There is no denying that the internet has taken over our lives in all sorts of ways. From the possibility to buy goods and services online and have them delivered to your home, to making payments online and corresponding more easily, most people would not be able to imagine living normally without accessing the internet every day, and often, more than once. Based on this fact it is practically unthinkable for a business operating in this day and age not to have an online presence. No matter how small the business is, it is imperative to have a website nowadays. A business that does not have a website online will end up:
1. Showing a lack of credibility
2. Demonstrate that it does not care about its brand image
3. Lose the possibility to sell to thousands of people all over the world.
4. End up uncompetitive and eventually it will run out of business.
Unfortunately, some business owners still fail to appreciate the importance of having a website. According to a survey carried out recently by Yodle, there is a staggering 52% of small businesses that do not have a website. These business owners are essentially putting their business at a big disadvantage, and unless they decide to invest in a business website, they are likely to end up running out of business in a few years!
If you are one of these business owners, let us put it more simply – you have two options to get online:
1. You can either design a website yourself. Many business owners who choose this option though have some time to dedicate to this project, as well as a basic idea of how to go about it.
2. Or else if you do not know how to do that you can just hire someone to do it for you. There are many service providers in this line of business nowadays. They specialize in business website design as well as internet marketing.
If you want to save money, or are worrying about the costs involved to hire a web designer, don’t worry. You do not have to be a computer specialist to design a simple website for your firm. There are lots of tools that can help you do it yourself. However, you do need to have some time to devote to this task, along with the inclination to do it. Having said that, hiring a web designer is not going to cost you a fortune either. There are many experienced web designers who will be able to offer you effective and good website designs at a relatively low cost. In fact, you will be amazed at how cheap it is in reality.
Whichever option you choose, the truth is that you have to do it. Either way, you need a website for your firm. Procrastinating or simply deciding that you do not have the time, inclination or money for it, is definitely not an option.
Try the Google Test
We suggest you try this out! This is a simple thing that we recommend that you do. Just type in your business name in Google and see what happens. The results that come up (if any) will offer you an idea of what prospective customers will find if they were to look up your business online. Chances are that there are a couple of results, but nothing valuable or helpful. What do you think will customers think when they are faced with this? Surely, they will say that your business does not seem to be credible or trustworthy as it is practically invisible. Then, they will simply look up another firm in your line of business to satisfy their needs. So simply by doing this basic Google experiment you will be able to learn a lot.
According to Yodel’s survey, only about 12% of small businesses made use of online advertising. Probably you fall in this category too. So what should you do?
1. Create a website and/or a Blog.
2. Make sure your homepage is interesting and well laid out, making it enticing for customers who land on it.
3. Create a convincing ‘About Us’ page as this is the most frequently visited page, after the homepage. Include any significant stuff about your firm that can help you make a good impact on customers and make them feel that your business is trustworthy.
4. Distinguish yourself by having a good brand name and design. Remember that there are hundreds or thousands of businesses similar to yours, and so you need to be distinctive.
5. Install social media sharing buttons so as to encourage users to share content, including information about your business or products/services.
6. Encourage visitors to subscribe. A mailing list or a regular newsletter could be really effective. An opt-in form should be made available in prominent areas of your website.
7. Your site needs to be interesting and engaging in every possible way. Do not stop on the promotional aspect only. Rather, come up with innovative ways to offer valuable content to visitors. The content should be interesting and easy to read. Put yourself in the mind frame of the customer so as to create content that they are likely to find helpful in their daily lives, and that they will be willing to share. How-to guides, regular blog posts, ebooks and videos are some of the most common methods you can use.
8. SEO friendliness is of utmost importance. Besides valuable content, you should also make sure that it is rich in keywords and phrases so as to have search engines rank your website or blog highly.
9. The best website designs enable visitors to find what they are looking for really quickly and easily.
10. Mobile friendliness is a must nowadays. Bear in mind that many prospective customers may look up your site using a tablet or smartphone. So your site needs to be mobile friendly.
11. Take action right away! Every day that goes by you are losing on customers and potential sales. So what are you waiting for?