Small business – why do I need a website?
There are plenty of articles written about why your small business should have a website. In this post we will reflect on the tools businesses have used and continue to use. Which tools worked and which ones are past their prime. We live in the information age and most customers want information fast and convenient. Businesses need to provide information to their customers, or potential customers quickly and conveniently.
We had big books with businesses listed in them. Cool?
Years ago, you’d pay hundreds to thousands of dollars for a listing in the yellow pages or newspaper. You remember those, the Yellow Pages, Business White Pages, and the like. You paid so people could find you, so you could be discovered.
Purchasing that listing made you credible and people would call you. Those listings did very little to help you relate to your customers. They saw a picture and paragraph that was put there months ago. Hopefully what you put in that big book was relevant all year long.
Listings like those gave you very little flexibility in your messaging, it was static. You had what you purchased until the next time you listed it, a full year later!
Since those listings were static you also could count on them to help you scale your business up or down to match or beat the market.
We’ve come a long way!
Discoverable and credible
Now we are doing business in a digital world, we use the internet to look up information and even the Yellow pages has a website. Customers can use computers, tablets, phones, game consoles and even smart televisions to quickly look up information about a business, merchandise, an event or location. Once they find you, they can read about you, look at your blog, review your merchandise and really get to know who you are.
A website is a tool that can provide “just in time” advertising, that is, you advertise to them when they go to your website. You can add what you want, when you want, in order to keep up with or even ahead of the market. It’s very flexible.
Finally, you can add sections to your website if you decide to start a new product line or add a new blog or maybe it’s a new event. You’re not limited to the picture and paragraph in the big book or the 3 pages of merchandise you had yesterday.
Updating the content – the CMS
Having a website built using a modern Content Management System, a CMS, such as WordPress, can give you the ability to add product lines, new blog topics, introduce staff and so much more. Your company can be as discoverable, credible, relatable, flexible and scalable as you need it to be. A CMS with baked-in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can help you climb to search engine results to be more readily discovered and will increase traffic and help convert visitors to customers. SEO does take regular review to keep you there and climbing.
Questions to ponder
Do you want more customers so your business can thrive?
I would guess this answer is a resounding YES! of course we do!
Do you want to develop an email list?
You may be asking a follow-up question on this one. What’s an email list and why do I need one, let alone develop one? Fair enough. An email list is your rolodex of current and potential customers, or a list of fans or followers. You can send the email announcements, advertisements, event notifications and so on. How do you develop one? That’s a loaded question because there are several ways to do that, but the easiest is to ask customers for their email address when they make a purchase or come into your business. It’s a little slow, but that’s just one way.
Do you want or need to change information on your website on a regular basis? Do you want it to be fairly easy?
Yes, yes you do. In some businesses, information on a website that is only than a couple days or a week is a sign that there’s nothing happening and to move on to another business. Search engines like to see updated information and it can help move you up on search engines results (that’s SEO).
Is your current website older than 5 years old?
You might be wondering if that’s a problem because your still getting visitors and selling merchandise. Does it need to be new and fresh? The internet has changed quite a bit in the last five years, so it might be time to consider a fresh new look.
Studies to consider – good stuff
A STUDY OF SMALL BUSINESS WEBSITE
“Did you know just 51% of small businesses have websites? And many of those do not have customer-friendly websites and are missing out on valuable opportunities to engage clients and convert visitors to sales.” – 2014 Small Business Website study
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Larry’s 30 year information technology career has been in the healthcare industry developing programs from Perl scripts to VB6 applications to Classic ASP & ASP.NET web pages. He showed interest in doing web design since the late 1990’s was eventually added to the web team at work. Now he is launching a web design freelancing business and would love to work with you.
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