I had the pleasure of building websites this past year for a new type of client. Faced with a sudden job loss (thank for nothin’, Covid) they turned their hobby into a business. I think that is fabulous. And I think they’re smart cookies for having the foresight to launch a website early in their business game.
Some types of businesses do well with word-of-mouth referrals, or with social media. If you have an Instagram feed full of mouth-watering confections, or hundreds of Facebook fans who follow your daily workouts – well, you’ve got it made in the shade.
But it’s hard to control who sees what on social media, and the effort you put into taking fab photos and crafting the perfect wording can often go unseen. Unshared. Unnoticed.
This is an advertiser’s nightmare.
Whether you are an established small business, or a hobby-turned-business, you will also need to have a website.
Having a website isn’t just selling goods & services, it’s providing value to potential customers.
Here’s why most businesses need a website:
Your customers expect it.
If this were the only reason on the list, it would be enough. Think about it. Would you trust a business that didn’t have a website? If you don’t have a business website, today’s digital-savvy (and impatient) customers may look elsewhere.
True example: I once asked around for recommendations of local caterers. Two different small businesses received rave reviews from several of my Facebook friends. So I Googled them. One caterer had a website with photos of some of their events, a list of services and prices, and a page about how they got into the business and how they love what they do.
The other caterer? No website. Guess who I hired? Both were highly recommended by people I knew, but I put more faith in the company that took itself more seriously, and built an online presence. I figured that they would take my event more seriously, too.
You can showcase your products or services.
Not only can you display your products or outline your services in detail with beautiful images, but you can provide short video tutorials or downloadable PDF instructions to give hesitant customers no reason to go elsewhere to purchase.
Combining your website with email marketing, helps you reach new customers and generate repeat business.
You’ll show up in Google search results.
Most people do a little online research before making a purchase. Don’t you? I certainly do. When I pull up my Google search bar and type in “ballet shoes,” I am interested in learning more. When I type in “girls pink ballet shoes size 7 Smyrna” you can believe I have my wallet open and I need shoes now.
If you have a business website, you can optimize it for search engines. I can help increase your chances of appearing at the top of Google’s results, which will put you front and center with more potential customers.
Entreprenuer composed a list of the top ten things that your potential customers want on a business website:
- How your business is unique
- A clear sense of what your company offers
- Contact information
- Third-party validation
- Security for their credit card info
- Ease of use and navigation
- Clear guidance on your processes
- An ability to give feedback
- Clear calls to action
- Special offers and personalization
Your website can provide social proof.
Consumers are influenced by online reviews. You could rely on Yelp for reviews of your brand, but you can kill two birds with one stone on your own website.
Since potential buyers are already looking for you online, including customer testimonials on your site is a great way to impress them.
You control the narrative.
You can totally influence public perception by creating your own story and sharing it with the world on your website.
A company or brand blog helps you get your message, mission, and personality in front of your intended audience. And it can be done in a more targeted way, and faster than (cringe) sending out cold emails or slapping a vinyl sign on your car.
Additionally, linking to your social media account on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram make sharing your content easier for your followers who like what they see.
Your biggest competitors already have websites.
Typically, when people want to buy something or hire someone, they start by asking friends and social media contacts for recommendations.
Once they have an idea of what they want, they go online to find options, reviews and testimonials.
So if you’re not coming up in their search process and your competition is — even if you have a better product or service — you won’t get the sale.
I specialize in building websites for small business owners. Whether you need a brochure site, a business blog or an artistic showcase, I’ll make sure it represents your business perfectly, and that it’s working for you around the clock.
Check out a portfolio of my recent work, schedule a discovery call to chat in-depth about your project, or join my newsletter to get periodic marketing tips.