I’ve been binge-watching ‘The West Wing’ on Netflix recently. Yep, I know it ended in 2006. I’m late to the party. Better late than never! I’m currently watching season three and very much enjoying it (and if anyone drops a spoiler I swear I will jinx you such that you will lose one sock of every pair you own!)
Anyway, in one of the episodes I was watching recently CJ, the press secretary, is giddy with delight at a political rival’s terrible response to a very simple question: ‘Why do you want to be President?’. The candidate stumbles awkwardly over an ill-prepared answer. CJ revels in schadenfreude until she realises that her boss, the incumbent President, doesn’t have a well-prepared answer either.
What’s that got to do with me and why I’m writing this? Well, as a web designer I build websites for small businesses so its easy for me to assume that everyone can appreciate the benefits of a website for their business. Indeed I assume that I will be able to concisely articulate those benefits if put on the spot. Hmm. Well, just in case consider this my dress-rehearsal so that I’ll have a great answer ready should you ask.
So here, neatly packaged for you, are nine really good reasons why your business should have a website:
1. Online or Bust
If your business doesn’t have a professional website it is not accessible to a huge audience of potential clients or customers. Google is the first port of call for many people when contemplating purchasing a product or service. Whether its coffee or a kitchen extension, many people start their search online. If your business isn’t online it isn’t in the running. Everyone else is doing it may not be a good enough reason to do many things in life but when it comes to being online you can’t afford not to be online too. Even if you’re not online its a safe bet that your competitors are.
2. Great Return on Investment
I’ve met business owners who assumed that a website would be beyond their means. Not so! Sure, you can spend as much as you like on a website, just like buying a car. You can have a custom-coded Ferrari of a website. But, in all likelihood you’ll probably find that you don’t need a Ferrari of a website. And you might be surprised to learn that you can get a professional, customised and responsive (mobile-friendly) business website up and running for less that €1000. Considering the size of the audience of potential clients and customers that that investment would open up to you, that has the potential for a huge return on your investment.
3. Managing Your Message
Yes, you could have just a Facebook Page but there are more than a few reasons why this might not be a good idea (as I’ve written in ‘Facebook and Firewalls‘ and ‘Failing to Reach on Facebook’). Apart from getting stuck behind corporate firewalls and not appearing in your followers’ news feeds, you ultimately do not have control over how you and your business is presented online and to whom. Don’t get me wrong, Facebook is a fantastic tool for reaching people you might not otherwise reach and for establishing and nurturing great customer and client relationships. However, consider it a supplement to and not a substitute for a professional website. Like the advice on your daily multivitamin: this is not a substitute for a healthy diet and lifestyle.
4. The Great Leveler
The internet is the great leveler. Online you can compete head-to-head with big business competitors on a level playing field. With a well-designed, easy to use, professional website you can make a great first impression.
5. Shine Online
Your website is your opportunity to set out your stall and proclaim your offering to a potentially huge audience. You can really shine online. Your website is your opportunity to showcase your product or service in a much richer way than on other media. With galleries, video, customer testimonials, FAQ and detailed product descriptions you can demonstrate the benefits of your product or service to a wide audience and show them what sets your business apart.
6. Finding Your Niche
If your product is in any way specialised or niche, a website is a great way to reach a much, much larger niche audience. You sell free-range yak yarn for lace-making? You’ll be able to reach many more yak lace makers online than relying on yak lace makers passing your shopfront. Even better, you can pair your website with a small investment in online marketing to reach yak yarn lace makers around the globe if you so wish. Domination of the global yak yarn market could be within your grasp! Your market may not be as specialised as yak lace yarn at first glance but you might be specialist in other ways. For example you might be the only 24-hour emergency plumber in your locality. Your website allows you to reach out directly to your particular market.
7. Always On Technology
Speaking of 24-hour emergency plumbers, a website, it goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway), is always on. So your clients and customers can find you and can learn about your products and services at any time. Your website can be your star sales rep, always available to promote you and your business to interested clients and customers.
8. The Latest and Greatest
A website is considerably quicker, easier and cheaper to keep up-to-date on your business’ latest news, products and offers than other media such as print brochures, billboards or other signage. Its a flexible medium that allows you to respond to changes in your business or client requirements more quickly and much more cheaply than other media.
9. Time Saver (For Everyone)
Through a website you can provide details about your business to your clients without dealing with time-consuming calls and emails. For instance, you’re my favourite coffee shop and I want to know if you’re open on Sundays. It takes me seconds to check this on your website on my phone. It saves me the effort and cost of a call (have you noticed that people are more and more reluctant to dial if they can find the information online instead?) and saves you fielding that call so you can focus on making great coffee for your customers. With more sophisticated features such as booking engines, you can even automate some processes that otherwise take up more time for both you and your customer. Everyone’s a winner!
So, have I convinced you? Any questions? Get in touch.
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Based in Dublin, I provide a range of professional digital marketing services to Dublin businesses. From new websites to website audits, UX research to comprehensive digital marketing strageies, I can help you create an effective professional online presence for your business.