“Do I need a website for my business?” I’ll skip right to the answer: If you’re running a business today, there are no two ways about it — You’ve got to have a website. With billions of online searches happening each day and billions of daily users on social media platforms, if you don’t have an online presence, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to get discovered by new potential customers.
You can no longer skate by without an online presence – or with one that’s outdated or based around your social media sites alone.
In this post, we’ll go over why your business needs a website and how you can get started creating a great one.
5 reasons your business needs a website
So, why do you really need a business website? I’ve got five reasons for you here:
1. It’s the hub for your business
Your website is the one place on the internet that’s truly all about you. Sure, you can (and should!) create profiles on social media or manage your business on local listings sites, but none of these sites paint a complete picture of your business.
Even a site like Facebook, where you can build out a pretty complete profile, is not a substitute for your own website.
Here’s an example of a business’s website vs. their Facebook page. You can get a better sense of their business and learn more about them from their website.
As you can see from the example, you can’t fully brand your page on another site–even Facebook. When you’re on another platform, the formatting and layout are dictated to you by their site. When you create your own website, all of the colors, images, and content are about you. Plus, you can organize and arrange information, images, and video to tell your story in the most impactful way possible.
But, maybe most importantly, creating your own website gives you ownership over your online presence, your content, your images, and your branding. You’re not at the whim of the social media platform–you’re in control!
Speaking of branding your website…find out how to write the best business description!
2. A business website is the foundation for all your marketing
Because having your own website allows you total control over how you tell your story, your website becomes the basis for all other marketing efforts online. The ads you create, the social media profiles you establish, and the local listings you manage should all drive users back to your website. And what you have on your website will shape the way you share information through each of these other channels.
For example, let’s say you want to start a paid search campaign to draw attention to your new product launch. Without a website, there’s nowhere for you to send people who click on your ad!
With a comprehensive site, however, you can build a customized and high-converting landing page specifically for searchers who click on that ad. The page can highlight all the features of the new product and allow your audience to get on the waitlist.
3. It helps you keep track of your audience
There are hundreds of ways for consumers to find out about your business these days. They might find you through your marketing efforts on various channels, or they may happen upon your business’s name in a blog post from an influencer who’s recommending your brand.
No matter where they find out about you, though, you want all roads to lead to your website. Driving traffic to a centralized location gives you a greater chance of capturing information about your prospects and customers and keeping it all in one place. A tracking tool like our Client Center integrates with your online assets and allows you to see exactly where people are coming from.
Screenshot from LOCALiQ Client Center
As you drive visitors to your website, you’ll see patterns emerge in other marketing channels. Is there one channel that seems to generate a lot of traffic? Maybe it’s time to focus more attention and spend on that avenue.
4. A website puts you in the driver’s seat on the customer journey
When you’re creating a path from discovery to first purchase for your customers, you need to tell them what you expect them to do along the way. Maybe you create an ad campaign to drive awareness, have some introductory promotions along the way, and are hoping this all leads to an eventual purchase once the consumer is able to try your product. But if you don’t make that path clear, they won’t know to follow it!
Without a proper website in place, you don’t have the power to guide the customer journey and instead are left hoping that they find a path to conversion on their own.
5. It can help you stand out from the competition
While a website is a must in today’s digital world, the fact is that not all small businesses have invested in one. Your website can help you stand out from other local businesses that either don’t have a website or don’t have a website that’s user-friendly or enticing.
A well-designed website that clearly showcases your products or services, your unique brand story, and works to establish your business as an authority in your industry, can help you win over customers and stand out from your local competitors.
Already have a website? See how it stacks up to the competition with the LOCALiQ Grader!
5 basic elements your business website needs to have
Speaking of standing out…If you’re going to stand out, you need a great website. But, what makes a good website? It needs to be user-friendly, look great, and provide you with a way to capture leads and win business.
Here are the five elements any good website needs to have.
1. A good business website is mobile-friendly
In 2020, Google announced mobile-first indexing for all sites, meaning they base search result performance on mobile, not desktop, websites. If you want to do well in Google results, it pays to be mobile-friendly.
But beyond that, mobile is increasingly the first place consumers turn for search. Nearly 60% of all searches now begin on mobile devices, so it’s critical your mobile site loads quickly, looks great in a small format, and is easy to navigate.
2. A good website includes a value proposition
Once visitors land on your site, you want to make it easy for them to discover what you do and what separates you from your competitors. A value proposition is a way to do this.
A great value proposition is short and sweet. It tells consumers who you are, what you do, and why they should do business with you. Basically, it should tell them everything they need to know about your business quickly and efficiently.
Your value proposition can also present part of your business story and help you build a connection with prospective customers. And, if you’re looking for some inspiration or guidance in writing your value proposition, check out this infographic (complete with several examples from real websites!).
3. A good website implements lead capture methods
Once you’ve written a stellar value proposition, you want to follow it with a call to action. A button below your value proposition inviting consumers to learn more, sign up, or get started is a great way to begin to capture leads.
Beyond the call to action on your homepage, you should include a different button — or a form for customers to fill out — on each subsequent page of your website. These offers should be tailored to the content you have on each respective page and might include offers to sign up for your newsletter, get your free ebook or infographic, or talk to a sales representative to learn more.
This business has multiple lead capture methods at the very top of their homepage.
And, with lead capture methods, you’ll also want to make sure you have a robust lead management system in place to help you triage all your leads in one place.
Related: Get more small business website design tips from the experts.
4. A good website builds authority through content
Even with a great website, some consumers might not be ready to do business with you right away. They need to trust your business before they sign on the dotted line.
That’s where a smart content marketing program comes in. Creating web content—whether in the form of blog posts, podcast episodes, or a video series—is a great way to establish your business as a thought leader and build authority.
Don’t create content solely with the sale in mind. Focus on producing content that is meaningful for consumers. Share your expertise, and make your site their go-to spot on the internet for information related to your field or industry.
This business created an FAQ page about lawn care as a resource and to build authority and credibility.
Even if this doesn’t result in a sale right away, be a trusted source of useful information by turning out helpful content on a regular schedule. When that consumer does need goods or services in your industry, guess who they’ll be turning to? (Hint: It’s you.)
5. A good website displays contact information
This one may sound silly, but you’d be shocked by the number of websites that don’t clearly state their business’s address, phone, or email. If you’ve done a great job on the other four steps above, why shouldn’t a consumer want to reach out and do business with you?
If you bury your contact information deep on a back page of your website, they’re not going to go digging for it. Instead, they’ll turn to one of your competitors who makes it easier to get in touch.
Display your contact information in the footer or header on every single page of your website. That way, no matter where a consumer is, it’s easy for them to reach out to either ask a question or make a purchase.
Get started with your small business website
Your business is facing some stiff competition out there on the web. If you want to give yourself a chance at standing out, you not only need a website, but you need a website that is inviting, shares what you do, and makes it easy for consumers to learn more or reach out. If you need help building a great site, check out our website design services.