Updated: Jan 21
The need for a website has become more critical now than ever before. Scenarios such as the COVID-19 pandemic have made it very difficult for businesses to continue operating and serving their customers. The businesses that don’t have a website have found this the hardest and many have forced to close.
Websites act as your shop front, provide your customers with information and offer them a way to purchase. In this article, I am going to assess the reasons why every small business should have a website. If you already have a website you might find some useful pointers that you could apply to your site so there is value for everyone in this week’s article.
Solution for businesses during the pandemic
The first point I wanted to touch on in this article is the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the most important and most relevant as it is the situation that we all face at this moment in time.
As I mentioned earlier, the pandemic has forced many small businesses to close, especially those that were not equipped to deal with customers digitally (without a website). Since the beginning of lockdown, it has become a lot clearer that going digital is the way forward if they want their business to survive and thrive.
During the pandemic, lockdown and social distancing has prevented customers from interacting with businesses in person and people could no longer visit their favourite shops and restaurants etc. This situation has made the importance of websites ever more important. Websites offer customers a way to engage and purchase from your business where ever they happen to be which is perfect for a situation such as COVID-19. However, in a scenario like this, creating a website is not enough and some businesses will have to consider altering their whole operations process to cope. For example, if you are not in a position to deliver your products directly to your customer then it will be difficult to get the most from your website. It is worth reviewing your processes so that you can offer your products and services through your website as it will make your business more resilient to events that may occur in the future.
One of the largest bonuses to having a website is the added exposure it brings to your business. There are multiple ways you can achieve this increased exposure but they all require time and effort so this is not an instant win.
The first way to increase traffic to your website is through SEO. For those who don’t know, SEO stands for search engine optimisation. This is the process of optimising your website so that it ranks higher in the Google Search Results for search queries that are relevant to your business. SEO is one of the most organic ways to grow traffic and exposure for your website but it takes a long time to see results and the process of SEO is very technical so you may need to hire an expert.
Alternatively, you might want to take a paid approach by using Google Adwords. Google Adwords allows you to bid for keywords and keyword phrases so that your website will appear higher in the search results. This method is much easier and you can get results a lot faster which is perfect if you have just recently set up your website.
Finally, websites give you the opportunity to be featured on blogs and influencer pages. There are thousands of blogs on the internet meaning there will be someone writing about the niche that your business operates in. If you can identify an influencer or blogger writing about your niche, you could encourage them to promote your website as part of one of their articles and this is a very easy way to gain credible exposure for your website and business.
Get more customers
Research has found that 63% of shopping begins online with an estimation of 1.8 billion people making their final purchase over the internet. Taking this into account, it is clear to see why businesses are switching from physical stores to online stores. If you are looking for a way to cut costs, you might want to consider using a website as your shop front and leaving the physical store behind.
Having a website in place will guarantee you more customers especially if you are looking to expand your influence nationally or globally. Creating a website not only gains you more awareness, it also opens your business up to larger markets.
Having a website in place also allows you to build an online sales funnel which is a significant part of finding more customers. You can use platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Google Adwords to direct traffic to your website and then bring them into a sales funnel. Tools like Cookies and Facebook Pixel allow you to track visitors to your website so that you can then re-target them as part of your funnel. Each of these steps helps you increase conversion and get more customers but this wouldn’t be possible without a website in place.
Don’t worry about being able to take payments through your website, there are many easy tools to support you. Some of the best tools include; Shopify, WooCommerce, Stripe and Wix and they can all be used to either build your website or start accepting payments.