all?
You can pretty much kiss your credibility - and your customer - goodbye!
Having a professional-looking website does wonders for your business’s brand and credibility.
You’ve heard it a thousand times: first impressions count!
Your website is an extension of your business’ image online, so it’s important that a) you have a website, and b) your website conveys professionalism, trust, and credibility from the get-go.
Don't have a website? Keep reading!
A Website Puts You In The Game
As the research shows, most people shop first on their phones or desktops before making an actual purchase. If you don't have a website then you’re losing potential customers to your competitors.
The good news is that it has never been easier to have an online presence! There are many free to low-cost solutions for getting online and people everywhere willing to help you. But first, let’s do away with the idea that a website has to cost a lot of money.
A Website Doesn’t Cost A Lot of Money
A lot of people who are new to the online world believe that a website will cost them thousands of dollars - but this simply isn’t the case! Unless you’re building something very specialized, very unique, or extraordinarily complicated, a website does not have to break the bank.
Consider a typical website structure used by most small businesses: a homepage, about page, a page for products/services, a contact page, and maybe a photo gallery or blog page. If you decide to hire a web designer, a website like the one I just described might cost you somewhere between $500 - $1,000. That’s a one-time investment! If you’re more the Do-It-Yourself type, there exist numerous free website builders where you can build a website for little-to-no money without any technical training or know-how!
I will warn you, however, that results may vary, and unless you want your website to look like it was built by your 15-year old nephew, you might be better off enlisting the help of a professional. Remember the whole credibility thing?
Once you have a website built, registering a domain name typically costs around $10-$20 a year and hosting your website costs about $10-$20 per month. So let's add that all up. You spend, say, $800 on building a basic business website, buy a domain name for $10, and spend $120 a year on hosting. Wow, you haven't even broken $1,000 yet! If you space that out over 5 years, your website cost you less than $150 a year. Su-weet!
As you can see, websites don’t have to cost a lot of money and the return-on-investment for a website can be well worth the price tag. Keep reading to learn why it pays to have a website!
A Website Makes Your Life Easier
Your website is a great investment for many reasons but perhaps one of the most obvious reasons is that it never takes a break! Your website works for you around the clock and is available to the entire world 24/7/365! What’s more is that you can put processes in place to handle many of the needs of your business and the demands of your customers. Whereas before you were limited to the number of hours you had in a day to deal with all the needs of your customers, now you can direct people to your website, the FAQ section on your website, or have them fill out a form that gets mailed to your inbox.
You can set-up automated email marketing campaigns, create sales pages that do the selling for you, and sell your products through your website and everything is taken care of and automated for you. It’s really a beautiful thing! These tools have been developed for the online business world and are available to you once you have a website!
A Website Brings the World to Your Doorstep
Besides all the great things a website can do for you to make your life easier, one of the coolest things about the internet is that it knows no bounds; it is not restricted to any geographical location and, in essence, turns the world into your marketplace. This global reach allows for greater opportunity for your business and the potential to connect with more customers, more influencers, business partners, and supporters from all corners of the world. This extended reach is only amplified through the power of social media networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
If you're on social media (which is never a bad idea if you want to compete online) then your website is the logical next step to developing a relationship with your audience.
A Website Is Your Social Media Hub
When someone reads a post, article, or tweet from you and are interested in learning more about you or your products or services, they will naturally, at one point or another, want to visit your website. Your social media visitors will want to see if they can trust your business (remember above, Your Website is your Face to the World?), so if you don't have a website, you may be denying them the opportunity to establish trust with your business and thus creating a very poor first - and last! - impression.
Your website is where the magic happens; it’s the place where you will (hopefully) convert first-time visitors into loyal repeat customers. So if you're not online and don't have a social media presence then it behooves you to start!
By now, you hopefully have a better understanding of the importance of having a website if you have a business.
We've established that a website establishes trust and credibility with potential customers as well as the dreadful impact you have on prospects when you don't have a website at all.
We've identified the widespread use of the internet as a way for people to research businesses as well as products and services, and that not having a website means losing out to competitors who are online.
We discussed all the great things a website can do for you, like being your constant sales employee, automating many of your day-to-day business responsibilities, and extending your market reach on a global scale.
We've also talked about the economy of websites and just how affordable they can be.
There are literally so many benefits to having a website and very few reasons, if any, for not having a website.
So, the question is: What are you waiting for?
For readers of the More In Media blog, take advantage of $100 off the regular price of $599 for a professionally designed, editable, a fully-personalized 5-page business website. This is a limited-time offer.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org and mention this article to take advantage of this special deal.
David Gaskin is a Developer, SEO, and Web Consultant. His company Peak Websites makes it easy for business owners to have a successful online presence. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.