Your business may not need a website. If you are happy with your market share, if you have no expansion plans, if business comes your way via word-of-mouth, and if your online competitors cause you no concern, you probably don’t need a website. This doesn’t describe our business, and if it doesn’t describe yours either, you probably need a website.
There are 1.5 billion reasons to consider launching a website, but 10 is a more manageable number, so here they are: 10 reasons to launch a website.
To give your business an online presence
Almost 75% of North Americans (that’s 250 million people) use the Internet. Worldwide, over 1.5 billion people are “logging on” 1. They may not all be in your target market, but with an online presence, your message has the potential to reach over a billion people.
To market your products and service
A website is the perfect venue for showcasing your products and services. A website is a brochure, ad, business card and billboard all rolled into one. Depending on how interactive your site is, you may even be able to sell your products and services directly from your site.
To offer better customer service
With a website, you are open for business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Your site can detail your products, services, prices, and business hours, and with a single mouse click, your customers can send you an email or post a message on your site.
To keep your customers up-to-date
Things change. Businesses change. Prices, product offerings, hours of operation, contact information; all of these things change. A website is flexible, so it can also change, and it can do so quickly.
To save money
Yes, there are development and maintenance costs associated with launching a website, but compared to more traditional forms of advertising – TV, radio, newspaper, magazine, telemarketing, direct mail, etc. – launching a website is relatively inexpensive.
To make your advertising more dynamic
Changing printed advertising can be costly and may be impossible post-production. With a website, however, you can make changes almost instantly. It’s never too late to correct an error or launch a new product or service. If you know a little html or use a content management system, you can even maintain your own site, saving more time and money.
To save a tree
One website certainly won’t save the environment. But you might save a tree. A useful business website can dramatically reduce your need for direct mail, newspaper ads and business cards.
To reach a new market
Your website can be customized to target any market. If you want to concentrate on a local, national or a global market, you can do so with a website. If you want to attract scuba divers, quilters, mountain bikers, new parents or members of any other niche, a website is a great way to showcase your expertise to your chosen market.
Does your competitor have a website? Your clients may be finding your competitor’s site when they search online. And if your competitors don’t have sites, now is your chance to gain some momentum.
To gather information
What do site visitors think of your company, your products or your customer service? What would they like you to change? If you want to know something, use an online poll or survey to gather information. Also, check your site analytics to find out exactly how many people are visiting your site and which pages they are reading.
And because 10 is really just an arbitrary number, I’m going to share point #11 which happens to be just as important, if not more so, as the first 10:
You get one chance to make a first impression
If someone searches for your business online and cannot find it, you’ve made a first impression – but not a good one. Don’t be afraid to invest some time and energy into launching a successful, professional website. It may very well be the first impression you make.