I question I often get asked is, “Does my small business need a website?” In short, the answer is a resounding “Yes”.
Recent stats show that in Australia, just over 50% of all businesses have a website. Out of those, only 30% can take orders online. Although these stats seem low, this is actually a really great result for Australian businesses. For the first time in 2017, we went over 50% of small businesses having a website.
So why do you need a website for your small business? Keep reading to discover my top five reasons…
Reason 1 – Google Search
The main reason why you should have a website is for search results. People are searching online for your business every day. And most times they are unaware of what services you provide and how you can serve them.
For specific searches, you need to have information on your website that can be picked up by search engines. Whenever a search is performed on Google, Google searches the internet to find the best result for that search. That’s why having good content on your website is so important. This is called Search Engine Optimisation.
The fact is that over 90% of all purchases in Australia start with an online search. This is when a potential customer is looking for product information or prices to start a journey to purchase. A much lower percentage of purchases finish online. But being able to show up in those search results at all means you need to have an online presence.
If you are a beginner and just getting started online, a good starting point is to set up your free Google Maps listing. You should rapidly move to a quality website that contains good product and service information.
So if you are one of the 49.9% of businesses that don’t have a website, you really need to start your online journey. Being found in search results is an excellent way to start engaging with potential customers.
Reason 2 – Phone books are rarely used
In this day and age, businesses can no longer get away with not being online. Many businesses used to pay for a listing the phone book and that was enough to get leads and phone calls.
In 2018 you need to make sure you can be found on Google and especially Google Maps for your local listing. If your business can’t be found where people are looking, then a potential customer is likely going to call a competitor.
Tip: Do a search for your business or related information in Google and see if you can be found.
Reason 3 – It builds Trust and Legitimacy
More and more, it is expected that you have a domain name and a website for your business. Having a professional website design and a branded domain for email all help in building trust and legitimacy for your business.
Without a website presence, it’s very difficult to build legitimacy with potential clients over the internet. A Facebook page and a Google Maps listing are just not enough. You still need to have a website and it needs to be professionally presented.
Tip: Secure your business domain name and at least get a simple One Page website to start.
Reason 4 – A Marketing and Information Channel
A website can help you learn more about your customers through statistics and reporting. The number of statistics available on your website – together with the power of online forms – can enhance any business by providing reliable data about your business and your customers.
You can avoid accidental marketing with real data and real statistics that will help you get better results for your business.
Facebook and Google Maps will give you some statistics, but it’s important to note that in this case, a user has been using other brands to find you. Getting your own online property is the difference between a dedicated store or being on the shelf at Woolworths. That’s worth considering.
Reason 5 – Share Information and Knowledge
When customers are asked what helps them to make a purchase decision, it’s clear that brand recognition reigns as the Number 1 reason for a sale. Interestingly, the second purchase decision tool is documentation and knowledge.
Understanding the customer’s purchase decision journey means you need to build trust. The best way to do that is with information and key knowledge being shared on your website. This shared information should centre around your area of expertise. By doing that well, you place yourself as the go-to expert in your field of business.
If you have a great website with good knowledge on it, you will get more leads from your potential customers. And with that better chance of converting sales. Without that shared knowledge, you would need to resort to other methods to build trust with new customers.
Finally, what’s your reason for not being online?
I have spoken to a few businesses that don’t want new work, they are already busy enough. In this case, it’s true, you may not need a website, but it is still smart to make sure you have a good Google listing and professional email. Remember, a customer may be looking for your number and being found online always is important.
However, if you do want new business and new leads, you absolutely must have a good website and a relevant domain name.