A website will make you visible in the world of the Internet. More and more studies are teaching us about customer attitudes towards local business websites. Customers often research online before buying or participating offline. They type their problems or needs into the search engine and research the businesses that appear in their search. If you don’t have a Web presence, your prospects will have a hard time learning about you. You can’t afford to be invisible. Even more importantly studies in 2017 show that over 80% of people search from a mobile device. This means your website must be mobile friendly.
You may not be able to simply create a list of search terms you want to be found by, however, you can use search engine optimization basics to help control where your site shows up and for which searches. By writing optimized content, building relevant links and creating a brand that customers want to engage with, you establish yourself as an authority in the eyes of the search engine and improve your chances of appearing for the right searches – the ones that paying customers are using to find businesses just like yours. Creating an optimized website helps you gain important visibility for the right terms.
A website is a powerful sales tool and one that allows you to address your customer’s questions and solutions. Give them the information they need to make a decision and establish compelling “calls to action”. You can keep placing ads in the Yellow Pages and hope that word-of-mouth generates on its own, or you can build something that inspires it to happen. Your website is where people can go to seek out trusted information about your business and engage with you on a more personal level. Your website is your home turf, use it to build confidence in your brand and to give customers important buying information (and incentives).
Though the Web has been around for some time, it’s true that you didn’t always need a website to find your audience. It was a lot easier to market via direct mailings, Yellow page ads, and local word-of-mouth. However, today your website and your social presence are the factors that customers are looking for when they research a business. Customers want to know that you’re stable enough to have a dedicated Web presence, that you’ll be around tomorrow should something go wrong and that they can get ahold of you when they need to. By creating a website, you set up shop on the Internet and show customers that this is where they can come to find information about you, to read articles that you’ve written and to learn more about your business. All of these things build authority. Without a website, you’re at a huge disadvantage as a business owner trying to speak to your customers.
As a business owner, you probably think you can’t afford a professional website, but you can’t afford NOT to. Although the cost of designing a website varies, once it’s up and running, a website for a small business generally costs under $100 a month for maintenance. Compared with the cost of newspaper ads or flyers, when you consider the potential market you can reach with a website, it is a very cost-effective way to promote your business.