Recently I was asked, ‘Ben, my business is small. It’s just me, one employee, sometimes I have a couple of contractors. And I don’t feel my service can really be sold online. Do I really need a website?’ Now that’s a really great question, and it’s one of the most important, most frequently asked questions I get from a lot of small business people. Should your business have a website, even if it’s just a small business and you think you sell something that can’t be bought online? My answer? Yes, without a shadow of a doubt!
Any and Every Business should be online
I think every business should have a website, no questions asked, period, without a doubt, simply because so many people are looking online these days for products and services. Plus, it’s narrow-minded to say your service cannot be sold online. Nowadays there’s very little that can’t be sold online. There’s millions and millions of people who are buying online, and they’re purchasing everything from eBooks to cars to just about anything. In fact, if it can be sold, someone will figure out how to sell it online.
Everyone is looking online
Now to be clear, I’m not saying to put all your eggs in one basket selling on the Internet. You'll have to have other, traditional marketing and sales practices in place. But the point I want to make is you should, at the very least, have a presence on the web so customers, employees, current and potential, even suppliers, etc. can quickly and easily find out more about you and the products and services you have to offer. That said, it’s not enough that you just have a website. You must have a professional-looking site if you want to be taken seriously.
They've done research that shows us 80% of people search for information online, and they do that prior to making any purchase decision from a shop or a service business. Your site may well be the first spot a potential buyer visits or goes, and you only get one first impression, so it better be a good one. If your site looks like crap, chances are, your first impression is not going to be great. I’m sure you get the picture. If you’ve been to a website that didn't work very well or didn't present very well, I’m sure you would relate to that.
Compete with bigger companies
Now one of the great things about the Internet is it has made it easy for your small business to project the image of a much bigger and larger company. So you look larger, more professional by being on the Internet. You may have a small business, but when it comes to benefiting from a website, size doesn't matter. I don’t care if you’re a one man show or a huge business, if you don’t have a website, you’re losing business to your competition. Your website is a very important part of your marketing plan, and you need to make sure that you have one.
5 tips to an effective website
So I’m going to give you my five tips for making sure you’ve got a good website:
First of all, make it easy to navigate: It’s no good making it difficult to get around. If it’s difficult for your potential clients to navigate through your website, you’re going to lose their interest very, very quickly.
Second tip, make it dynamic: What that means is you update it regularly. I see too many sites that have outdated info, and it’s just plain stupid. It’s showing the public you don’t get stuff done and you’re not interested in updating your website. It’s not a great message to show your potential customer.
Third tip, capture email addresses: Have an offer so people can leave their email details, or any details for you. This can be a free download or it can be to be notified of the latest deals, etc., but just make sure you have some way of capturing the details of people who visit.
Forth tip, Responsive Design: Make sure that your website is responsive. What that means is that it works on every device, iPhones, tablets, or anything like that.
My final tip, make it interactive or interesting: Time is of the essence. We’re all time poor, everyone is looking for a way to save time. If your content can be consumed by video or audio, you'll get a better result on your website.
So there you go. If you have a small business and you don’t have a website, my suggestion, get one!
About the Author
Ben Fewtrell is a sought-after Business Coach, Keynote Speaker and trainer who has featured in Virgin’s Inflight Magazine and Entertainment Portal, SKY Business and “Secrets of Top Business Builders Exposed”. He is also the host of the popular Business Brain Food Podcast where he interviews leading experts on anything and everything business.