Website Development

Website Development:  9 Reasons Why Your Business Needs A Website

If you operate a business, here are nine good reasons your business needs a website.

Your Customers Expect You To Have A Website

Consumers continue to change with the times and the way they look for new products and services has changed; away from paper, print and TV to online sources of information. 88.8% of Australians – nearly 9 in 10 now have access to the Internet and over 1 in 4 has access to broadband, and that’s going to grow with the NBN push.

Online retailing is growing at over 8% a year (compound).

Think about it… when was the last time you picked up a phone book to look for a local business?

Yellow pages booksIf you’re like most people, you probably have some copies of the Yellow Pages lying around for when you need them. Frankly, the only way you tend to use them as for propping up tables and computer monitors! These days, nearly everyone tends to Google when it comes to looking for new products, businesses and services.

And with all the new technology around these days (iPads, smart-phones. etc.). It’s much faster and smarter to check out new products and services using the Internet, while you’re on the move.

If you don’t have a website, you are not alone. Over half of small and medium businesses in Australia do not have a website. Which leaves me thinking in today’s technology driven world, how are your potential customers finding you and how many are you missing out on?

No matter what your business may be – from a local restaurant, to a local flower shop, to a small accounting office – there are many benefits that a business can get from simply having a website.

You Will Lose Customers to Competitors if You Don’t Have A Website

Think about it, how often do you hear people say, “I’ll just Google it”? In fact, how often do you do that yourself?

What can happen if you don’t have a website, and someone Google’s your business name?

Lets’s look into these scenarios: let’s say your business deals with plumbing and repair, and you do not have a website.

A customer in your the Shire has a plumbing emergency and does not have the time to pull out the good old Yellow Pages. So they quickly hop online, do a local search for a plumbing, and repair company – now this customer has an overflowing toilet cistern. What are they going to do?

  •     Open the Yellow Pages?
  •     Go searching around for a local newspaper?
  •     Or go online and look for an emergency plumber?

Most likely the latter.

Let’s assume the two choices come up:

  • The first is a competitor of yours, and their website is set up well. They offer an emergency plumbing service, show all their services and outline the value proposition clearly. And they have a whole list of customer reviews and testimonials on the site as well.
  • And the other one, is your business, but anything that comes up is your business name and telephone number.

Who do you think the customer is going to choose? Who would you want? Especially in a time of crisis…

Without a website, there is a strong chance that you are losing potential customers to your competitors.

A Website Is  Far Cheaper and A Lot More Versatile Than Print Advertising

1.   Your ad is accessible for a longer.

2.   The content can be altered without needing to ask someone to do it for you.

3.   You can reach a larger audience.

This is not to say that you shouldn’t use other forms of advertising. You could use it to entice people to see your site and develop your business and possibly open two-way communication between the potential consumer and a sales person. This is one of the most powerful sales tools around.

Your website gives you a larger ad for less money than print. You could have pages and pages of information about your business and your services or products – in a lot more detail than you’d ever before be able to pay for in traditional media channels.

You can have an enormous amount of info on your web site for a few hundred dollars. When you look at it that way, a new site is just great value for money.

Modification Of A Website Is Easy and Economical

You can change the info on your website when you need to. Have you ever been in a situation, where your local prices or costs have changed, or your product line has changed, and your catalog / price list / product literature / marketing literature comes to be out of date? It isn’t just that all your existing literature is now useless, but you also have to cough up to produce brand-new brochures and marketing literature.

With an Internet site, these issues are minimal. We have many clients whose web sites can be updated with new prices and info in as little as 45 minutes. The cost to them is minimal compared to the price of redesigning, reprinting, and redistributing sales literature.

In addition, if the site initially does not look as you would like, it is easy and relatively inexpensive to make changes to the look and feel of your site to make it just as you would like.

Websites Build Credibility and Authority – Which Increases Sales Conversions

Like most people, you probably want to  what to feel safe and informed before you spend your  hard-earned money on something new. You need to know that the people they are choosing for their products or services is a reputable company and one that will stand behind their services.

This is especially true for a first-time purchaser. Lets say that a potential customer just met you at a social function in Cronulla and you are an electrician. It’s very likely they are going to check you out online with a search for Electricians Cronulla or your business name.  What are they going to find?  You wouldn’t want to look like a dead business would you?

After all, they do not know your business and one way to give potential customers the peace of mind that they need is to have a website. A company website, that is designed properly, instills confidence and builds credibility in the company at hand.

Even if, you sell face to face, remember that according to research from Webvisible and Nielsen “63% of consumers … turn to the Internet first for information about local companies and 82% use search engines to do so…”

When you buy a new product or service, do you spend time researching the product and or company? Recent studies have shown that more than 80 percent of consumers will ‘Google’ a product or company before making the final purchase. Can you as a business owner truly afford not to have a website?

One of the ways that a website can help build your credibility, and authority is to use customer reviews and testimonials. Now I know some people fake those but people can tell. And it’s really convincing if you have pictures or video of your existing customers or pass customers giving positive reviews about your service or products.

These reviews are a significant conversion factor, because consumers rely on them more so than almost any other thing online.

“78% of online Americans aged 18-64 agree that online reviews help them decide whether to buy a product, including roughly one-third who very much agree, according to survey results released in December by Ipsos Open Thinking Exchange (OTX). Compared to the global average of 69%, Americans are 13% more likely to agree that online product reviews influence their purchases.”

Chart of Purchase Influence of Online Reviews

Chart From MarketingCharts.com

Websites Create a Direct Connection With Your Local Market

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons that a business needs a website is the basic fact that a local customer can directly connect with the business. Through blogs, comments and of course social media, local potential customers begin to feel a personal connection with a business.

Emailing to the owner and commenting on your website, are both important ways that encourage a connection between potential consumers and the business. Just some people are more comfortable dealing face-to-face, there are some who just prefer to leave an email a comment and have the business owner respond to that.

You Own And Control Your Website

If you already have a web presence on sites like:

  • Blogger
  • WordPress.com
  • Facebook
  • Or YouTube

FB timeline newsYou need to remember that these properties are not yours. Facebook, for instance, can and does, change the structure of their pages to suit their business needs. For example, Facebook recently changed their presentation format to a timeline, and all businesses who were relying on ‘like gate landing pages’ that they had developed found they were no longer able to use them.

These types of sites have restrictions on technology that can be used on the site and how the site can be set up and used. For example, some testing and tracking software cannot be used on these sites. You do not have these constraints on your own web site, so you are free to create pages as you want them to be designed and you are free to test alternatives to see which works best.

Furthermore, many of these “free” web properties have terms of service that may not be compatible with your business needs, and any breach of these terms can lead to your site being pulled down for good.

Imagine how you would feel if you had spent 12 months building up a large number of likes or followers, and a lot of useful content on the page, only to find that Facebook closed down your business page because you made a mistake that caused you to violate their terms of service. How would you deal with that loss in time?

Websites Are An Anchor For Social Media

More and more businesses, of all sizes, have blogs.  A local blog is a terrific way to keep your local consumers informed about what is going on with your business as well as give them with valuable, current information about topics of interest to them. If you blog about current events, or sales that may be going on with your business you will certainly stay ahead of your competition. Blogs also help with search engine rankings because they add fresh content and authority to a website.

Social media is perhaps the best way to stay connected with your potential customers, mainly because all social media sites can connect directly into your website. Social media has become the number one way for business to advertise and market their brands. However, without a website, social media is not able to do its job as there is no foundation for your sales funnel.

Getting the word out about your business can be done via the various social media platforms, but they never take the place of a traditional website. There is no doubt about it, social media is important for businesses of all sizes, but after captivating your customer socially, they still need a place to go to gather more information about your company.

Social media is all about interacting and providing useful information to your audience. Once you have done so, they will need to learn more about your business, and this can be done on your website. Social media and a professional website go hand in hand; without one, the other will not work as well. Remember, social media – when used properly – is a great form of advertising, but it is not the only sales tool you should use your website for.

Websites Offer Your Customers Time and Place Advantage

It is far more effective for a person to research a product on the Internet than it is to get in a car, drive somewhere and look for or ask someone for details about an item. A prospective client won’t have to deal with and evaluate the trustworthiness of a telephone call center representative to figure out whether he/she has their best interests in mind, or just wants to make a sale.

Instead, your potential customer can just go to your website when they want, without the interruptions and irritations of visiting a physical location.

Witness the growth in online retailing, which is increasing at 8% + p.a. while traditional bricks and mortar retailing is under pressure and actually going backwards.

A 24 / 7 / 365 Source of Leads and Sales

This means you don’t turn away customers when you close. You won’t have to set up signs to say you’re closed for a public holiday, or leave messages on your answer phone with your opening hours. All you have to do is point your clients to your Internet site and, they can do what they need to then and there.

Business Website Development Is Good Value

While a custom website may cost in excess of $3,000, a site with customised sales copy and images about your business can cost you a lot less than that, if you use one of the many web site builders or pre-designed templates. So there really is no reason to let money hold you back.

The value you generate from your site over the next year or two will surely pay for the cost of the website development.

Many business owners don’t bat an eye lid at spending $1,000’s on new advertising that has no residual benefit (Yellow pages, radio ads, mail-box drops, etc.). Instead, you can develop a website that is actually an asset that adds value to your business one that pumps out leads 24 / 7 / 365.

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