Websites are not a business luxury. They are a necessity, as critical to your success as developing a business plan, or even putting a sign outside your store or headquarters. Websites give your business legitimacy. There are whole generations of people who rely solely on the internet for networking, shopping and even communicating with friends.
More importantly, websites are valuable business tools that attract leads and build your brand. In today’s digital age, websites are the new yellow pages. If your company doesn’t have one, it may as well not exist. Customers will have trouble finding you and, when they do, they’ll wonder why you don’t have a website – and that’s not the kind of first impression you want to make.
Here are 8 ways the lack of a well-designed website hurts your business.
1. Your company is virtually invisible.
Think about the last time you needed to hire someone or look into a company. Chances are you went online. Everybody goes online. So much so that “Googling” has become a part of our everyday lexicon. If you want consumers to know you have a business, you need a presence on the internet. Otherwise your company won’t exist for a large portion of your future customers. And not just any web presence, mind you.
2. If your current website doesn’t show up in search results, you’re just as invisible.
Maybe you do have a website. Thing is, your company needs a prominent place on the first page of search results – otherwise it’s just as bad as not having a website. To accomplish this, you need a modern, responsive website that functions across desktops and mobile devices. It needs to be well designed, feature an intuitive navigation and present information in a clear and concise manner.
This is true regardless of whether you are an independent artist or a supplier only engaged in B-to-B transactions. Over 80% of people go online before they make a purchase or engage a company. This includes people making purchasing decisions at small businesses. If your company doesn’t exist on the web, it might as well not exist at all.
3. Your competitors’ websites are monopolizing market share.
By creating a presence online, your competitors will win more business. They are accomplishing this simply by being on the web while you’re not. A consumer study by BrightLocal.com found that 66% of survey respondents felt a good website gives a business more credibility. They are more likely to contact a local business if they have a website. They trust a local business more if they have their own website. Twenty-five percent didn’t really care if the business had a website or not. Nine percent said a bad/ugly website can be a turn-off from using that business.
By these numbers, if your business doesn’t have a website, or your small business has an outdated website, your profits will suffer – increasingly so as that 25% of respondents who don’t care starts to dwindle. Keep in mind that if your target audience is under 50, the percentage of consumers who don’t care about a web presence will be even lower. Staying off the web gives your competitors the green light to crush you.
4. You’ll be closed while your competitors are open.
Consider how many consumers research purchasing decisions online before buying. (I quoted over 80% earlier.) Now imagine how many of those consumers are conducting that research after your office or shop is closed for the evening. Probably a good portion of them. For those consumers, your company will not be in the mix. They won’t be able to get their questions answered. They won’t even know your business exists. (We’re back to that whole invisibility issue again.)
5. No free, 24/7 salespeople.
Websites are 24/7 sales people that cost a bit up front but, over time, provide significant value. Value you can measure through Google Analytics, which tracks page visits by region and provides a number of other helpful statistics.
Let’s say you started up a pool design company. A couple sits down late one evening and begins researching local companies. They find your competitors and fill out the contact forms. The next day, they get calls and set up appointments. But you never get a call. Your lack of a website and its 24/7 presence left you off their radar. Not having a website, or having an outdated website, can kill your business regardless of your industry. Those dollars you spend on a site will pale in comparison to the amount you’ll be leaving on the table.
6. You’ll miss out on building leads.
Customer relationship management is crucial to a business. Your first goal as a new business is to build a list of potential customers you can market to. The internet can be a powerful lead generation tool, but only if you have a website.
Those contact forms serve a dual purpose. First, they make it easier to contact your company at all hours. Second, and more importantly, they gather information about the kinds of people interested in your business. They collect names, emails, phone numbers, whatever questions you ask. Then you can use this information to create targeted email campaigns and hone your overall marketing strategies.
7. Your business is doing well now.
But what about future revenue? Successful businesses think ahead. They don’t take their current profits for granted. Instead, they use the good times to continue building brand evangelists who will promote the company to their friends and families. This is what helps businesses weather economic downturns and other unforeseen challenges. Plus, reliance on the internet is increasing. The world will evolve past your company if you don’t take steps to evolve with it.
8. You’ll be behind the times.
This is perhaps the biggest reason to get your business a website pronto. Otherwise you will be behind the eight ball even before you get your company off the ground. Not having a website today is like refusing to install a phone back in 1900 or refusing a fax in 1970. We can all agree the internet is not going away. It’s time to embrace it and let your business harness its power. If your new business is in desperate need of a website, give us a call. We’ll help you take advantage of every business tool the internet has to offer.