8 reasons why even your (very) small business needs a website
Almost half of all small businesses do not have their own website, according to a 2009 study by Adology. This number may be even higher among freelancers. The reason for this almost always comes down to one of three things: a lack of money, a lack of time - or both.
So we've come up with eight good reasons why your business should definitely have a website:
1. A website will showcase your offering.
An online presence means your customers can explore your products or services in advance of a purchase. This can also help them realize the full extent of your offering. For example, a shopper looking for children's shoes who consults your website will see that you also sell women's shoes and accessories, whereas a shopper who passes your physical store may not realize this.
Remember too that many customers prefer to browse anonymously before buying - not everyone is going to pick up the phone or take a trip into your physical store.
2. A website is an effective form of advertizing.
How do you advertise now? Do you use fliers, cold calling or direct mail? These methods can hassle your customers and rarely find their way under their noses at just the right time. But when a customer finds you through Google, there's a good chance they have a specific need and want you to provide them with a solution. Plus, no other advertising method is as cost effective because it doesn't cost a cent if someone finds your website through a normal (organic) search. Of course, setting up, establishing and optimizing your website requires an initial investment, but that's where Reason 3 comes into play...
3. It's very easy to build your own website.
Creating your own website is easier than you think, especially if you use the right software. Here at WebsiteToolTester, we test and publish free reviews of website builders. If you can use Word and PowerPoint, we're sure you'll be able to use these straight-forward tools to create a professional-looking website in no time. Of course, if you really don't have the time, then it makes sense to hire a professional web designer. But be careful: there are many average web designers out there who may not charge much, but certainly don't produce results worth writing home about either.
4. A website makes it easy for your customers to recommend you.
If what you're offering is good, then your customers will be happy to let others know. In today's online age, this is happening more and more via email, online forums, Facebook and other social networks. If you don't have a website, you can't be linked to, and you immediately lose out on this rapidly growing source of referrals.
5. A website can help your customers find you.
If you often have visitors to your store or office, then it can be helpful to include directions on your website. It's also incredibly easy to add a Google Map. See our example below for what that might look like.
6. A website is good source of answers to your customer's questions.
You can probably think of two or three questions right now that you're often asked by customers. Nothing beats a call from a friendly customer of course. But when it comes to repeatedly answering the same few questions, you might find your time could be better spent elsewhere. So put your website to work for you by covering all of these questions in a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section. You can also include a contact form so customers can email you with any other questions, or prominently display your phone number if you prefer to receive queries by phone.
7. A website enables you to sell your products online.
If you're selling a product that can be mailed, there's no reason why you can't set up an online store. This way, you immediately increase your number of potential customers and take your market nationwide - or even internationally, if you want. These days setting up an online store is as easy as running an auction on eBay.
8. A website will allow you to start a conversation with your customers
It makes sense to communicate with your customers if you want to build customer loyalty. But communication doesn't have to be just one-to-one: newsletters, blogs, Twitter or Facebook can all work just as well. It can also be beneficial to maintain a blog and position yourself as an expert in your field, especially if you're a freelancer.
Can you think of any more reasons? Or maybe you can think of a reason not to have a business website? Leave us a comment and let us know!
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