Why Does Your Business Need a Website?
Ok, we know we're a bit biased when it comes to this subject... but with good reason.
We've seen the difference a good quality website makes to businesses ranging from one-person startups to established trades. Sometimes, within weeks, businesses are looking for the first hire, or generating record revenue.
It's important to remember that a website is by no means a guarantee of success. That still takes blood, sweat, and a few tears... plus, of course, a gap in the market and a unique product or service that your customers love.
So, without further ado, here are the top reasons you simply need a website.
1. Add Credibility & Trust
Depending on who you believe, anywhere between 25% and 56% of people will not use a business that doesn't have a website.
Read that again.
Between 25% and 56% of people will not use a business that doesn't have a website.
Whichever is accurate, those numbers are alarming.
For those that do have one, 75% of consumers say they judge a company's credibility based on its website design. Ouch.
Your website serves as a badge of credibility and trustworthiness, reassuring your visitors you're a legitimate and reliable business.
A professional, well-designed website instils confidence, showcasing your expertise and commitment to quality. It's an opportunity to make a strong first impression, displaying testimonials, certifications, and case studies that vouch for your business's credibility.
This is becoming increasingly crucial in an era where consumers are increasingly cautious about where they invest their time and money. Scams are rife and exponentially damaging.
Present a polished and trustworthy website and you stand the best chance at winning trust and building lasting customer relationships.
2. Generate & Qualify Leads
Your website is a powerful tool for attracting and qualifying leads. Think of it as a magnet that not only draws potential customers to your business but also acts as a filter, separating the wheat from the chaff.
Using engaging content, strategic calls-to-action, and intelligent forms, your website can capture vital information about visitors, helping you understand their needs.
Casual browsers become qualified leads, ready to engage with you. The result is your effort is more focused on prospects who are more likely to convert, making your sales process more efficient.
3. 24/7 Availability
Your website never closes, offering 24/7 availability to your customers. You get some sleep (hopefully).
In a world where convenience is king, your business is always open to accept enquiries, answer questions, and even make sales.
Your competitor is just a click away, so stay one step ahead by providing instant access.
4. Answer FAQs
From opening hours to prices and return policies, your website serves as a valuable information hub, answering common queries in a well-structured FAQ section.
By anticipating and addressing the questions your customers are likely to have, your website not only saves time (for both you and your customers) but also enhances user experience.
FAQs build confidence in your brand, reduce your workload, and improve overall satisfaction.
5. Showcase Products, Services & Skills
Your website is THE place to showcase your products, services, and skills - it's your digital shop window.
Take the opportunity to highlight the best your business has to offer... not just your skills and services - show off testimonials, qualifications, memberships, awards and more!
6. Support Advertising Campaigns
Whether it's a new product launch, a seasonal sale, or a brand awareness drive, your website provides the infrastructure to host, promote, and track these initiatives. Integrate with various marketing and analytics tools, create targeted landing pages, capture leads, and measure the effectiveness of your campaigns all in real-time!
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7. Take Payments
We've written before about why it's so important to accept card payments. Not only are you saving on hassle and risk, but your customers probably aren't as happy, AND you're missing out on revenue.
Incorporating online payment options on your website is convenient for customers - that's rarely a bad thing. Surely, you want to take payments around the clock, from almost anywhere in the world?
Whether it's a local customer purchasing in the wee hours or someone halfway across the globe, your website is the most cost-effective way to make sure you're always open for business.
8. Integrate with Apps
If you've got this far, you'll probably have got the message - your website is the centre point of your business' digital presence.
Among its advantages is the ability to integrate with other apps. The possibilities stretch far and wide.
Want to take bookings online? Use an app like Booksy.
Want to give people directions to your premises? Show a Google Map.
Want to take payments? Integrate with a powerful tool like Stripe.
Want a chatbot or a place to manage your customer records? Try a market leader like HubSpot.
Want to start an email list? Connect your website to MailerLite.
Powerful integrations, like these, can grow revenue, save time, and reduce risk... they even make people smile (you and your customers!). They are built to solve problems, and help you take advantage of opportunities.
9. Reflect Your Brand
Your website is much more than a collection of pages and links; it's the digital embodiment of your brand's personality and values.
It's where first impressions are formed and brand stories are told. It's not just a home for your logo. Every colour, font choice, and line of copy on your website should be a reflection of who you are as a business.
A well-crafted website ensures that your brand's voice is not just heard, but also felt, creating a memorable experience that resonates with your visitors and sets you apart from the competition.
10. You Own It
Unlike social media platforms where rules and algorithms change at the whim of the platform, your website is your domain, literally.
You do own your website. You have complete control over the content, design, and functionality, allowing you to tailor every aspect to perfectly fit your brand and audience.
Don't leave yourself at the mercy of third-party platforms. You set the rules, you create the experience, and most importantly, you build an asset that grows in value as your business expands.
This level of control and ownership is not just empowering; it's a strategic advantage.
By offering an accessible website, you're not just complying with legal standards; you're showing empathy and consideration for all users.
This includes those with disabilities, using assistive technologies, or even those with temporary impairments.
Ideally, your website should be an inclusive space where everyone has equal access to your services and information. In doing so, you're not only expanding your audience but also reinforcing your brand's commitment to inclusivity and social responsibility.
12. Capture Consent
Consent isn't just a formality; it's the cornerstone of building a trusting relationship with your audience.
This isn't just about adhering to regulations like GDPR; it's about showing your visitors that you value and respect their privacy. By capturing consent the right way, your website not only stays on the right side of the law but also fosters a sense of trust and transparency, encouraging visitors to engage more deeply with your brand.
13. Find Customers That Don't Use Social Media
Not everyone is glued to social media, and habits are constantly changing.
By relying solely on social platforms for your online presence, you're missing out on a significant segment of the market.
Your website acts as a net in the vast ocean of the internet, reaching potential customers who prefer a more traditional online experience or who are wary of social media and all its perils. Don't risk putting all your digital eggs in one basket.
14. Your Competitors Already Have One
In today's digital age, if you don't have a website, you're not just behind the times; you're practically invisible next to your competitors who are already playing the online game.
It's not just about keeping up with the Joneses; it's about ensuring you're not left out of the conversation entirely.
Do You Need a Website if You're Fully Booked?
Well, of course you do.
I wouldn't have written this section if I thought you didn't.
Understandably, we deal with this objection quite a lot, although it's often in the form of a statement like this:
"I don't need a website, I'm already fully booked."
You might already have been convinced that you need a website for the multitude of reasons above. If so, then our work is done - great.
If you're still on the fence, here are the 4 most important advantages you should consider given your scenario:
a) Raise Your Prices
More demand gives you a great opportunity to increase your prices. The more people want to use you, the more you can afford to test price rises.
Test them gradually. As a general rule of thumb, your price is in the right ballpark when around 20% of people think you're too expensive.
b) Save Precious Time
A website saves you time because it answers common questions and qualifies lots of your leads before they get as far as you.
Freeing up time might be your goal, but you can also use the precious minutes to drum up even more business.
c) Improve Profitability
Higher demand allows you to filter through your products and services, and hone in on what makes you happiest - or is more profitable. Take more bookings of the things you like doing, and start winding down those you don't!
d) Level Up
A well-built website often drives enough growth to take you to the next level of your business. Most commonly, that involves expansion into new areas or more staff...sometimes particularly lucrative spin-off services.
What are the Alternatives to a Website?
A website is perhaps the most vital component of your digital presence, but there are other avenues in the digital landscape worth exploring.
Each offers unique benefits, and downsides.
a) Social Media Platforms
For businesses, platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn offer dynamic spaces to engage with audiences, showcase brand personality, and even drive sales directly through social commerce features.
If direct selling is your main game, e-commerce marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, or Etsy can be as effective as setting up shop in a high-traffic shopping centre. These platforms bring the customers right to your virtual doorstep, handling much of the visibility and traffic generation. However, remember, they come with their own set of rules and commission structures.
c) Email Marketing
Email marketing is a personal, direct line to your audience's inbox, ideal for customised promotions, updates, and building ongoing customer relationships. When executed well, email marketing can be a potent tool for nurturing leads and boosting customer loyalty.
d) Google Business Profile
For local businesses, an optimised Google Business Profile is an essential digital billboard on one of the busiest streets in town. It allows you to manage your online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. You can help customers find you more easily, and show off reviews, opening hours, location, and your services.
A phone-only business relies heavily on the personal touch of voice, building relationships through direct conversation. This method suits businesses that thrive on personal connection and can be particularly effective in local or niche markets where a human touch is highly valued. While it severely limits reach and scalability, the personal approach can be quite refreshing.
Each of these can play a potentially valuable part in an effective marketing strategy. But, in nearly all cases, they deliver the best results when used in conjunction with a well-designed website.
How Much Does a Business Website Cost?
The cost of a website can vary significantly based on several factors, including the complexity of your website, the level of customisation, and whether you choose to do it yourself or hire professionals.
Let's explore the key options to give you a clear idea of what to expect.
DIY Website Builders
Common Price Range: £5 to £50 (monthly)
DIY website builders, like Wix and Squarespace, offer a relatively user-friendly solution for business owners looking to create their own websites. They provide a range of templates and drag-and-drop features, making it easy to set up a basic website without technical skills.
Hire a Freelancer
Common Price Range: £250+
Hiring a freelance web developer or designer can be a middle ground between DIY and an agency. Freelancers offer more customisation than DIY builders and can bring a unique touch to your website.
Hire an Agency
Common Price Range: £600+ (one-off) or £40+ (monthly)
Web design agencies provide professional services with a team of experts in design, development, and sometimes content creation and SEO. They handle everything from concept to launch and maintenance, and are optimised for performance and growth.
What Else Affects The Cost of a Website?
When getting a quote for your website, or thinking about its requirements, bear in mind that these factors will impact your quote:
- Customisation Level & Size: More pages normally increase costs, as do bespoke designs and unique features.
- E-commerce Capability: Integrating e-commerce functionality, like shopping carts and secure payment systems, adds complexity and cost.
- Domain, Hosting & Updates: The choice of hosting provider and domain registration can impact costs. Regular maintenance for security, updates, and content changes can also incur ongoing fees.
- Content Creation and Management: Professional copywriting, multimedia content, and content management systems (CMS) can add to the cost.
- SEO & Content Strategy: Implementing an effective SEO strategy and creating quality content are crucial for your website's visibility and performance but add to the cost.
- Third-Party Integrations: Adding tools or services, like customer relationship management (CRM) systems, or social media integrations can increase costs.
A website is no longer a luxury; it's a necessity. From generating demand to building credibility, from showcasing your offerings to capturing and converting leads, a website is the most indispensable tool in your business arsenal. It's your digital handshake, your 24/7 shopfront, and your most effective salesperson, all rolled into one.
While there are cheaper alternatives, e.g. social media, none offer the same level of control, customisation, and reach as a dedicated website. Your investment is often quickly outweighed by the immense value and opportunities a website brings.
So, whether you're a startup taking your first steps or an established business looking to expand your digital footprint, your website is likely to become the lungs of your business.
Embrace it, invest in it, and watch your business thrive.
About Tom Irving
With a background in FinTech, Tom has 20+ years of experience taking ideas from concept to reality. Having originally honed his skills as a Business Analyst, he went on to lead successful Product Management and Marketing teams. He's always enjoyed solving problems using tech, spanning a wide range of companies, from NASDAQ-listed enterprises to London startups.