We get this question a surprising amount, and I get it. With old school word of mouth or modern social media, is a website really necessary? We would say it absolutely is! And here are our 5 reasons why.
1. Expand your customer base with a website.
Let’s get the most obvious reason out of the way first - people build websites to grow their customer base. More and more, people are relying on an online presence to make their buying decisions. Don’t believe me? A recent study found that over 80% of consumers research a business or service before making a purchase decision. This trend is true even when someone is referred to your business. “Word of mouth” is quickly being replaced with sharing websites and digital profiles.
Not having a website could very well mean excluding 4/5 potential new customers. It’s a failure to launch on a huge scale.
2. Provide answers to commonly asked questions on your website.
Ok, but what if I don’t need more customers? First off, congratulations! That’s an awesome place to be, but let’s make you more efficient. A website is more than just attracting new business - it’s also to provide information and give existing users a great experience. A website and digital profiles should answer basic questions - what are your hours? your phone number? your address? what do you do or sell? These are all answers your website can provide. It can also save you time (and money) but not having to answer frequently asked questions by having all that information consolidated in one place - your website!
Another common reason why we recommend a website is to control the type of clientele you’re getting. We’ve worked with companies who have lots of business, but lament that they’re spending too much time vetting unqualified leads or they get clients that don’t match up to the type of businesses they’re running. If you’re looking for high end, luxury clients and your online presence is a Yelp listing with three mediocre reviews and a Facebook page you last updated in 2016 - that says something about you.
More importantly - you CONTROL the information that is on your site. Don’t let the one bad Yelp review or the random YellowPages listing be the only presence you have online.
3. Control your business’s first impression with a website.
Speaking of bad Yelp reviews, don’t let that be your customers’ first impression either! Make sure that your online presence accurately represents your branding, service/product, and company values.
It’s not enough to just have a web presence, but people are making judgments based on the design of your website as well. In fact, 3 out of 4 people admit to judging a company’s credibility based on the website design. There’s a lot to unpack in a first impression - who is this company? what do they do/sell? are they trustworthy? Those are all judgments people are making with in the first 10 seconds of visiting your site. Not only will a bad website (or no website) not help your first impression, it could very well negatively impact it!. Over half of the people surveyed said they wouldn’t trust a business without a website.
4.Stop losing customers to your competition’s website.
Still not convinced? Maybe you’re in an industry that hasn’t moved online as a whole so you feel like you don’t have to either. Well, that might be changing. You might not feel the pressure to have a great website up yet - but that pressure is coming, wouldn’t you rather be ahead of it? More businesses than ever are amping up their digital presence, thanks in no small part to the 2020 Covid-19 virus. A recent survey found that 29% of small businesses plan on launching websites this year.
As people are more reluctant to leave their homes, businesses have had to move to digital mediums to service their clientele. It might not be enough to just have a website either, it’s more important than ever to not only have a website but make sure that your website experience is user friendly, fast and mobile-friendly as more people are looking to engage with companies online.
5. Don’t hide your business by not having a website.
Almost half of the people search for Google goods or services near them, even if they don’t mean to. Google’s algorithm will generally return local searches as it assumes that people care more about results that are close to them. This means local businesses with websites and Google My Business accounts ellipse businesses with no location-specific digital presence. It’s the modern-day equivalent of setting up shop but not having any exterior signage.
Ok, but now what?
Do a quick Google search for “build a website” and you’ll be overwhelmed by the options. From budget-friendly “diy” template platforms like SquareSpace and Wix to digital agencies offering fully custom designed and coded options that can easily run north of $10,000 (trust me, I used to build those!). Let Larkspur help by contacting us today. Or learn more about the different website building options in our “How much do websites cost?” blog.