Do I need a website, really? If you’ve been told by friends, family or even customers to get a website, chances are the answer is YES! You need to invest in a good website for your business.
However, even though we are biased (*cough, website design is our thing) I am not going to cherry-pick statistics to shove down your throat about how great having a website is!
Here’s a few scenarios that could be you to get started.
1. You need a website NOW if
2. You might want a website SOON if
3. You don't need a website just yet if
Do I need a website? Yes! You absolutely need a website now if:
1. You have an existing local business that is doing OK, but you know could do better
If your local business is ticking along well, but you’re suspecting that there are more potential customers out there then YES! You should invest in a website. It will help future-proof your business for times when foot-traffic is a bit light. Plus researching local business online before visiting is becoming more common. In fact, about 80% of customers research online before making a purchasing decision.
2. Customers/clients have asked about it
Yes! You need a website. Customers expect a real, legit business to have a website. So if you don’t, it can leave them feeling a little skeptical! Consumers need reassurance that after they have handed over their money, you’ll do the job well. For this reason, your website needs to be PROFESSIONAL and on-brand. A poorly-designed website will do more harm than good. So even if customers are asking; if cash flow is too tight to employ a pro… Just don’t do it!
3. You find yourself answering the same questions frequently, taking up your valuable time
Yes! You need a website. Imagine if the customers walking into your business already knew the details about your services, how much it would cost them or what your returns policy is? It will save you a lot of time repeating the same answers to individual customers over and over having a good FAQ page on your website. I personally think that including a Frequently Asked Questions section is the most valuable page for any local business.
Your website should be your #1 salesperson. It works 24/7, never chucks a sickie and can multi-task better than a mother of quadruplets.
4. You lose time with back-and-forth messaging or phone calls to schedule customer appointments
Yes! You need a website. A website is the best solution for this problem for all of the same reasons as my last point. PLUS, it removes the chances for human error and automates the really annoying process of diary-synchronising.
5. Trolls or disgruntled staff/clients have posted bad reviews online, and that’s what comes up on a Google search for your business
Yes! You need a website. If a bad online reputation is overshadowing all the great work you do, then a website is a vital part of the repair process. It’s a frustrating fact that you do not have control over everything that is published online about your business. So, one of the easiest ways to repair the damage from some negative reviews is to dilute them with positive ones. With a website, you have complete control of the narrative.
Do I need a website? Maybe! You might want a website soon if:
1. You sell products that could easily be shipped anywhere in the country or the world
If you sell products that can be shipped, why not do it! eCommerce is taking over “old school” retail, so if you’re not selling your products online you are being left behind. You can sell both on and offline together, increasing your pool of potential customers from your local area, to the world if you choose.
2. All of your competitors have websites already
As mentioned above, if over 80% of your customers are researching your product/services online before making a purchase, you can bet that if they can’t see you, they’re choosing your competitors.
3. You need an easy way to provide orientation materials to new staff
This one might seem a little odd; but if you employ staff oftentimes the administration of working through orientation checklists can be time consuming. Conserve your resources by setting up a private section of your website that can guide new employees through the material; while you and your admin team get back to more important duties.
4. You have a few social media profiles for your business with a good following
Research shows that consumers go to social media to catch up with friends and family as well as engage with brands they care about. They do not go to these places to purchase products or services. If your business has a good social media presence, but few sales; its time to throw your hat into the ring where they are buying.
That doesn’t mean to say that social media is useless; with your established profiles, you have given yourself a head start with your new website! Customers have started to develop the ‘know, like, trust’ factor and are MORE likely to purchase from you in future.
5. Customers have provided glowing feedback on your services, but no one else has seen it!
One of the first SEO jobs I ever did was for a engineering business that had been in business 20+ years. You can imagine that after so many years in business they have built quite a reputation for themselves in the industry. Since most of their customers found them through word-of-mouth or through local directories, their testimonials came through in a non-digital form too. 20+ years worth of testimonials, all stacked up in the corner of the office collecting dust!
Reviews are everything these days, its an asset to your business and might be the difference between gaining or losing a customer to a competitor. Sprinkle those reviews throughout your website like confetti and watch those leads come in!
Do I need a website? NO! You do not need a website just yet if;
1. You are a brand spanking new local start-up with very few to no customers
If you’ve just opened a new local business, don’t build a new website straight up. Yes, register your domain name to lock it in, but don’t spend your start up capital on a website. Instead, invest your time, funds and energy on building your network and give yourself time to prove that your business idea is viable before shelling out for a website.
While it may be tempting to do with their low-cost, avoid DIY website builders. They will cost you hundreds, if not thousands in your valuable time that could otherwise be spent getting customers. And again, as mentioned above, a poorly designed website with broken links, bad formatting, no SEO etc will do you more harm than good. It tells potential customers that you’re a sketchy backyard dealer and that will drive them away faster than no website at all.
2. Cashflow is a problem right now
Even if you’ve been in business for a while, if cash flow is tight don’t dip into your retirement savings for a new website. Why? Because the website build is just the beginning. There are hundreds of new website pages published online every minute, of every day around the world. So to ensure that your business is found amongst all that noise, you need to drive customers to your website. You can either pay for this through PPC (Pay per click) or you can take the time to optimise your website for search engines (SEO), but that takes time.
Consider your website a long-term investment.
3. You are looking for a quick-fix to a lull in business
Sitting at your desk twiddling your thumbs is not fun for anyone. If you’re in an off-season, or business is lagging unseasonably a website might not be the solution. As mentioned above, a website should be considered a long-term investment in growing your business. The opportunity is HUGE! But, you also need to factor in the time it will take for it to take off. A website is not a quick fix.
5 more reasons why a website is a valuable piece of the entrepreneurship puzzle
1. Its not expensive to build a website.
After all my talk on cashflow, you might be tempted to think that a good website will cost you a kidney. While some agencies certainly come at a Lamborghini price tag, you won’t find any of that here at Thorn Creative. Without a commercial office and subsequent costs; we are able to offer premium website design and digital marketing services at a much better rate. We’re 100% Australian too.
2. Its not hard either!
You do not need to learn code to build or maintain a website. We have an easy sign up process for our customers, crafted to take the ‘thorn’ out of your side. After years in the industry, we’ve deliberately pulled out all the bits that past customers found most frustrating about website development and made it EASY.
3. You get to control the story.
Online reputation management is a thing now. As I’ve mentioned, reviews are KING online, so naturally, you want to mitigate the negative reviews as best as possible. Having a website gives you 100% control over the content, images and timeline. Just having a professional website that matches your company brand and persona will go leaps and bounds towards repairing any negative publicity.
4. More value for money than offline marketing
A website is high value, at relatively low cost. Consider the cost of sending out 1000 print flyers. There’s the cost to print itself ($500+) plus the cost of distribution. Based on my old speed of about 2 hours to deliver 250 flyers on my old paper route as a kid; it would cost you about 8 hours of staff time to get them delivered. And mailbox deliveries have an extremely low rate of success – most residents don’t even bring print media inside their home. Print is a high cost, low value advertising medium that lucky for the trees of the world, is becoming obsolete.
Comparatively, you can get 1000 sets of eyes over your website page through PPC advertising for $100 or less. And its evergreen, the website doesn’t ‘run out’ after 1000 visits and need to be reprinted.
5. You’ll be open 24/7 with you best sales person hard at work.
Even while you’re sleeping, your business can be generating new leads. And with the incredible opportunity of automated sales funnels, you can set and forget your marketing efforts.