Why is a website important?

If you’re wondering what all the hype is about for having an up-to-date, well-designed, easy-to-use, mobile-friendly website, you’re not alone. Many reports point to data that says as many as 50% of current small businesses do not have a website. Many more have websites that are mere afterthoughts, with cheap graphics and outdated information. So, it is a fair question: why does your business need a website? For a moment, let’s bypass the fact that 85% of consumers search online for a local businesses and let’s talk about some of the many reasons why small business owners believe they don’t need a website.

Three Reasons You Think You Don't Need a Website

My business is well established and referral based

 7 out of 10 people say they put as much weight on online reviews as they do on personal referrals and 5 out of 10 consumers say they are more likely to do business with a local company that has a positive online reputation.

My business has an older demographic who do not use the internet

According to a 2014 Pew Research poll, 59% of adults over the age of 65 use the internet on a regular basis. A large portion of this population is also using smartphones and social media. The idea that older demographics are not tech savvy simply no longer holds true.

My current marketing efforts are drawing in new customers

Great! Don’t stop what is working. However, data shows that leads brought in through your website have a 14.6% close rate, whereas outbound marketing, such as direct mail and print advertising, only has a 1.7% close rate.

85% of consumers search online for a local business

OK, so now let’s get back to the fact that 85% of consumers search online for a local business. Today, many consumers won’t even do business with a company that does not have a website. This becomes even truer for service providers (i.e. handymen, contractors, locksmiths, insurance agents, childcare providers, etc.). They see a web presence as proof to the legitimacy of the business. Again, I have to stress the point that 85% of consumers search online for a local business. If you’re not online, there is no getting around the fact that you’re only reaching, at best, 25% of your potential customer/client base.

OK, so I need a website…but what’s wrong with free, cheap, or a do-it-yourself website? After all, I think my son, nephew, granddaughter, or the teen next door could build me a website. Why do I need a professional?

There is a strong belief among many that young people all automatically have an innate ability to build websites. The confusion comes from the false belief that understanding technology is the same thing as understanding the psychology, strategies, and techniques of effective web design. Anyone who knows how to use a pencil can also understand the mechanics of how to use paint and a paintbrush to draw a picture, but that does not make them an artist. The same is true for web development. There are many do-it-yourself website creators that allow people with very little technical skill to create a website. However, simply “building a website” is not the same as creating an effective website.

It’s better to have no website at all, than a poorly designed and
difficult-to-navigate website.

Studies have found that the quality of a website directly affects people’s perceptions about the trustworthiness, authority, accuracy, and legitimacy of the business associated with the site.

Many experts, such as Nicole Leinbach-Reyhle, a Forbes magazine contributor, agree that a poorly constructed website can actually do more harm to your business than not having a website. An outdated, cluttered, or poorly-designed website tells people that you don’t take your business seriously or, even worse, that you are not successful enough to afford a proper website. This immediately makes people suspicious of the quality of work, services, or products that you provide. The psychology goes something like this: “They obviously are not getting enough business to look professional…why? What are they doing wrong?” A website is a business’s opportunity to put their best foot forward, so a bad website is a potential signal that they don’t really have a good foot. It is not that consumers are more likely to do business with a company that takes the time to provide a well-thought-out, relevant, up-to-date, and nice-looking website. This is true but, beyond that, people are actually very likely to choose not to do business with a company that has a poorly constructed website.    

So what makes a good website?

There is really no one size fits all answer to this question. That is why it is important to partner with a firm that is willing to take the time to learn about you, your customers, your goals, the hurdles you face, and what you hope to get out of your website.

Design matters

Graphics increase the effectiveness of communication. They increase comprehension, recollection, and retention. Visual aids allow us to quickly decode text and attract attention to the information, increasing the likelihood that the audience will pay attention and, more importantly, remember.

Visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text.

65% of the population are visual learners.

90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual.

Content matters

People want to be educated. They want to feel a connection with those they do business with (what’s your story, what makes you stand out), they want to know how you can help meet their individual needs and desires, and they want easy access to the information they need to make a decision and get in contact with you.

Usability matters

A website needs to be easy to navigate through and find relevant information. It needs to be fast (people don’t want to wait for a page to load) and it needs to be mobile friendly (meaning the site should automatically resize and reformat itself to easily be read on any screen size).

SEO matters

SEO, or search engine optimization, refers to how your website shows up when people search for keywords associated with your industry or business. If people can’t find your site, it does not matter how great the design, content, or usability of your site is: it won’t produce the results you need.

How we help your small business

We take a consultative and educational approach to everything we do

First, we get to know you and your business. We are not your average website design firm, who simply builds a website. We work with you to create a site that represents everything that you stand for and that makes you unique as a business.

We get to know your customers so that we can build a site that speaks to their needs, desires, and concerns.

We put our time, energy, and passion into creating a site that has a great design to help capture your visitor’s attention, draw them in for more, and demonstrate your love, commitment, and dedication to excellence for what you do.

Our websites are focused on optimizing the user experience by insuring that they are fast, mobile-friendly, and filled with relevant, easy-to-find information.

Not only do we put SEO right into the framework of our websites, but we also educate you on how to create content and maintain your site in order to give it the best chance possible of showing up on the first page of Google and other search engines.

The websites that we build are designed to work hand in hand with social media. We can work with you to build a plan that maximizes your impact by teaching and/or helping you implement social media strategies into your marketing plan.

Every website we build is designed to encourage visitors to connect with you, through social media, freemiums, and calls to action. After all, the primary purpose of the site is to gain new leads and customers.

Our pricing structure is designed to maximize your budget. You tell us what you can afford and what your needs are and we design a custom package built around you.

We offer training that allows you to make updates and changes to your own site, without ever touching code, or we have full maintenance solutions where we take care of everything from hosting, to security, to updates, and even ongoing marketing and promotion.

Contact Mark Zarr

Want more info, or just want to brainstorm some thoughts?

Contact me and we can have a no obligation chat about your business.

Call: 208-954-1611

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Sources:
http://www.pewinternet.org/2014/04/03/older-adults-and-technology-use
http://www.forbes.com/sites/nicoleleinbachreyhle/2014/09/29/websites-for-small-businesses
Search Engine Journal

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