If you’re still dithering over which is the best hosting service for your website, or you’re not convinced that your business even needs a website at all, it’s time for a reality check. Your business definitely and absolutely does need a website. And here are eight definitive reasons why.
30% of Consumers Won’t Give You the Time of Day
According to recent studies, at least one in three people won’t consider your product or service unless your business has a website. And while this is a staggering statistic at first glance, it’s not surprising when you think about it.
These are digital times we live in. Without a website, it’s hard to convince customers that your business is legitimate, making it even harder to convince them that they should part with their money for a product or service that you’re offering them. Why wouldn’t they go with one of your competitors who is verifiably participating in the digital landscape that we all move through these days?
It’s not a stretch to call the Internet our common landscape: the average person in the developed world spends almost 24 hours per week (that’s an entire day) on the internet, with much of that time spent scrolling a mobile screen while also doing something else—riding the bus, walking down the street. So from the point of view of your potential customer, a business that does not have a website is stranded in the dark ages.
Your Customers Can’t Find You
Nobody’s checking the Yellow Pages anymore. In fact, the phone book is more likely to be used as a yoga support block than a means through which to locate your desired product or service. So in this era of search engines, not having a website for your business is the equivalent of non-existence.
But even if you do exist, and your website is out there in the ether, that’s only half the battle won. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is your next big challenge if you want to be fully present in the digital space. Over 90% of people pull out their phones or flip open their laptops to search for goods and services in their local area and beyond. Not surprising then, that most online experiences begin with a search engine.
Taken together, these findings very strongly point to the fact that you 100% need a website, and it needs to be optimised for search. Otherwise, how are your customers meant to find you?
A Good Website Makes You More Competitive
Even a small business that has not had time to build a strong reputation or accumulate recognisable awards or stacks of customer reviews can punch above its weight if it has an intuitively designed, SEO-driven website. This is one of the reasons why so many exciting startups are managing to compete with much bigger brands, despite being new kids on the block. If that newsflash doesn’t have you Googling ‘the best website design company’ right now, what are you waiting for? Time to adopt the startup mindset and get your brand out there.
People Prefer to Engage With Businesses Through a Website
When it comes to finding a business and communicating with them, a staggering 60% plus of consumers prefer to do this via a business website, rather than through social media and other available channels. In other words, people generally don’t want to send you a message on Facebook. They’d rather look up your website and get in touch via the email address or phone number listed on your ‘contact us’ page.
That means if you’re defending your decision to not have a website with the argument that people can find you and reach out through social media, you’re basically putting off over half of your potential customers simply by refusing to adopt their preferred form of engagement. When your goal is to persuade your customer that you care about meeting their needs, failing to provide a website with contact details is not a great start.
Websites Are Crucial to Purchasing Decisions
To take customer preference a step further, here’s how strong the general population’s preference for companies with websites might be: according to a recent study, a consumer’s purchase decision is typically informed by three distinct sources of information. Examples could be: a website, an Instagram feed, a Facebook ad, a promo code, a friend’s recommendation, a billboard, and an independent review. This is fair enough. Now here’s the rub: while any three of these sources can be deciding factors, a brand that does not have a website is likely to be disqualified from the purchaser’s list of potential choices. To put it lightly, having a website is a real sticking point. Why risk not having one?
Your Industry Has no Bearing on Whether You Need a Website
Whether you have a website or not will be an important factor in your customer’s purchase decision regardless of the industry you operate in. There are certain sectors in which general opinion previously held that having a website was not essential. For example, companies in the manufacturing or B2B industrial sectors were thought to operate fine without the help of a website owed to the fact that the product was not being directly marketed to the end-user, but rather to other businesses or stockists of the product.
But things have changed. Those other businesses are your customers, and their buying decisions have begun to mirror that of the individual consumer, i.e. they want to see a website before they phone up and chat to your sales rep. And what’s more: by the time they speak to your sales rep, they’ve almost made up their mind based on what they see on your website.
A Website Makes You More Trustworthy
Research has demonstrated that a business that does not have a website is seen as untrustworthy by consumers. And it’s not hard to see why, when you consider the typical markers of brand credibility. Your brand seems credible if you have rewards, customer reviews and other credentials that speak in your favour. Even better if you have good publicity to boast about, like a write-up by an independent news source. Basically, people find it reassuring to see your credentials before they buy from you, and how are they supposed to do that if they only have your own social media posts to go by?
So having a website is non-negotiable if you want to build a trusted brand, full stop. But if you’re looking to shore up a little extra brand credibility, here’s a statistic worth paying attention to. Three-quarters of consumers have been shown to base their judgments about a brand’s credibility on their website design. That means, if you have a beautiful, intuitive, non-glitchey website that’s optimised for mobile and loads really quickly, your customer is more likely to think that you’re the real deal.
Social Media Reach For Business is Not What it Used to Be
Okay, maybe brands were getting away with relying heavily on social media a few years ago. Earlier in the decade, business pages would often appear in people’s newsfeeds, helping companies expand their reach. While this reach would never compete with search engines, you could rely on social media to a certain extent to get your brand out there. But Facebook’s algorithm has changed—as it often does—with the effect that personal content is being heavily privileged over business content. So while you can benefit from having a Facebook or Instagram following for your business, your brand is at the mercy of the algorithm.
If you don’t have a website for your business yet, what are you waiting for? If you were waiting for this article to appear, then you are welcome.