These days there’s no excuse for not having a website, even if your business is only just getting off the ground. Many potential customers and clients won’t take you seriously without one. Plus, there are so many upsides to setting one up that not doing so is almost irresponsible.
One of the most obvious benefits of having a small business website is that it enables people to find you online and get in touch with you easily. Having an effective and compelling site can even lead to sales you wouldn’t have made otherwise.
In this post, we’re going to discuss 15 reasons why it makes sense to set up a website for your small business. Then we’ll show you how a company, like Open Space, can help business owners create a small-biz site in a matter of a week.
The Top 15 Benefits of a Website for Small Business
1. You Can Develop an Online Presence
These days, the first thing a lot of people do when they hear about a business is to look it up online. If you don’t have a website set up — or at least some social media profiles — you might as well not exist for all those potential clients.
Moreover, having a website can help shape the way people perceive your business. For example, you can fill your site up with reviews, photos of your locations, helpful information, and anything else that will bolster your image. We’re not over-exaggerating when we tell you that online marketing is a critical component of business success in today’s market.
2. It’s Possible to Target Local Customers
If you’re anything like us, you look up the closest businesses to you when you’re trying to make a specific purchase. For example, let’s say you need a haircut and you don’t know the neighbourhood. You’ll probably jump online, and look up nearby barbers or hair salons.
If your website shows up among the first search engine results for these types of local queries, then you might land yourself some extra business (building a strategy to rank well for keywords is known as search engine optimization or SEO). On top of drumming up more customers, your site can also help build brand awareness of your local business in the community.
3. You Can Share Your Address and Contact Information With Customers
Imagine that someone knows your business exists, but they’re not sure how to get there. Ideally, your website should include your full address, instructions on how to find you, and (if you’re looking for extra points) a map of the area. Armed with that information, it’s almost impossible for anyone to get lost along the way.
It’s also useful to have a place for your business’ phone number, email address, and other contact details. That way people can call in if they have any quick questions.
4. It Enables You to Receive Online Queries
A lot of small business owners these days prefer online queries over phone calls. It’s easy to understand why. After all, you can answer emails on your own time, and it doesn’t matter if 20 people contact you at once online — you can still get to all of them.
Ideally, your website will provide visitors with multiple ways to contact you. We already mentioned that it should include your phone number and email address, but a contact form is also an excellent addition that lets customers get in touch without leaving the site. Some businesses even go as far as to set up a live chat.
5. You Can Save Money on Paper Advertisements
It used to be that if you wanted to advertise your business, your options were limited. You could hand out flyers, take out ads in the local newspaper, or maybe pay for a TV spot. However, the web provides you with entirely new ways to reach your audience.
Even if you don’t want to pay for online ads, your website itself can help market your business. You can, for example, reach out to visitors when you’re running offers they might be interested in. At the very least, you can publish the latest news on your site, so people have an incentive to visit your business.
6. Online Content Can Help You Build a Reputation
There are plenty of successful businesses that give back to their community by helping to keep them informed through content marketing. Take our blog and Wiki for example — it’s all about updating you on the latest news and sharing knowledge to power Youth-led Enterprises.
Over the long term, you can also use your website as a platform to publish content and blog posts that help your clients. Content marketing not only makes you look like an authority in your field, but it can also build goodwill.
7. You Can Use It to Learn More About Your Customers
Websites aren’t only about sharing your business with the world. If used correctly, they can also help you learn more about your customers. Then you can use that information to drive more sales and conversions.
You can, for example, set up polls on your website to find out what your visitors are interested in. There are also plenty of online tools that can help you set up full-fledged surveys. You can even track your site’s analytics, and get lots of data on how your visitors behave.
8. It’s the Perfect Way to Advertise Employment Opportunities
Good help is hard to find, regardless of what field you do business in. If you’re looking for a new hire, there are plenty of platforms where you can advertise online. However, it also makes sense to use your own website to get the word out about employment opportunities.
After all, it’s likely that plenty of people who visit your site are going to be interested in work opportunities. Plus, this way you cut out any middlemen. When someone applies for a job, you can vet them right away.
9. You Can Provide Personalized Email Addresses for Your Employees
When you buy a domain for your website, you can use it to set up personalized email addresses. This is very useful since an email address such as firstname.lastname@example.org looks much more professional than email@example.com.
This may seem like a small detail. However, having personalized email addresses can give people the impression that you’re running a professional business (which of course you are!).
10. It Can Help Expand Your Business’ Reach
If you’re running a small store, most of your business will probably come from locals. They’ll get to know what you provide and what your prices are, and hopefully keep coming back for more. To put it another way, most small businesses have a restricted area of influence.
Setting up a website enables you to bypass the limitations of running a small operation. You’ll be able to reach more of your target audience than you might have otherwise, and attract business from outside your local area.
11. You Can Make Sales Online
Aside from expanding your business’ reach, having a website also provides you with an entirely new channel you can use to make sales. These days, you’re no longer restricted to only selling products through your physical shop.
Setting up an online store is actually relatively simple, and you can even combine it with your regular business site. That way, you’ll be able to make sales even when your operating hours end.
12. Social Media Can Help Promote Your Business
A lot of people think that social media can be a replacement for a website. As far as we’re concerned, however, you need both a site and a social presence if you want to maximize your reach online. Plus, you’ll want to advertise all your social pages right from your website.
To put it another way, think about your website as a place where you can publish any content you want, in any format you can imagine. Social media marketing, on the other hand, is a useful tool to get the word out, build a following, and drive traffic back to your website. The two work in perfect harmony, so it doesn’t make sense to limit yourself to one or the other.
13. Email Lists Can Help You Stay in Touch With Customers
Email marketing is one of the most effective tools when it comes to staying in touch with your customers, driving sales, and getting conversions. In fact, you can get a lot of mileage out of creating an ongoing email campaign.
What’s more, your website provides you with the perfect way to get people to sign up for your email list. Once you build an audience, you can send them as many emails as you want, as often as you’d like.
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14. You Can Educate Users About Your Business
Customers don’t always know what they’re looking for. If you’re new to website hosting, for example, it can be hard to figure out which plan would best suit your needs. There is plenty of information available on the subject, but judging who’s right and who doesn’t know what they’re talking about can be a challenge
Now, imagine that you’re on the other side of that dilemma. You’re running a hosting service, and you need to figure out how to help people choose the plans they need. A website is a perfect tool for this task. You can use it to educate your audience on what the best products are, depending on their requirements and goals.
It doesn’t matter what type of business you’re running, of course. Your website can help you teach your customer base everything they need to know so they’ll make smarter purchases.
15. You Can Build a Community
One of the best things about having a website to call your own is that it can provide a place for your visitors to talk to each other. For example, if you’re running a blog for your business, you can enable a comments section for it so visitors can ask you questions and discuss your posts with each other.
Depending on which platform you use, you can also set up more complex community features, such as forums and even public chats.