Why Having A Website Is Essential To All Businesses
So you want to know why having a website is essential to all businesses?
As part of my personal contribution an NGO, I am writing a series of educational content about digital marketing for businesses who would like to go online, but don’t know where to start. This educational series is part of a course for a non-profit organisation, to help new migrants start their own businesses and be able to promote their business online effectively.
In this day and age it is essential for all businesses to have some sort of online exposure, and having a website is the bare minimum to establishing a good presence online.
In this article we will explore all the questions that are normally asked about businesses having a website.
As there is cost associated with having a website, we will outline and explain why the benefits most definitely outweigh the cost, and why it is so essential for all businesses.
Why does your business need a website?
1. To Show Business Credibility
So to stay competitive in this increasingly digital world, your business needs to get online.
The number one reasons businesses should have a website is to show and increase your organisation’s credibility. For any business there will be other competitors in the market, and a major way your business can stand out from the competition is by having a great website that looks good and clearly communicates quality information to your consumers.
People always question the legitimacy of businesses without websites as it is seen has the pre-requisite in this day and age . In an age when more than 51% of smartphone users discover a new company, business or product while searching on their smartphones, not having a website can do major damage to your business credibility.
Having an established website is also an opportunity to make a great first impression on customers and give people confidence that you are a genuine business. According to research 76% of online users accepted to judge a business’s credibility based on its website’s professional design.
2. Your Consumers Will Expect It
The world has aggressively moved into digital and your tech-savvy customers expect you to have an operational website to find more information about your business or buy your products.
Your website is also an online asset that can help you generate more business, increase brand value in front of customers and target audience, as well as a channel to deliver strong marketing communication. As an asset your website delivers your marketing message 24 hours, 365 days a year. A great website is information-oriented and try to solve a customer’s pain points, and also allow them to make on-demand purchases.
3. Makes Your Business More Competitive
Having a website gives you a better chance to compete with the larger companies in your industry, and also give you an edge over other competitors who don’t have a website or online presence. If you are able to generate traffic to your website through digital marketing tactics like SEO, and SEM you could appear on a prominent position in the search results page and be able to challenge your industry market leaders on a more level playing field.
4. You can showcase your products and services online with your website
One major benefit of having a business website is you can show potential customers what they’ll get when they work with you 24 hours a day, and from every country in the world. You can put all your products and services on display all the time, and so your website will work while you sleep. Take a look at how RealestateMY has accomplished this on their website.
5. Your website can generate new customers through search engines like Google
Every company will experience customer turnover, so as a business you always need to have channels for new customer acquisition. So for your business’s continued success, you need to always attract new customers, and one of the best ways to do it is by making your business visible on Google, and this can be achieved by having a well optimised website.
A well optimised website can help your business rank well for a variety of search terms and attract a steady stream of new customers, as your website will be constantly showing up in Google search results. This means that when people are searching for a product or service, there is a chance your website will show up in the results. This gives you the opportunity to drastically increase your customer base.
Once potential customers find you online, they will become interested in your product or service and will want to know more, and they will know how to contact you thanks to the information on your website. This gives you the opportunity to increase your sales, so even though websites have a cost, when used the right way, your website will generate a positive ROI.
6. A website ensures your business success over the long term
In 2021, almost 4.66 billion people (59.5% of the global population) use the Internet, and more and more people are getting online everyday. So if your business doesn’t have a website, your business is invisible to these people. As we move further into the future digital era, your business will become more and more invisible to everyone unless you invest in a website today.
What features do you need on your website?
1. Easy to remember and simple URL
Before registering a domain for your business website, make sure you do the research and take a calculated approach when it comes to deciding your business website domain name or URL. It makes sense to just use your brand name or company name, but sometimes you may find that someone else has already registered your company name, or the name you want to use is no longer available. You should consider your business goals and make sure whatever you choose is memorable and easy to recall.
Guidelines: Simple is best; the URL should be easy to recall and easy for people to type into their browser’s address bar. Don’t have a URL that is too long and complicated as it will be hard for people to remember.
2. Mobile Friendly website with Responsive Design
We live in a mobile digital world, and so many people depend on their phones and tablets to access the internet. So if you are going to design a website for your business, its mandatory to make sure that it will display nicely on smaller mobile screens. Making this a top priority means you are providing the best customer experience to your mobile and desktop visitors. With Google’s new search engine algorithm It can also help your search rankings.
3. Easy Navigation and good website user experience
People like websites that are easy to use and navigate, and they tend to spend more time on these websites while consuming information. If you have a website with bad navigation and user experience people will simply exit or “bounce off” your site and look for a site where they can easily get what they are looking for. Google algorithm also ranks website with good navigation, by tracking how long a person stays on the website for.
4. Contact Information
This is quite obvious, but unfortunately there are websites out there that don’t have the proper information or way for you to contact the business. So make sure you include your: address, phone number, and email on your website. These contact details should be easy to find so people don’t miss them, and are able to connect with your business quickly.
5. Company Blog
Having a good blog on your website is a good way to show customers you are active and up to date. Blogging creates content that is good for your website SEO. With blogs you can communicate more information to your customers and show them that you are a thought leader in your industry and provide them valuable information and insights.
6. Live Chat
We live in an on-demand world, people are now getting very use to talking to someone with a click of a button. Sometime customers are too lazy to take the time to search around your website or FAQ page looking for the information they need. So to meet your customer expectations, having live chat is very beneficial as it provides the instant feedback they require, and can help convert these kinds of customers to quick sales.
How you can make your website work for you?
1. Make sure your website loads quickly
The speed of your website has a direct relation to the customer experience your consumers will experience while on your website. If your website is slow people will get impatient and leave your website. But if you website is fast they will navigate around more and consume more content and information about your business.
2. Make sure your website is secure
While technology has been great for the world, it has also opened potential vulnerabilities and hacking does occur on a regular basis. So to keep your customers at ease, and show them you are a safe website to visit, the entry level security feature you can implement are SSL certificates. A SSL certificate basically encrypts data on your website so its not as easy for hackers to steal your data. It also shows a padlock on your browser address, so your users know the website has a level of security on it. The safer your website visitors feel, the more likely they will visit and spend time on your website.
3. Good Call to Actions
Having a website is great, but getting your website visitors to convert into actual purchases or leads is what is really important for your business. So In order to do that, you need to be clear about the action you want them to take after they land on your website. This could be making a purchase, submitting a contact form, or even subscribing to your newsletter. So the copy on your website should reflect this, with call to action that guide customers to the actions you want them to take.
4. Product Visuals and Descriptions Are Important
Consumer believe product/services visuals and descriptions are important and useful when they visit a company’s website. Website’s who do not have good visuals, or great descriptions effect the website user experience, and usually result in people leaving the website out of frustration or clear disgust. So its essential to have great visuals and copy on your business website.
5. SEO Strategy
Optimising your website with relevant keywords that match a web searcher’s intent is vital for generating website traffic leads. If your website ranks high on search engines for the right keywords you are guaranteed traffic of potential customers who are interested in your product or service. Having your website rank well on search engines also give your brand credibility and creates trust with your potential customers.
What is the process of setting up your own website?
1. Find a Domain Name and Host
These days its very easy to register a domain name, simply by going to website like Godaddy.com, you can search for available domain names and easily make a purchase. You can also buy hosting from them to host your website, or find another web hosting provider like AWS.
2. Choose Your Website Platform
The are many CMS’s or content management systems out there, CMS’s are basically website platforms that allow you to setup a website without coding it from scratch. For simple informational websites it’s the quickest and easiest path to follow. The most popular web platform is WordPress, while there are others, WordPress is still the most widely used.
3. Set Up a Website and Start Designing
Once you have registered your domain name, and setup hosting with a CMS, you can either start designing yourself or find someone or pay someone to help design it for you. If you have a lot of time on your hands and have an interest in web design you could try it yourself, but if you are like most business owners who have millions of other things to do, it might be best to find someone who has experience to design and build the website for you.
4. Add Content – Pages and Posts
Content is the key to any website, a website without content is like an empty shop. While you should be able to come up with the base content for your website like description, contact details, and maybe even a logo, coming up with content can be quite time consuming. So an alternative would be to hire content marketing experts who can help with content generation, and make your website feel like a shop full of goodies.
5. Adding an Online Store (optional)
If you plan to sell products on your business website, having an online store or shopping cart will be beneficial as it allows customers to make a purchase themselves without much human intervention (unless they have issues or questions about the purchase. There are many shopping carts platforms on the market, the most popular being shopify for small businesses, and more complex ones like magento for larger enterprises.
6. Configure SSL
As mentioned above having an SSL is crucial for website security. To install an SSL on your website, you will need to purchase the ssl cert from a provider, and install it on your website. This is a little bit technical in nature, so it would probably be better to find an expert to help you with the install.
What are the costs for having a website?
1. Domain Name – $10 per year
2. Hosting – $6 per month, or $70 per year
3. Design – $0-$60 one time (if you buy a theme)
4. Plugin Add-ons – $0-$100 one time (if you buy premium plugins)
5. Hiring a freelance – $500-$5,000 depending on the website specifications (optional)
6. Hiring a web agency – $3,000 and $10,000 upfront for a small-scale project, with around $500 yearly for maintenance. (optional)
In conclusion, having a website for your business is one of the most essential elements for any business in this new digital age. As more and more business move from offline to online there will be more and more competition in the online space, so making sure your business secures its online presence is of the upmost importance. So if your business doesn’t have a website, please do start getting one today. If you have any questions about it, please leave your questions in the comments and I will respond to them as soon as I can. All the best in the start of your digital journey.