Do I need a website for my business?
If you’ve been considering whether to set up a website for your business, this post should convince you that YES! you owe it to your business. Whether your business is service or product based, a simple, branded, secure and mobile responsive website, with clear, readable content will be one of the most valuable investments and assets to your business.
Why does my business need a website?
When was the last time you opened up the yellow pages or the phone directory? No one does that anymore.
The first thing people do is grab their smartphone and type ‘local reiki healer’ or ‘London business coach’ or whatever, into Google. Then they browse the list of results, and click on the link that stands out as offering what they’re looking for.
It is true that word of mouth still goes a long way, but in general, people find stuff online.
So you HAVE to be online too. But it needn’t be complicated.
Let’s take a look at why your website is so important . . .
More reasons why you need a website for your business
People are likely to find you from a Google search. They are not going to be impressed if all you have is a Facebook account. Because it doesn’t come across as professional.
TIP: Your Facebook business page is linked to your personal account so you must ensure your personal page is also professional – no drunken photos, bad language, or dodgy content.
‘But I get my work from word of mouth.’
OK, but what if this work dried up? What if you were ill and had to take time out then start all over again? Imagine all of the hundreds of potential customers out there who could find you by a simple Google search?
According to research, 30 PERCENT OF CONSUMERS WON’T CONSIDER A BUSINESS WITHOUT A WEBSITE!
A great website is more than just a ‘thing‘ you have to have. It can act as your sales brochure to demonstrate your:
~ Credibility and professionalism,
~ Dedication to your business
~ Expertise and knowledge
. . .and most importantly, how you help people.
It’s also your ‘shop front’, where people will get a feel for you and your services. More on that later.
A word about search engine optimisation (SEO)
SEO is about putting the right information in front of the people searching for this information.
By creating great online content (the words and pictures you use on your website and social media pages) you increase the chances of your site appearing on the first page of Google search results.
This is an important thing to include in your overall online strategy but it does not guarantee success, it takes time, and people often get tangled up and confused by it.
Let’s leave that for now – I’ll write more about SEO in another blog post.
Get it right, or people will click away
Why your business website needs 'kerb appeal'
Do you recall the last time you viewed a property to buy or rent? Before you even entered the property, I’ll wager you had a gut feeling about the place. As soon as you stepped inside, your initial feelings were probably an instant yes or an instant no.
A website is the same.
Smart home sellers (and estate agents!) know that they need to focus on the buyer’s perception of the house when preparing and presenting the house for viewings. When getting the house ready for sale, you do your DIY, you tidy and clean, you might even go so far as to put on some fresh coffee, buy some cut flowers, and so on. You have to de clutter and de-personalise, so you remove personal mementos and photographs, making the house as inviting as possible, whilst also creating a clean and inviting ‘blank canvas’ so that people can imagine themselves living there.
In the same way, your website needs to focus mainly on your prospective customers’ problems, needs and desires. It shouldn’t all be about you. It’s about them. Even your ‘About’ page should focus on how you help to solve people’s problems.
You must ensure your homepage has ‘kerb appeal’ or people will click away.
Why your website is your shop front
It doesn’t matter whether you have a simple one page website, or a fancy online store, your website still needs to look professional, welcoming and clearly express what your business is about.
If you’re a serviced-based business without physical products or an online store, you still need an online shop front.
The graphic I’ve created demonstrates the difference between a shabby, cluttered ‘shop front’ and a clean, bright, warm and welcoming one.
One is a car parts shop the other …well, what is it? (It’s a gift shop, but it could be a cafe.)
The shabby car parts shop actually has a much clearer identity but the gift shop looks SO much more inviting.
We need a mix of both of these things.
What do you need to create a website from scratch?
The graphic illustrates the 3 key elements you need, which are domain, hosting, and platform.
Each stage can be a little technical, but once the domain, hosting, and platform are linked up, you’re in business, and can begin customising your shop front and adding content.
Which platform and host?
It all depends on what your business needs, and how confident you are at doing it all yourself. There are loads of DIY platforms out there. Through experience and research, the two I use and recommend are:
WordPress.org has the most functionality and is recommended for businesses with more complex needs, such as an online store or a membership site.
Squarespace.com is also great and has some gorgeous DIY templates. Hosting is included, making it a more expensive option overall.
Another platform to consider is Kajabi. It has everything you need all built in, and includes your website, landing pages, email marketing, online courses and loads more.
With WordPress, you’ll need to organise your hosting and Siteground is among the best.
There are many others:
Siteground is easy to use, very secure, and offers great value for money and customer service.
But it’s up to you!
Remember, your home page should clearly tell people;
~ What you do
~ How you help them
~ How they can get in touch.
A great website will have these 3 elements in place:
LOOK and FEEL – the ‘kerb appeal’ to ensure people stay and read
CONTENT – the words and pictures to convey a story/feeling. How do your services or products address your client’s needs? Read more about how to write website copy here.
CALL TO ACTION – what do people need to do to buy from you?
How it all fits together
Spend some time in your visitors’ shoes. If they’re on the home page, where do they go next? What if they land first on your About page? Where do they go from there?
You need to think about the flow of your site, and map out the pages and how they link up. What does each page do and what is its role? Is it to share information, encourage a sign up, or to book an appointment?
I hope you now see why your business definitely needs a website. I appreciate that this is a HUGE subject and I hope I have broken it down and explained the basics for you. And if you do nothing else, ensure your site has these fundamental elements:
~ What you do
~ How you help them
~ How they can get in touch.
How to be more visible online
About the author
Jackie Salmon is an email marketing expert, Kajabi specialist and web designer based in the North East of England. She loves to support 'people who help people' and works with coaches, therapists and consultants, helping them to market their services and products online.