Do I Really Need a Website?http://ecoastalgroup.com/why-your-business-needs-a-website
Maybe your business consists of you, an employee or two, and minimal inventory. Perhaps, you epitomize “small business” in every sense of the term. There are countless reasons why every business should have a website and why it needs to be done right! You can increase revenue by selling merchandise online, maximize brand recognition through creating a strong online presence, and provide meaningful information to customers, employees, and other businesses.
Tim W. Knox takes the words out of our mouths in an article found on Entrepreneur.com (http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/65204).
“So should your business have a website, even if your business is small and sells products or services you don't think can be sold online? Yes, if you have a business, you should have a website. Period. No question. Without a doubt.”In the context of small business, he goes on to explain:
“One of the great things about the internet is that it has leveled the playing field when it comes to competing with the big boys… With a well-designed site, your little operation can project the image and professionalism of a much larger company.”Another article at Small Business Trends (http://smallbiztrends.com/2011/08/5-benefits-smb-website.html) lists a few reasons that support Small Businesses claiming their own digital real estate. A visitor posted in response to the article:
“It’s amazing to me that in 2011 [when the comment was posted] we’re still making a case for SMB to have a website. It’s comparable to making a case that all businesses should have phones! But alas, there really are SMB business owners that don’t get it, and probably never will. It’s called ‘Darwinism.’”.Our interpretation of this statement is that businesses must stay current and adapt as technology improves and as time goes on. Businesses have been utilizing the internet to reach previously established and new target audiences for quite some time now and if you aren’t doing the same, you are missing out!
Almost anything can be sold online. Many people wouldn’t think to sell vehicles, commercial and residential real estate, utilities, etc online, but there are businesses doing it. Using an e-commerce system in conjunction with your website can help to capture sales that you would have missed otherwise. Not to mention, there are plenty of external resources that can be leveraged for online sales as well like Ebay, Etsy, and more.
Brand recognition is a huge aspect of marketing and what better way to expose potential customers to who you are and what you provide than through a digital medium. By placing your logo on social media pages and other external resources, you can have your brand displayed directly to an ever-expanding amount of people, but they need to have access to a centralized location for information specifically designated for your business. All of these external resources need to direct them to your website. This adds a significant amount of credibility and authority to your brand and consequently to your business as well.
But it’s not enough to sign up for a “free website” or one that is not designed specifically catering to your business’ needs. Having potentially competing advertisements displaying on your website can direct customers straight into the waiting arms of a better prepared organization in your industry. Also, if your website isn’t clean, easily readable, visually appealing, or lacks dynamic content, you can actually be providing a disservice to yourself. In the words of Tim W. Knox (mentioned above):
“It's actually better to have no website at all than to have one that makes your business look bad. Your site speaks volumes about your business. It either says, ‘Hey, look, we take our business so seriously that we have created this wonderful site for our customers!’ or it screams, ‘Hey, look, I let my 10-year-old nephew design my site. Good luck finding anything!’”It is very important that once you understand the impact your online presence plays into the success of the business that you have everything done properly. There are several topics to consider like visitor engagement, information consistency, aesthetics, and much more. Be sure when choosing a design agency that your best interest is the primary consideration.
For all of the above reasons and more, it is clear that any business benefits from having a website and getting it designed professionally. It’s very important for you and the contracted design firm to take your business’ website seriously, because if you don’t, no one else will.
-Dan Kemper (E. Coastal Group LLC / www.ecoastalgroup.com)