You might be surprised to know that nearly half of all small businesses don’t have a website.
Studies show that 70 to 80 percent of consumers research businesses online when deciding whether to buy their goods or services. If they search for your business and can’t find a website, it’s almost as if you don’t exist.
To summarize, the most important steps for the visibility of your business are:
Utilizing a website builder to establish your online presence as an e-commerce store
Applying SEO best practices to account for the ranking factor of your web page
Share your history and vision for the future
Your biggest competitors are already online
It’s likely that many of these Facebook page owners work very hard on their pages and developing connections to Facebook users. But the problem with not taking the time to develop your own webspace as a business is that you’re at the mercy of the platform. Rules are subject to change without your knowledge.
One recent example involves Facebook purging its site of 800 political accounts and declaring them spam. However, some page owners declared that they weren’t spamming, but sharing legitimate news stories. It really didn’t matter what their explanation was, Facebook has the final say, and their content is gone forever.
A violation, however unintended, could see your page shut down overnight. Imagine all of your content and customer access is suddenly gone, and with no guarantee that it is going to come back.
Other possible concerns include:
Losing your page to hackers
Forgetting the password and getting locked out
Getting temporarily banned from Facebook due to a rules violation
As worrying as these scenarios are, there’s one more factor that’s the most probable outcome for your page: obsoletion. A social media platform’s popularity fades with time, spurring web users to move to greener social networking pastures. It’s unwise to operate your business from a platform that could see almost everyone abandon it at some point.
It’s true that you could also move to a new platform but you would essentially be starting at square one unless you enjoyed a particularly large following. That’s usually not the case for many business pages. There’s also no guarantee that every customer is going to follow you to the new platform or that you’ll be able to build as large a following on the new social media site.
Social media can be great for businesses, but it’s a better idea to use it in conjunction with your own website. Share your content and allow it to encourage a steady stream of traffic into space that your business both owns and controls.
Attract top talent to your company
Having a good website isn’t just important to your business for the sake of drawing in customers. If you want the best possible employees to work for you, they are going to likely want to check out your website and see what you have to offer.
Many would-be employees care about what kind of company they might be working for. A website that uses old graphics, loads very slowly, and hasn’t been updated in over a year does not instill any sense of confidence.
The brightest talent tends to want to work with businesses with a modern vision who are constantly improving their marketing capabilities. The best way to convey this is with an impressive page that takes into account as many modern and applicable website elements as possible.
Content marketing becomes much easier
When we say “content marketing,” we are talking about all the content your brand produces across all channels. Credit: Gavin Llewellyn.
Content marketing is a very common and unobtrusive method of getting customers to trust your brand. As previously stated, it’s possible to do this from a social media account, but it’s much easier to share a wider range of items through your website. Additionally, web users are more likely to trust that your content is safe to download if they’re getting it directly from your website.
With a website, you can get personal with customers through blogs or create a space to share the latest industry news. You can embed videos or even run a podcast. Create white papers and ebooks for download, and share all sorts of infographics. As various forms of new content become an ideal avenue for marketing, you get the opportunity to establish what works best through your website. Knowing how to write great content for your website will bridge the gap between you and your target audience, as you start to realize what products they most engage with online.
Adapt to increases in website traffic
There comes a point when your business website simply outgrows the concept of shared hosting, and it needs more space. At this point, you’ll want to consider an affordable and quality dedicated private server. This is a specific type of hosting designed to accommodate high traffic (100,000+ visits per month or more).
Not all dedicated servers are the same, though, so you’ll want to shop around. Bluehost, for example, stands out from other dedicated hosts by offering customers a free domain name with any service. A few additional things you’ll want to consider include:
How much of the technical side gets managed for you
The amount of storage that’s available, and for what price
If your service provider interferes with page speed
The availability to use whatever OS you want
Moving to a VPS isn’t to be taken lightly. Consider your website needs and look into the best available options before settling on any particular hosting service.
Let customers advertise for you
Companies sometimes underestimate the positive benefits of letting customers use “word of mouth” to convince others to give your business a chance. Word of mouth can be especially helpful to small businesses as it can provide a free boost to your brand.
With a website, you can create a space strictly for testimonials. It’s best to make sure you use real reactions from actual customers. If other potential customers can see real people and authentic reactions, they’re more likely to give your product or service a try.
Make use of affiliate marketing
Just as customers can be a great ally for getting your name out there, affiliate marketing is another potential tool. Companies from Amazon to Hilton offer an affiliate program through which individuals, usually bloggers, can earn a commission through directing traffic to their websites. Sometimes affiliates earn a bonus when one of their website visitors decides to make a purchase.
The beauty of affiliate marketing is that it’s a win-win. It allows ambitious website owners to earn extra income through various affiliations and it allows businesses to increase their website traffic and potential earnings by working with a team of influencers.
Each and every affiliate, whether they’re on Instagram or a mommy blog, represents an opportunity to reach a new group of customers and subsequently impress them with your website and products.
Share content that quickly builds authority
Whether it’s white papers or buying guides, you’ll need to give your brand the opportunity to build a reputation as an authority. You want customers to buy from you so you have to earn their trust and respect. This is why brands are eager to use marketing tools to establish themselves at or near the top of their field.
But getting these materials out to customers can be hard if there’s no website from which to download or purchase them. By making these authority-building materials available through a website, your providing additional ways to find your business online.
A good website is important for customer service
Customers don’t necessarily have the means to travel to a physical location with their complaints or concerns. While phone numbers are still a common enough way for customers to communicate with a company’s customer service branch, most prefer to have an online, real-time option.
The importance of website-based communications can’t be ignored. While an active email is standard, making a chatbox available to a customer can make a huge difference. It might even affect whether they choose to make a purchase. Consider hiring a human customer service agent for your chatbox if at all possible.
An AI chatbot assistance might not provide the answers your website visitors need. Having a real person available to talk to and help improve their buyer experience can provide a form of reassurance. No matter how dissatisfied a customer might have felt, a good customer service experience can help enhance your website and might keep them on as a buyer in the future.
Take advantage of viral content
You don’t have to jump on every meme that comes down the pipe, especially since many become stale within a few short weeks. However, keep an eye on viral trends that could benefit your brand’s visibility and popularity. Arby’s had a wonderful moment thanks to a joke shared with Pharrell Williams.
Take advantage of viral jokes and memes by piggybacking on the trend to bring attention to your website. Just be sure that you do your research and make sure your attempt is in good taste. Otherwise, you could go viral for all the wrong reasons.
Keep up with website design trends
A good website is an on-trend website. Never assume that your site won’t need occasional updates or to get re-designed. If your website has a lot of content, it might feel inconvenient, but it is worth the trouble. There is no one specific way to implement the perfect website layout design, however, there are several basics to consider that will ensure your web page is effectively user-friendly and communicative.
Consider sites designed before mobile Internet browsing became the standard. Websites created for desktop browsing are notoriously hard to navigate on a mobile phone. Depending on the size of the phone, the text might be too small to read or the links too hard to press.
As of 2018, roughly 70 percent of web traffic now originates from mobile phones. If you don’t adapt your website to appeal to mobile users, it negatively impacts the user experience. User experience is one of the most important aspects of a business website. Be sure to check on website trends for each coming year to know how and when you’ll need to adapt. It’s far easier to market to consumers with an on-trend website than a dated one.
Have experts guest post to your site
A simple strategy for building authority is to get experts related to your field to guest post content to your website. Doing so makes it easier to represent your business as a leader in your field when reputable figures use your platform to share important facts and information.
Here's some interesting facts about websites. Per Business to community , 57% of internet users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed website on mobile.
What it means:
Responsive websites are fluid meaning they don't lose their image size and ratio to text when changing between lap tops, tablets and smart phones .