In October, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp were all down. We couldn’t access the social media apps online. Remember that day? While only down for six hours, for some, it felt much longer – especially to those who were trying to conduct business, share a promotion, or simply have people find their business and “website.” It wasn’t the first outage. Wasn’t the most recent outage. And certainly won’t be the last.

Many small businesses continue to only have Facebook as their website. It’s linked to their Google My Business listing. (Now Google Business Profile) We continue to scratch our head and wonder why? If having your “website” down for six hours isn’t reason enough to have your own website, consider these 18 reasons.

Establish Credibility

With your own website, you increase your business’ credibility. 84% of today’s consumers think a website makes your business more credible than companies who only have social media profiles. More than 30% of consumers don’t even consider a business if it doesn’t have a website.  Your website is also the perfect place to show off any professional certifications or awards your business has.

Differentiate From Competition

Most likely there are several providers offering a similar service or product to yours. If your competitors aren’t online yet, they probably will be soon. Especially if they read this post! 😉 Establish yourself as a leader in your field by building a high-quality website first, before your competitors.

If your competitors are online, you have a different kind of opportunity: you can build a website that’s completely different from your competitors’ sites. This shows potential customers what makes your company stand apart. Build a website that looks good and clearly communicates quality information to your consumers – especially how you differ from the competition. Without a website, people may question your legitimacy as a business. Having a website is an opportunity to make a great first impression and give people comfort that you’re a real business.

Look Professional

With your own website you can create a branded email address (e.g. diana@dianashop.com) which adds a level of professionalism to all of your correspondence, especially if you’ve used a personal email address (e.g. Gmail or Yahoo) to conduct business up until now.

Build Your Brand

One of the most important things you can do is showcase your brand to your prospective customers. By clearly establishing who you are, what you represent, and what you stand for, you increase the chances your customers buy from you or employ your services.

This is also something that can set you apart from your competitors. Without a website, it can be incredibly challenging to do this because people can’t easily find quality and reliable information on your business.

Generate Leads

Who doesn’t want more leads? More customers? Having a website for your business can increase your chances of getting leads.

Once people find you online, become interested in your product or service and want to know more, they’ll know how to contact you thanks to the information on your website, which gives you the opportunity to increase your sales. Sure there’s a cost to building and maintaining a website, but when used correctly, they have a positive ROI.

Build Organic Traffic

Once online with an SEO-optimized website, you have a chance of showing up in search results. This means that when people are searching for a product or service, there is a chance your website will show up in the results. This gives you the opportunity to increase your customer base. Nearly 60% of the global population uses the Internet, and more and more people are getting online. Without a website, your business is invisible to these people.

Save You Time and Provide Customer Service

How many calls do you get from prospects or existing customers asking simple questions like your location or hours of operation. If you miss a call, the customer is left unhappy. Calls can also distract your staff from focusing on the most important parts of your business. A website can reduce these calls and increase internal productivity. At the same time, it helps customers find useful information without needing to call, which ultimately provides an all-around better user experience.

Provide Updates And Announcements

Since your website is on 24/7, it is easy to post updates and announcements to your customers. It’s a way to keep them up to date on everything that you’re doing. When something is particularly relevant to them, it increases the chance of you being able to upsell them.

Expand Digital Marketing

If you plan on leveraging digital marketing to increase your leads and grow your business, you’ll want to drive traffic to a website landing page, not Facebook or Instagram. To do this effectively, leverage historic traffic that has been going to your website so you can target the most qualified customers and get the best ROI on your ad spend. To know the historic traffic, you need to have a website.

Showcase Your Products / Services

You can show potential customers what they will get when they work with you by displaying high-quality photography on your website. It can be front and center and not be the 10th image down in a Facebook feed.

With video, you can also use your website to give people a sense of what it feels like to enter your store or office.

Another thing you can do is publish important information about your products and services on your website to benefit your customers. For example, if you run a restaurant, highlight any items on the menu that are gluten-free.

Display Your Best Reviews

Establish ‘social proof’ by posting your best reviews and/or testimonials prominently on your website. Whether one they shared with you personally or posted online, testimonials share what customers say about your product or service.

Additionally, if your business has appeared in magazine or newspaper articles, you can also feature those.

Control the Narrative

While it is difficult to control what people say about you, you can influence your brand perception by writing your own story on the website. And a website is a far more efficient than print ads or snail mail brochures to help brands spread their message, vision, and mission.

Compete With Big Boys

When you have a website it gives you a fair chance to compete with the giants of your industry. When an optimized website is created, it can rank higher and be at the right place at the right time. Bidding for the right keywords can increase your website traffic and influence your consumer’s journey, which typically begins with research, recommendations, and reviews. Having a prominent position on the search results page is one of the many ways to challenge Goliaths.

Help People Find You

A website lets you embed maps directly into your content. An embedded map makes it easy for people who aren’t familiar with your town or area to find your business. This is particularly great if you host events, as they might attract people who wouldn’t otherwise spend time in the neighborhood your business is in.

Build Your Marketing

A consumer visits your site and makes a purchase. Through the process, they provide an email address. You now can email them further promoting your business, keeping it top of mind, and generating repeat sales.

Target Your Customers

As people visit your website you can track key performance metrics:

• The number of people visiting your website (regular visitors).

• The number of people who have visited your website only once (unique visitors).

• How many times a page was read or visited by users (Pageviews or impressions).

• The number of people who left without reading the page they landed on (bounce rate).

• For how long do people visit your website content (average time on site).

All these stats (or KPIs) can help you learn how you can strategically target your customers. You can know what kind of content users like and how you can improve the user experience so that they stay. As a result, your website will be better and more people will visit it.

Fading Social Media Reach

At the end of 2020, organic reach was down to 5.2%. Additionally, the average engagement rate in 2020 for an organic Facebook post was 0.25%. We’re huge social media fans and encourage small businesses to utilize the platforms, but while social media networks have the potential to increase business, banking just on them can be a huge mistake that can cost in the years to come.

Not Everyone Is On Facebook

Sure. 2.8 billion people use Facebook. But there’s 7.9 billion people on the planet. Clearly not all of them are on Facebook. My wife is one of the billions not on Facebook. I watch her get frustrated when she attempts to tap through to a website from Google My Business only to find a Facebook. She quickly backs out and searches for the next restaurant or business. How many others are like her?

Conclusion

A website is no longer intimidating to create and manage. Modern website builders like Squarespace and Wix make it easy for you to build an attractive, mobile-friendly site without any knowledge of code. Although we question building your own website.

As we progress further into the digital era, your business will become invisible to everyone unless you invest in a website. So to stay competitive in this increasingly digital world, your business needs to get online. Contact us about getting started on your website.