Do I Really Need A Website?
I really don't have time for this, I've got a business to run! Where do I find a good web designer? And what's all this talk about mobile? Besides, I don't sell online. What is this going to cost me? Sounds familiar? Perhaps you have asked those very questions. Really, why do you need a business website? Please consider the following:
A 2010 study by BIA Kelsey revealed that 97% of all consumers use online media to research products and services in their local area. With mainstream adoption of smartphones and portable mobile devices, it is now safe to say that all consumers use the Web for local purchasing decisions.
If your business sells direct to consumers, it is increasingly likely their first contact will be on your website. That is where they research local businesses and products. If customers are looking for your business online, that's where you need to be! In addition, here are more good reasons to have a business website:
Six Top Reasons To Have A Business Website:
Your website informs customers about upcoming sales and events in a very cost effective way. You store or business reaches a much wider audience online through a website. Your website is open for business 24 hours a day. Potential customers can learn about your business on their schedule. Your website is your showcase. It can contain beautiful product photos, testimonials, and videos that showcase your products. A website saves time by providing information that customers would usually need to call for. It can also help you to do better customer service by keeping them informed. Yes, you need a business website!
Here's how to plan a small business website that will meet their needs.
What Consumers Want From Your Business Website
Typically, the most common reasons why consumers will visit your business website are as follows:
♦ Find your store location
♦ Find hours of operation
♦ Find the telephone number
♦ Find an email address
♦ Learn about products and services
♦ Find special offers and promotions
Your business website needs to furnish that information. So, one of the first steps in planning your business website is to gather information that covers the needs of consumers. Here is a short list of the most common types of information you will need:
♦ Company logo
♦ High-quality photos showcasing your products and services
♦ Welcome text for homepage
♦ About Us page
♦ Contact information
♦ Descriptions of products and services
♦ Customer testimonials
Consumers Want To See Your Business On their Smartphones
As little as two years ago, a business owner did not need to think about what devices consumers used to visit his website. Typically, they used a desktop computer or laptop, Well, those were simpler days. Now, your website will be viewed on smartphones, iPads, iPhones, Blackberries, Android tablets, and a host of other portable devices, not to mention desktop computers.
That brings up another important feature that must be part of your website planning. "Responsive" web design adapts to fit the screen of whatever device is used to view it. You need Responsive Web Design to ensure that your website is ready for the future (and present) of consumer Web browsing on the Mobile Web. Responsive web design adds a necessary level of complexity to website construction that typically adds an additional 20-50% to your overall web design budget.
Mobile Consumers Are Buying
If you need more convincing, here is a fascinating statistic that reveals how rapidly consumers are making smartphones their prime device for Web access. The online e-commerce giant Amazon.com reported that 70% of its record-setting December 2015 holiday season shoppers used a mobile device to make a purchase. Yes, that is not a typo, 70%! Even if your small business website is not doing e-commerce, that figure matters. It is an indicator of how consumers use smartphones and tablets for all types of buying research.
How Can I Tell If My Website Is Mobile Friendly?
The easiest way is to view it on your smartphone. Do you have to scroll left-to-right to read a paragraph of text? Are images and videos too large to fit the screen? Are links difficult to click with finger touch? A mobile compatible website (using responsive web design) automatically adjusts all elements on the web page to fit a smartphone or tablet screen. In fact, it adapts to fit the screen of any device. This is what consumers need now to find and research your business online.
I hope this article helps you to jump-start the business website planning process. There are a host of other issues such as Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, and content marketing that are a valuable part of the ongoing strategy for marketing your business online. These are marketing strategies that can help your business to stand out online. A good web designer, with a solid understanding of online marketing, can help you to economically implement these strategies, and measure their effects on your bottom line.
I can guide in the process of creating an effective business website. My web design portfolio provides a broad sampling of my best work. Hopefully, you find this website a source of web design inspiration. Give Don Peterson, a call at 917.267.9281. Your questions will be patiently answered. I am eager to help you create a budget-friendly online presence that brings eager consumers to your business!