As more and more businesses are shifting their focus and efforts on the internet, the question that usually comes to the mind is: What are the benefits of having a website and do you need one? You know what, I'll just save you the time and give you a straight answer: the advantages of a website are aplenty and yes, you need one.
Unless you are one of those guys who wants to do "business" without being serious about it. However, if you plan to take your business with the earnest intent of doing it (and want other people to take you seriously), then you need to get a website pronto. Here we'll look at the top 20 benefits of having a website and why it matters.
1) Setting the expectations
Everybody who is on the internet expects a certain decorum when dealing with businesses. One of the most important for any business is to have a professionally designed website that customers expect to see. According to studies conducted, people spend a lot of time researching and studying about a company before making a purchase from them.
As Pymnts stated in this report, 88% of the people pre-researched their buys before making the actual purchase.
Think about that for a while. People are researching thoroughly on the internet before taking a decision. Where does that leave you if you don't have a website and are not to be seen?
2) Introduce yourself
Websites are a representation of your business online. There are people who don't know you and haven't met you. These people have absolutely no inkling as to who you are and what you do. Having a website gives you the opportunity to connect with your potential customers and tell them your story.
3) Reach new people online
Look, we're in a digital era where people are constantly seeking newer technologies to adapt and put to use. Back in the days, we had the phone book and the yellow pages. It had all the business listings along with their contact details and advertisements strewn over. If you wanted to search for something local, you'd hunt it down in the yellow pages. Things have now evolved, technology has changed but the basic principle of searching for a service still remains the same.
People are now finding it much easier to connect to the internet and conduct a quick search for anything that they need. Be it a local restaurant to check what's the latest on the menu or checking for local courier services, it is all happening online.
If you don't have a web presence, you'd be nowhere to be found and that is not something you as a business owner should risk. Your customers are online today, so be where they are.
4) Bring credibility to your business
Put yourself in place of a potential buyer and ask yourself if you'd ever do business with someone you don't know and have no idea about his whereabouts? Would you? I bet you wouldn't! Websites are usually the first point of contact for an online visitor who needs your service but does not know you yet. What is a key benefit of having an online presence for a business (aka - a website)? They lend and bring credibility to your business. They makes your business look legitimate. They help build trust and that is what drives business and conversions.
Your website visitors are searching for information and once you provide them with what they need and bolster those needs with reviews, testimonials and recognition - all of this is going to help tremendously in bridging the gap and bring them much closer to an actual sale. This wouldn't be possible if you didn't have a website to start with.
5) Your competitors have one
Study what your competitors are doing. It doesn't matter whether they are sitting on the top of the pyramid in your industry or just starting out. If your competitors have a website, then so should you. There's no excuse to dole out.
People are searching online for everything nowadays. If your competitors are taking their businesses seriously and putting in all efforts to make their websites visible in front of people online, guess who is doing business and making a profit? Definitely not you!
6) Networking opportunities
When we think about networking, we think about meetings, seminars and various business chapters in our locality. Those are valid and have their own place and reason. It’s great to attend such conferences and meet other people from within and outside of the industry. Building connections with people is important part of any business and such events provide a perfect opportunity to expand your reach and build meaningful relationships.
One of the advantages of having a website is to network with people who may not have met you at all. Conventional methods of networking (as mentioned above) require you to be at those places and events. Having a website frees you from such a restriction.
If you have a popular website or a blog, people will be linking to you all the time. If they find your website beneficial and see you as an authority on a subject, you may also get invited to other events as guest speaker, SME or the likes. Of course, this is just one example of what may happen but as you can understand, the opportunities to network and further your professional connections are endless.
7) Promote your products and services
As mentioned earlier, websites are a great way to give new visitors a glimpse of what you do. You could be in the service industry or run a successful e-commerce store - once you have a website you can proudly display your products and services for people to go through, understand and eventually carve a way to become one of your loyal customers.
8) Show up on Google and other search engines
Not having a website means having a very slim chance to appear on Google (and you should know that Google is the most popular search engine there is, and can drive massive amounts of traffic to your site). In fact, the Google gods must do yourself a huge favour if ever they make your business visible without a website. Honestly, we don't see that happening and we're pretty certain you don't want it too. By having a website, it is much easier to appear on Google when someone searches for your kind of business.
According to this report, there are 3.5 billion searches happening on Google every single day (and we're just talking about Google barring every other search engines like Bing or Oath!). That means, there are people literally searching for your business RIGHT NOW as you are reading this! As a business owner, you should be worried about not having a website and letting all those searchers find your competitors'. Do you want that, really?
9) Get more sales
Speaking of Google and search engines brings us to this point – which is to get more sales for your business. It is obvious that a business is largely considered successful if it generates sales and revenue.
Having a website is fine but optimizing it is crucial as well. Launching a professional well-built website is just half the battle won. You still have the task to ensure it is ranking well on the SERP (search engine result page) for people to see your website.
The more people who see your website the more they’d visit and the more sales you’ll generate. Having a website thus gives you the opportunity to optimize it well so that you can outdo your competitors and pull those sales away from them.
10) Showcase your previous body of work
Wouldn’t it be great if we can get customers to purchase the moment they reach out to us? Imagine if you were an artist selling paintings and you have an online visitor who purchases your paintings right away, after landing on your website? That’ll be a dream, right? Sadly, that doesn’t reflect the reality though.
Online visitors take time to go through your website. They try to soak up the information that you have put up there. And they want to look at your previous work to determine how good a painter you really are. They want to have that information readily accessible to them to make their purchase decision.
Now, imagine not having that piece of information for such curious visitors who may be your genuine prospective clients. Not only will they not purchase anything from you but they will leave your website feeling dissatisfied as the information they were seeking was not found. That brings about bad user experience and they may even dissuade other people from becoming your clients.
Having a website solves a piece of this problem. One of the benefits of having a website is that it gives you the real estate needed to showcase your body of work to interested visitors – some of who may end up becoming your customers.
11) Showcase your reviews and testimonials
Due to the volatile nature of the internet, most of us are usually skeptical of trusting a new website and yours won't be treated any differently. The internet could be a terrible place to exist and there are all kinds of people using it. That's enough reason why you need to ensure your future customers trust you with their money. Of course, it is easy to scream ridiculously amazing things about yourself (because who wouldn't want to self-praise?!) and fill up pages upon pages on your website about the good that you've done in this world but who's going to believe that?
Reviews and testimonials are therefore superb external validation for your business. They allow your past customers sing praises for you and that will instill a lot of confidence in your prospective consumers regarding your work and ethics. There are very few things that can influence the purchase decision of a buyer and reviews are one of the weightiest of them all. Great reviews and testimonials from your previous clients can completely change your business landscape for good.
12) Save money on advertising
We're not discrediting advertising as a whole but if you understand why businesses have a website and invest into having one, you will appreciate that you actually save money in the long run. For people who don't have a website and have to rely on third party applications, the cost of running and managing those can quickly escalate. Take for instance, email marketing as an advertising tool. Though we love email marketing and it is one of the best ways of attracting more customers, relying solely on it to make the wheels of your business turn will be a very expensive proposition.
Compare that with having a website and you'll soon realize that websites can work extremely well along with other marketing methods (email marketing included). This is because your website is an exceptional marketing device in itself. You control the entire narrative that goes on your website. Couple that with some quality-written blog posts and articles on a few topics and you will begin to reign in free traffic from the internet without spending a dime.
13) 24 x 7 shop window
Who doesn't love shopping but in today's fast paced world, people hardly have the time to get to shop when they need to. There's always something coming in the way - some errands to run - that completely ruins your shopping plan. Wouldn't it be great to shop at leisure at your own convenience? That's the perfect icing on the cake. Websites are the 'perfect icing' we're talking about. If you have an ecommerce store, you can let the store run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week without ever having to display the 'closed' sign.
More and more consumers today turn online for their shopping needs. The ecommerce industry has grown tremendously over the last decade and you can find anything that you wish for, delivered right at your doorstep, even if you ordered it at 3am in the early morning.
14) Publish content
One of the reasons why businesses love to have their websites up and running is because it gives them the ability to write and share content with their readers. Websites can be quite a playground for those who love writing. For those who don't, it's still a great avenue to tell your customers what you've been up to and what's in store for future.
You can do so much when you have a website. You can display your upcoming products and create a frenzy around it. You can write amazing blog posts detailing the services you offer. You can create a mesmerizing video of the recent trip you took with your employees. You can plan on an exciting giveaway and create a contest for avid consumers. There's just so much you can think about and ideate. People are always on the lookout for something new to read and share; and if you are in the habit of creating awesome content, you will have a ready audience awaiting.
15) Put your customers in charge
Traditional means of doing business usually require your customers to bend to your schedule and availability. You could be a retail shop owner who works at a physical location only during certain hours a day. Your customers will have to visit your store only during those hours to meet you in person. This is very counter-productive for a prospective customer and you'll most likely find that they've hopped onto your competitor for their needs and wants.
Herein lies the importance of website. It puts your customers in charge of how they approach you. They may just want information about a certain thing and they can easily fetch that from your website in a trice. They can get a fair understanding of what you do without having to meet you in person which lends a greater flexibility that your customers will appreciate.
16) Resource centre for your employees
Not everything that goes on the website is supposed to be for random visitors. If you have a set process that works for you and want your employees to follow a certain protocol, you could think about having a dedicated section for them to login and refer to instruction manuals, video tutorials and the likes.
Having a resource centre for your employees can be such a productivity booster especially if you're in the service industry where things can get chaotic very soon. An easy access to such manuals, instructions and the how-to guides will definitely save them a lot of time without having them to flail their arms helplessly looking for assistance. Besides, it also gets easier to train new employees if you already have a dedicated resource section available on your website.
17) Helps you save your time and sanity
Have you ever wondered what would happen if you were to continuously sit by the phone and answer questions over it one after another? Rather we should add - the same questions one after another? It’ll drive you nuts! Although it’s good for any business to respond to customer queries and clarify their doubts before or after their purchases, it is equally annoying to repeat the same things a zillion times to a zillion people.
This is one great reason as to why we encounter the FAQ section or a dedicated FAQ page on a website. The FAQ (frequently asked questions) page is meant to answer queries that are repeatedly asked by a lot of people. These sets of frequently asked questions are gathered and responded to, on the FAQ page, thus serving as an outlet to quell the doubts of those interested in your products or services.
18) Everything is measurable
As a shrewd business owner, wouldn't you want to analyse how you spent your marketing budget and was it an efficient spend? How many people did your ads reach and how many responded? Traditional route of marketing such as putting up advertisements on billboards or in a magazine will only show you the cost you incurred to have them displayed. It won't give you the data that you require to fine tune your next marketing move. If you have a website, you can quite easily understand all the metrics involved so that you take a well informed decision for next steps.
You can easily install an analytics application on your website (Google analytics is a free one and extremely popular) that tracks how many visitors you've had over a period of time, how many are currently active on your website, which pages on your website are the most popular ones, which geographical areas do your site's visitors come from, what kind of devices do they use to access your site, how many of those came organically, how many of them responded to your paid advertising campaigns, how many came from Facebook or Twitter or some other channels...the list is never ending.
Once you study your site's analytics, you can then understand where you're lagging behind your competition. It may show you pages that people visit and exit soon after landing. It'll give you the chance to perhaps re-write that page and make it more interesting for visitors to stick around. You may also find that people visiting your site via paid advertising on Facebook yield greater ROI (return on investment). You may then want to consider spending more on Facebook ad campaigns to generate even more revenue.
You can see how powerful this can get and how useful it'll be to analyse such data and utilize it efficiently while creating your next advertising campaigns.
19) Stay above the shrinking social media reach
If you think that posting regularly on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter is sufficient to keep your business afloat, then you need to think twice...and then some more. No doubt that social media are a must in the toolset for any advertiser and should definitely be used, however it's a different story altogether if you are only relying on it to attract customers.
According to some reports, the organic reach for a Facebook post has plummeted to an abysmal low of 3%. That means, if you have 1000 followers on a page, only 30 people will be able to actually see your post and it'll be drowned for the rest of your 970 followers.
Here's what Mark Zuckerberg had to say on why it's happening:
But recently we've gotten feedback from our community that public content -- posts from businesses, brands and media -- is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.
There you have it - directly from the horse's mouth. Would you still want to bet your business on social media posts when its organic reach is close to dead? Of course, it isn't advisable. Social media should be working together along with your company's online asset - your website.
20) Cross advertise on social media (by tagging your site's visitors)
This is such a great feature that conservative marketing methods will forever be deprived of. If you are a business owner who has any experience with traditional marketing such as displaying your ad on a billboard, you know there's nothing you can do about it after a point. You can only fold your hands and pray for whoever has seen your ad to get in touch with you and talk business.
However, if you have a website there are ways to tag your site's visitors and follow them along on the internet. As creepy as it sounds, it can be a real game-changer for your business.
This itself is such a huge advantage of having a website that one ought to have it while indulging in online advertising. It isn't difficult to set up and the rewards that you'll gain will surely outweigh the efforts you'd put in.
If you are a business owner (or have dreams to start one) and have stuck around so far, you now have better appreciation on the benefits of having a website. If you are non-techie and struggling to make one for yourself, you can reach to us! We'd love to give your business some wings.
Get in touch with us today.
Speak your heart out.