We come across a lot of entrepreneurs and small business owners who either don’t have a website, or have a really old one created by either themselves or a friend for free in 1992.
Let me begin by saying that there is nothing wrong with making your own website (if you know what you’re doing) or accepting help from someone else. I’m sure you could guess, this is where the BUT comes in…
Don’t underestimate the importance of a website!
There is not a single business or entrepreneur who has a good reason not to have an up-to-date website:
- If you don’t have a website, you lose customers
- If you have an out-of-date website, you lose customers
- If you have a dated (ie. old) website, you lose customers
- If you make it difficult for people to find you online, you lose customers
- If you make it difficult for people to understand what to do on your website, you lose customers
- If you make it difficult for people to contact you, you lose customers
Even if you don't sell online, people are more likely to find your business through online searches. According to Google, 97% of consumers search for local businesses online.
A website also helps give your business credibility and trustworthiness; you can appear larger and more successful than you might be, but more importantly: if you don't have a website people will not take you as seriously and will certainly think you are not successful!
If you sell products in a shop, why not offer to pre-order online and for customers to pick it up? Or show what the daily offer is? Or have a different voucher on your website each week or month that people can use in your shop?
There are so many different ways of incentivising people to come to your website and subsequently your shop that it would be a shame not to make use of it.
If you have an online shop, make the checkout process easy and pleasant; people don’t like spending much time filling out all their details, so only ask for the information you really need. Make it clear which steps are involved; show clearly what it is they are buying and the amount, or make it clear they can review their order before confirming.
If you sell a service, show what you have achieved for other customers. It doesn’t have to be in a lot of detail but give a brief overview. A lot of services will require a meeting or phone call, so what you want is for customers to get in touch with you. Make it easy for them! Have a ‘we’ll phone you’ option where they just enter their name, phone number, type of service (if you need that to redirect the enquiry) and perhaps preferred time range – you can find out anything else that’s important later.
Of course, a website costs money, but it is the best investment your business could make right now. Furthermore, a website does not have to cost that much. We have worked with start-ups and entrepreneurs who don’t have the cash flow for a big website investment to ensure the budget and payment structure is right for their business model. Once the website is designed, built and live, it should not end there though. Update your website frequently (with the easy to use CMS!) and make small improvements to functionality so customers will keep coming back.