Do I need a website?
Year on year we become more reliant on the internet in our daily lives. One frequent question asked by businesses is ‘do I need a website?’ In 2019, The Office of National Statistics reported that 91% of adults had recently used the internet. With the internet now such a big influence on our purchasing habits, it is essential for businesses to have an online presence. This blog post will cover the reasons why a website is crucial, and which type of website is best.
Why do I need a website?
The internet is central to today’s world. A website is now a necessity rather than a commodity. As of 2018, its estimated that 75% of people base their view of a company’s credibility on their website. You could be losing up to three quarters of customers simply by lacking an online presence. When in need of a product or service, most people will turn to Google, so it makes sense to have a website with your contact details readily available.
Can’t I just use a Facebook page?
Facebook is a great tool when used alongside your own website. Social media offers interaction in a way that a website doesn’t, so shouldn’t be neglected. However a Facebook page is limited in what it has to offer. Sure, you can put your contact details and a bit about your company on there, but you can’t get away from Facebook’s layouts and branding. Your own site allows you to create a dedicated space to your company, complete with branding that really fits your brand personality. It is also well known that a Facebook page is free and easy to set up, whilst a website usually costs money and requires a lot of time and design effort. Being able to see that your company has invested time and money into the business reassures potential clients that your business is valid.
My business is too small to justify a website
This is a common misconception. Although paying for a website may seem like a big chunk of the budget for smaller businesses, the potential loss caused by not having your own site is far greater. With research showing that 97% of consumers search online for local services or businesses, not having a website basically drives potential customers towards the competition. It is better to have a simple but well designed website and build it when the budget allows than to have no website at all. Your website will be your greatest marketing tool, so its worth investing in.
I don’t rely on the internet to make sales
Whilst many businesses do not sell their products or service online directly, a website can still drive sales. A website does so much more than advertising your products. It provides knowledge about your company and its ethos to potential clients, as well as contact information. A well designed website will increase your business’s credibility and could be the deciding factor for a customer choosing between you and your competitors.
I don’t need any more customers
It’s true that a website will be your best marketing tool, but it isn’t all about finding new customers. Around 70% of consumers agree that the internet makes it much easier to take their business elsewhere so there is greater need than ever to take care of your existing customers. In a world that relies more and more on online interaction, aspects such as being contactable via a messaging system, instant replies or simply having a menu or list of products online can greatly improve user experience.
What kind of website would suit me?
Different businesses can benefit from different types of website. It’s important to choose the one that best fits with your company’s personality and goals.
Regardless of the type of website you choose, there are 3 main aspects that all websites should have.
- An ‘About’ section that describes you or your company
- A ‘Services’ or ‘Products’ section that describes what you offer
- A ‘Contact’ section
So what are some of the different types of websites?
I want to create my own website
There are now several website builders which allow you to create your own site for a monthly fee. If you have a creative eye and some understanding of web design, this can be a good way to have an online presence without an upfront fee. However, there are some things to consider before going down this route.
It isn’t just having a website that is important, but also the quality of both the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). This can include making sure the design works on all devices, is easy to navigate and is aesthetically pleasing. 52% of people said that having just one bad experience when browsing a website on mobile would make them less likely to engage with that company in future, so its crucial to get this right.
The staggered cost of these website designers is tempting, especially for small businesses or start ups with lower budgets. Its worth bearing in mind that you are often leasing these websites. You don’t actually own your own website, meaning if you stop paying, your web presence will cease. It is also worth working out how long it will take you to build the site. If you are inexperienced, it may take weeks or even months to create your site. When you add up the hours that are spent on the site, you may find that you have actually cost yourself more money than paying a designer in the first place.
I make most of my sales offline
Studies suggest that 94% of smartphone users use their phone to find local information, and 90% will take action such as contacting the business. So even if you are not directly selling anything online, or don’t need a large website, it is worth having a basic one. This could simply be a single page, static site detailing the key information about your business. It can include pictures and testimonials and should fit with your brand’s personality. A simple but professional site will ensure your details are easy to find and will make your business appear more reputable. This kind of website is perfect for tradespeople or holiday let owners who rely heavily on word of mouth for sales, but require an online presence. Take a look at our foundation sites here.
I need to showcase my services
For some businesses, a website with a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress is more appropriate. A CMS allows you to easily edit the site yourself. Your web designer will design the layout of the site for you, but you will be able to edit the content easily via a dedicated admin area. This sort of website will be multi-page, and can include a portfolio and blog. It could also include contact forms, allowing customers to reach out without having to phone or email. With 60% of 25-34 year olds preferring to communicate this way, this is a great feature. These websites are perfect for businesses such as photographers, restaurants or beauty salons who want to showcase a wide range of available services on their site. Take a look at our premium sites here.
I need something more complex
A website can offer so much more than just information. Some businesses make most of their sales online, so e-commerce integration or a shopping cart is a must. Studies suggest that 21.3% of UK sales in Dec 2019 were made online. Businesses may also want a more complex admin section, such as a booking system on their site. For these sorts of features, a specialised, bespoke site is usually the best option. A specialised website is perfect for businesses such as shops or property managers. Take a look at our specialised sites here.
A website is an essential part of any modern business. Whether you decide to create your own or use a professional, its important to make sure that your site fits your brand. Creating your website should be a process that you and your chosen designer embark on together, so make sure you choose a company that you trust and that understand you well. If you would like more information about our website packages, please head over to our website.