Do I need a website for my business?

As a new business owner, you have to overcome a huge learning curve. Chances are you’ve asked yourself the question ‘Do I need a website for my business?’ and you’ve tried looking into the process of setting up a website, and ended up more confused than when you started. What’s the best domain name? How do you get hosting? Should you hire someone to design your site’s layout or just use a free template? And, why is this getting so expensive?

Endless research and weeks of frustration later, you find yourself thinking, is this even important? Do I really need a website? But before you can make this decision for your business, you need to gather all the facts. To begin, what does setting up a website mean for you?

Step 1 – How do you stand to benefit?

Forget the generic jargon you’ve been reading online. No two start-ups are alike, and what worked for someone else may not necessarily work for your business. You have to ask yourself, “What value can a website bring to your business?” Because when it comes to building a site, there is no one size fits all formula. Identifying specific end goals will give you a clear direction on where to begin.

What is legitimacy, and why does it matter?

The first word you’ll hear people throw around in the world of online business is “legitimacy.” When you’re new, your competition is established companies with clients, ratings, reviews, and social currency. Customers know who they are and what they offer because they have spent years building trust. If you want your business to succeed, you need to flourish in this arena, and that’s where websites come in. They put you on the map.

Now you may be thinking, “Do I need a website for my business if I have a Facebook page” or “My niche gets a lot of attention on Pinterest, so why shouldn’t I focus all my attention there”? And you have a point. Social media is a valuable tool for navigating the online marketplace and is essential for pulling in customers.

However, statistics show that 84 percent of consumers believe an official website gives a company more credibility than only having a social media presence. So it isn’t an either/or decision. You want to use all the tools in your arsenal to pull in potential customers. And the research shows that websites work, so why try and reinvent the wheel?

How does your website make you money?

What makes a website invaluable is its role in gauging consumer interest. While the details may vary from business to business, chances are your website will serve as the platform from where you sell products, making it an ideal space to gather metrics.

In every arena of business, from marketing strategy to shipping systems, you need data to get ahead. The concept is simple. If you want to improve, you need to figure out what does and doesn’t work. And that’s where a website comes in. It gives you a clear picture of how customers interact with your business, their feedback, their likes and dislikes.

Here’s how it works. You placed an ad on a Facebook page. Google Analytics shows you that 20 potential customers visited your site and scrolled through your homepage to reach the Call-to-Action message where 5 of them bought the product. Being the savvy business person that you are, this wasn’t enough for you. So, you changed up the wording for your CTA and saw that 10 of those 20 leads converted into sales. That’s a 100 percent increase in profits!

So, does a small business need a website? Yes, because your website is the space where all your income streams and marketing strategies meet. As a small business, your entire marketing strategy may rely on email marketing and Facebook ads. Both these avenues are meant to entice potential customers and redirect them to your website, where you will make a sale. Until that transition happens, your leads are not converting into sales.

In terms of both sales and traffic, the growth trends from your website serve as an indicator for when you make good business decisions. And keeping an eye on your site trends is what will bring your success in the business world. Without a website, you’re left flailing around in the dark with no clear direction. 

Step 2 – What does a good website look like?

A quality website does wonders for the growth of your business, but what makes a website useful?

1.   Design

Statistics show that customers form an initial judgement within 50 milliseconds of visiting your site. If your website doesn’t have aesthetic appeal, customers won’t scroll long enough to get to your products and services. Strategic design decisions can make or break a website. 

For example, how will you design an intuitive logo? Will it include a slogan? Should you place your blog posts on your homepage or have a newsletter signup feature? Where do you put your call to action and social media links? Today, business owners have to ask themselves these questions to stand a chance in a highly competitive market space.

That means doing the market research, knowing what works, and taking into account brand identity to create an original, creative website. That’s where Web Design Depot comes in. Our experts know that 93 percent of fortune 500 companies place their logos on the top left corner of their sites and that 89 percent of companies put their social media links under the fold. And have years of experience with logo design and generating customer appeal. We take care of these factors so you can focus on long-term business growth because the fact of the matter is that designing a website is an art form.

2.   On-site search and Search Engine Optimisation

More than half of all website visitors go directly to the search bar to find what they need, especially on ecommerce sites. You need to place a search field and make sure your keywords redirect potential customers to the appropriate section. Because if they can’t find what they need, they’ll leave before you can make a sale.

SEO deals with all the popular keywords and phrases customers in your niche are using. Features like search suggestions or a drop-down menu make a world of difference, and if nothing else, your site should redirect them to navigation. Easy to use and organised navigation helps establish trust with customers and generally provides a better user experience.

But this isn’t something that happens automatically. At Web Design Depot, we talk to our customers about the content they want to post and how potential customers will navigate their site. We also use the latest SEO strategies and A/B testing methods to get you the best possible results.

3.   Brag Sheet

Another function of your website is to serve as a bulletin board of all of your business’ achievements. This links back to establishing trust with potential customers and convincing them that you’re the best at what you do. You can highlight:

  • Awards you’ve won
  • Reviews from influencers
  • Trust seals from established companies like PayPal verified and Web of Trust
  • Product reviews from blogs or websites
  • Customer reviews and testimonials

Step 3 – How can you use your site to build your brand?

Part of why a small business needs a website is to establish its brand identity. How you present your brand depends on who your target demographic is, and your website gives you an idea of who is tuning in. Your site and your social media presence will help you isolate your intended audience. Comparing the metrics from both will give you a stronger grasp on who to target and how to market your products. 

Second, you can use your website to reflect your brand’s personality through layout, content, and general approach. Another part of why you need a website in 2021 is because of how consumers connect with content. They don’t want to see a sterile, generic site. The modern customer wants to know exactly who they’re giving their money to. Take your cues from “influencer culture” and personalise your site.

Use your website to introduce potential customers to your team with pictures, bios, and backgrounds. Buyers want to feel like they’re part of a like-minded community, and using your site to build your brand with high-quality images and visuals is a tried and tested approach.

Step 4 – What hosting options do you have?

Once you’ve set up your website, you need a server to run it smoothly, and that’s where hosting comes in. A good provider will make sure your site never lags and takes minimal time to load. While there are multiple hosting options on the market, you should look at pricing, transferability, speed, and support.

If you are currently with a hosting provider you find limiting or just want to start fresh, Web Design Depot offers a range of packages. As a beginner, hosting can seem like a big decision. And that stress is in great part because of the feeling of permanence attached to it. But, it isn’t as big a deal as people make it out to be.

No matter what service you pick now, you can always shift to a different company if you’re unsatisfied later. Some hosting providers offer more ease of transferability, which is a factor to consider, but there are no wrong decisions when you’re starting out.

Overall, if you find yourself thinking, “Do I need a website in 2021,” the answer is definitely yes. Instead, focus on the goals you want to meet and how your website can play a role in getting you there. As a small business, you need to make smart decisions about where to invest your money. For example, when you’re new, functionality and aesthetic appeal in design are a priority, but you don’t need to waste money on an upper-tier hosting package.