If you have any hope of achieving business success in our increasingly digital world, it is important to establish a web presence. Sure, social media profiles and a Google My Business listing are a start but to solidify your legitimacy and grow your brand and business, you need to establish an online “home base” and the only real way to do that is through a website! It may feel like an unnecessary expense or something that is too complicated for you to manage but we are here to tell you otherwise!
Why You Need a Website for Your Business
Here are just a few reasons why your business needs a website:
1. Grow your brand
How much of your target market actually knows that you exist? A website gives potential customers a place to go to learn more about you and allows you to position yourself as the response to a problem or need.
2. Establish Trust
A website can help convey to your potential customers that you are, in fact, a legitimate business. The modern buyer is savvy and they want to know about your expertise and your products or services. Let them know where you are located or that you’ve been in the industry for a while. If you are new to the industry, a website can fill visitors in on why you chose this space and what sets you apart from the competition. If you have user or customer reviews, share them on your site. 91% of consumers between the ages of 18 and 34 trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Reviews provide social proof and show potential customers exactly why they should spend their money with you.
3. Improve Organic Search Traffic
An established website allows you to gain traffic from search engines. If people are looking for information, a specific product, or a solution to a particular problem, the keywords you use on your site will lead search engines to offer your site in response to the user query. Web pages and blog posts are great places to use relevant keywords.
4. Sell Products or Services
Even if you have a brick-and-mortar location, you can still use your website to sell products or services online through an eCommerce platform or to promote the items that you sell in-store. A virtual store may supplement, or even surpass, in-store sales.
5. Educate the Audience
A business website will allow you to educate your audience. You can supply regular industry news and updates, company news, product updates, product uses, or general information relative to your industry. Not everything you write or post needs to be related directly to your business. If you sell event planning software, for example, write blog posts that share tips for school fundraisers or unique catering ideas for a professional conference. The idea is to draw people to your site by providing the information they want. This will solve the visitor’s problem, establish you as a knowledgeable authority, and potentially lead them to explore your product.
6. Leverage Social Media
Social media platforms are great for spreading brand awareness. Create profile pages on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, if appropriate. Use these platforms to keep your audience engaged and up to date. Share your blog posts to your social media platforms to direct people to your site. Again, this is another avenue to generate excitement and establish legitimacy. Those elements are much easier to carry out when you are directing clicks to your own site and not that of the competition.
Tips for Starting a Business Website
Now that you know WHY you need a business website, here are some tips to help you start building one:
1. Secure a Domain Name
Your URL, or domain, is one of the most important elements of your website. Choose a name that is:
- Easy to spell
- Related to your business
- Without numbers or hyphens if possible
- Broad in scope, in case your business expands over time (e.g. You don’t want shoesforkids.com if you grow into selling products other than shoes for kids).
Once you have determined the domain name you want, use a domain registrar to see if it is available. If it is, buy it up so it’s yours!
2. Secure a Host
A web host is a server that stores all of the data for your public website. For most businesses, doing it yourself is too costly so you will want to find someone to do it for you. A company like Digital Ocean can handle the hosting for you. Or use a no-code website builder like Webflow or Weblium.
3. Set Up Your Pages
To be effective, your business website needs to be more than just a single homepage. Before you start creating pages, think carefully about the purpose or goal of your site. What is the message you are trying to convey? Each page needs to convey that message in the same voice. Each page needs to read like it belongs to the same site. Once you have established your purpose, you can set up your home page, your company “about us” page, a blog or resources page for updates and information, product or service pages, and a contact us page. If you are familiar with web design you can build the site yourself. If you are unfamiliar or do not have the time or resources to devote to it at the moment, consider hiring someone to do it for you (like we did).
4. Choose an E-commerce or Payment Platform
If you are planning to sell products or services through your business website you will need an e-commerce or payment platform. Integrating this sort of platform is relatively easy so don’t be overwhelmed by the idea. Many hosting services will have built-in shopping carts or easy options for platform integrations.
5. Market Your Site
Let people know about your new business website on your social media channels. Include links to these profiles on your website as well. You will find that there is something of a reciprocal relationship between your website and social media. People will come to your site from your profiles, and people will follow your profiles from your site. This is exactly what you want. Make sure that the site is making use of proper meta descriptions, title tags, and relevant keywords. This will ensure that your page is indexed properly and shows up in the appropriate searches.
6. Update Content Frequently
It is not enough to publish your website and walk away. To keep your audience engaged, you will need to keep your content fresh. At the very least, work out a regular blogging schedule. Search engines love it when you post new content and your audience will too! These days, having a storefront or a listing in the Yellow Pages is simply not enough. To best reach your audience, gain new customers, retain previous customers, and grow your brand, you need a business website. By following the tips laid out above, you can publish a live site and start earning more money!