Do I need a website? A question I am asked almost every day. To start with, I’m going to address some of the common questions and concerns businesses have about whether or not they need a website (then I’ll tell you why you absolutely need one).
I speak with small business owners almost every day, and they often have the same questions or concerns about whether or not they really need a website. Read on and I’ll answer all of these common questions and concerns for you, so you can decide for yourself whether or not you need a website.
The most common question I am asked, is do I need a website? The simple answer is, yes! But I would say that right? It’s what I do for a living. Well, don’t take my word for it, here’s some hard data on why you absolutely need a good website.
- Google gets over 100 billion searches a month (Mashable, 2015). If you don’t have a website, you’ll be seeing exactly 0.0% of those searches hit your website.
- 61% of marketers say improving SEO and their organic traffic is their number 1 priority (Hubspot, 2017). Again, you gotta be in it to win it, without a website you have no chance!
- Have you ever purchased anything blind, without seeing who was selling it? Your website is your online brochure, your digital store front, and it directly impacts on what your customers think of you and if they decide to do business with you. If you don’t even have a website in 2017, what does that say about your approach to business and doing business with you? Not exactly forward thinking is it!
The second most common question raised almost immediately by business owners with the wrong attitude is, what’s the cost? Good websites don’t grow on trees, unfortunately.
The right question is, what am I prepared to invest in a website relative to the size of my business and the impact it will have for my business moving forward?
If you are a small business with 1-2 employees, your focus should be on investing in a cost effective website that is simple, clean and responsive with a unique style and brand to it.
WordPress is the best platform to build your business website on, as it will allow your developer to build something that is simple, clean and professional without breaking the bank. It also means you’ll be able to edit, update and maintain your website yourself through the WordPress CMS (should you so choose). Or, if you’d like someone else to take care of the maintenance and updating of your website, we offer Pay As You Go Support on a flat hourly rate where you only pay for what you need done.
Great web design doesn’t have to break the bank. You should be seeking quotes and website providers who specifically cater to your end of the market. If you are a 1-2 employee business looking for a brochure website and are receiving quotes in excess of £1,000 – chances are you are talking the wrong people. Find a provider who specifically caters to your end of the market.
They will be setup to deliver an exceptional service that fits your objective, budget, timeline and expectations. At Square Internet, 50% of our customers are small businesses with less than 5 staff, the other half are small to mid size businesses.
It’s too expensive!
I speak to lots of business owners who express that web design is too expensive, or they’ve received outlandish quotes for a new website, which makes them question, do I need a website? In many cases, they are absolutely right. As mentioned above, you need to make sure that you are speaking to the right level of provider for the size of your business and size of your budget!
That doesn’t mean that your decision should be entirely price driven however. There’s a difference between a quote that is affordable and appropriate for the size of your business, and picking something cheap as chips that looks awful, reflects poorly on your business and actively turns customers away from you. Being too frugal with your purchase decision could ultimately hurt you more than benefit you and if that is your approach, it suggests you either have 0 budget available and should wait until you can spend something appropriate, or you just have the wrong approach to investing in your business.
Ultimately any project you sign off on that has your name or brand attached to it reflects on you, and if your customers see that you do things poorly, on the cheap and rush them, they are going to assume that’s your approach to business in general.
We already have one
If you have a website that is well designed, easy to use and mobile response (adapts to mobile and tablet screen sizes) then the chances are, you don’t need a new website.
However, if your website is any of the following, then it is likely doing you more harm than good:
- More than 3 years old
- Not mobile responsive (doesn’t adapt to different screen sizes)
- Poorly designed
- Hard and awkward to use
If several of these points apply to your website, you need to be asking yourself, do I need a website?
A friend is doing us one
Is your friend a qualified web developer with a portfolio of well designed work and good customer reviews? If so, fantastic, you are all sorted and probably at mates rates.
If not, stop what you are doing and evaluate your decision logically.
I’m not a physiotherapist, solicitor, accountant or skilled labourer. I couldn’t do your taxes or fix a slipped disk, so why do you think that you can build your own website or that your friend who has no real knowledge or training can?
Refer to my previous comments above – what do you want your customers to think when they visit your website? Are they going to be impressed and is it going to cement their decision to do business with you, or are they going to think twice because you’ve done it on the cheap through a friend?
I don’t know how to maintain a website
Luckily for you, there’s an easy to use CMS (Content Management System) called WordPress. If your website is built on WordPress, you will be able to log in to the backend and create pages, edit text, images and blog posts with no technical knowledge. It’s easy to pick up and if you have chosen a provider who knows what they’re doing, the chances of you breaking anything are slim and can be easily remedied.
If you’d rather it was all handled for you, as mentioned above, we offer a simple Pay As You Go Support service.
I don’t have the time
This is something I hear from time to time from business owners. “I don’t have the time to redo our website”. Refreshing your website, or building a new one, is not a time intensive process if you pick the right provider.
Your design preferences, sitemap and content should be signed off at the outset and all that should be required is for you to provide regular, simple pieces of feedback to guide the project toward your desired end result.
If you are asserting that you don’t have the time to provide basic bits of feedback (which takes 5 minutes) this suggests you either have poor time management, or just don’t see the value in a website for your business (which is a shame!).
We did it ourselves
I am approached by many small businesses who have built their own websites through DIY builders and are not happy with the outcome. Why would you be? You’re not a web developer, so you can’t be expected to create a beautiful website.
Often building something yourself that is poorly designed and with bad functionality will actually do more harm than good for your business and your brand. Potential customers may take one look at your website and think, no way! After all, your website is your online store front, it can either generate instant credibility for your business, or demolish all credibility entirely.
11 Reasons Why You Need A Website
Now that I’ve addressed the common questions and concerns around whether or not you need a website, let me tell you 11 reasons why you do need a website.
1. Online Brochure
Your website is the online brochure for your business. 20 years ago, potential customers might have consulted the yellow pages or skimmed through a leaflet you distributed, now the first thing on everyone’s mind is – let’s have a look at their website. If you don’t have a website, it’s an immediate credibility hit.
2. More Customers
Having a well designed website is a great way to pick up new business. If you don’t have a website, you have no chance of picking up customers from Google or other search engines, who find you via search and decide to give you a call.
3. Brand, Brand, Brand
Without a website, how are you going to build and cultivate an effective brand? As a small business, you don’t have a large marketing budget. Your website should be the focal point of your business brand, conveying to customers what you are all about, what makes you different and building a picture in their mind of who you are.
4. Perceived Value
I recently had a customer with a startup ecommerce business tell me they managed to secure the right to resell products from a successful brand due to the quality of her website. The quality of your website tells other businesses and potential customers a lot about you and your business. If it is well designed, easy to use and has a distinct look or feel, your business will be perceived as professional and trustworthy.
Having a website gives your business instant credibility. If you don’t have one, it suggests you aren’t a serious business person or perhaps you are pursuing a hobby or side business. Having a professional business website is an investment that tells potential customers – I’m serious about this and in this for the long run.
In a volatile business climate where starting a business is easier than ever, but also more competitive than ever, small businesses want the reassurance that your business is going to be around for years to come.
With a website, you have the ability to influence other local and national businesses, through the content you publish and through your blog/news section. With social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google+, you have a huge audience of potential customers available for you to influence at your fingertips.
7. Remain Competitive
With the barriers to entry for starting a business lower than ever before, competition is at an all time high. To remain competitive, you absolutely need a good website. If there are more businesses than ever before competing for the same amount of work, how are you going to compete if you don’t have a professional digital presence?
8. Showcase Your Work
Your website is the perfect place to showcase the work you have done for your customers. As your online brochure, this is your chance to demonstrate why your customers should choose you over your competitors. The case studies you publish may well be the difference between a potential customer deciding to call you, or the next business.
9. Build Trust Through Testimonials
As well as detailed case studies, you can win customer trust through making testimonials publicly available. Talk is cheap, unless it’s from your customers!
10. Customer Support
Use your website to solve common customer support questions with a detailed FAQ section.
11. Lead Generation
Use live chat functionality to generate leads in real time from your website. Being available to answer a few questions over live chat is a lot easier and more convenient than email, and many customers may well not want to pick up the phone at an early stage, especially if they are gathering information.