5 reasons your business needs a good website
Even if your business doesn’t sell anything online, a good website has become a must-have in today’s marketplace. Your site will often be the first place prospective customers learn about your company and it can help you weather the inevitable ups and downs of business.
Yet, 40% of Canadian small businesses still don’t have a website, according to a 2014 report from the Canadian Internet Registration Authority. And even among those that do have a site, many put up with one that’s poorly designed and may be actually driving customers away.
“In today’s world, the Internet is how people research what to buy and whom to buy from,” says BDC Consultant Chris O’Shea, who advises entrepreneurs on online marketing. “A bad website—or even worse, none at all—will make people think twice about giving you their money. A good site is absolutely essential.”
O’Shea gives five reasons your business needs not only a website, but a good one.
1) Your customers are online—Even if your company isn’t online, your customers use the Internet to make shopping decisions and find out more about a business. If they can’t find you, you may lose clients to competitors. “You have to be where your customers are,” O’Shea says.
A good website is easy to find on search engines, ranking high when people search for your products online. It should also be visually attractive and easy to navigate. Visitors should be able to find what they’re looking for without a lot of scrolling or clicking.
“If your competition has a modern, professional site while yours is hard to use and clearly hasn’t been touched in years, who are they more likely to deal with?” O’Shea says. Consider hiring a web developer if you don’t have in-house expertise to create an effective site.
2) You can reach new markets—A website is an important tool even if you’ve got enough customers for the time being and aren’t seeking new ones. What if you lose a core client? A site can help you attract new business. Tracking data on your web visits can also help you understand your market.
3) It’s cost-effective marketing—The Internet provides relatively cheap marketing. “A website is like a sales rep who’s out there 365 days a year. And a good site can make a small company look like a major player,” O’Shea says.
The power of online marketing is the data you get when visitors come to your site and social media properties. It lets you fine-tune your efforts to target your customers more effectively. That’s why it’s important to continually monitor your traffic to see which content gets the most attention and to optimize your efforts accordingly.
4) It cements your brand—A website should be a cornerstone of your branding. It’s an excellent place to explain to customers why you exist, how you’re different from the competition and how you can give them what they need. To get the most benefit, take the time to create a detailed marketing plan to help you develop your brand, position your company and attract customers.
5) You can attract mobile customers—It’s not enough these days just to be online. Your site also needs a mobile-friendly version. There’s a good chance customers will look for you on a mobile device, not a desktop. And search engines rank sites higher if they have a mobile version.