Why build a website or update your existing one?
A presence on the web allows customers, potential employees, business partners and perhaps even investors to quickly and easily find out more about your business and the products or services you have to offer.
If you don’t have a website, potential customers may be saying “why not?” just before they go to a competitor’s site. If you have ever thought I need a website because “everybody else has one”, you may end up wondering why you are not getting the results you expected or become overly concerned about the page ranking or traffic numbers.
So build your site with some clear goals in mind and look at the big-picture. You can improve profits and save on costs with an efficient website. There are more features available to you as website design and functionality improves and they are more cost effective as many tasks are more easy to do.
The internet allows you to have a site that has both a marketing purpose and a business tool as well. Your site can contain contact information, but a website can do a lot more such as building your database and creating easier communication with your clients. You can even send customised physical postcards, greeting cards or brochure cards just like an email for a fraction of the cost of normal mail.
For example, as a golf professional, I had a golf site that I wanted to give a service to my clients by getting their lesson notes from the website. But I could add colour photos to the site that I couldn’t supply with my teaching notes which I needed to print out costing time and money. In addition they often needed updating. Now I can even repeat the lesson using video. But my site never provided me with any new customers. I had traffic but I didn’t know who the visitors were and I couldn’t contact them until I learnt that I could provide a free report or coupon in return for a name and email address. Then I could send information to all my database automatically.
Some goals for your website
- To inform customers
- To build a community
- To gain valuable market research
- To reduce support and customer service costs
- To reach a broad audience with a message
- To find sales leads
- To conduct e-commerce
- To gain advertising revenue
- To brand your company
- To build trust
- To reduce printing and mailing costsThink about your target audience.What do they want to see?
What information do they need?
Why are they even visiting your site?
Measurable goals such as new sales leads, increasing customer satisfaction, decreased support calls, more subscribers to your newsletter or completed surveys are practical results for your business.
Traffic is often a major goal of a website but would you rather have 1000 people visit your site and do nothing, or have 100 people visit your site and take action? Is page ranking relevant to profitability? Traffic numbers in themselves may not be the most important factor of your site.
Ask people what they want and give you feedback about your current site. Find out how easily they can find the information they want. You may need a redesign or new content sections or even scrap the old site and start again from scratch.
When you build a great site that keeps your users in mind, it is easier to get good links, good rankings and good results. Your company and your customers will benefit and you won’t be as dependent on search engine rankings to meet your goals.
24/7 business presence
New customers will be able to locate you and your information and repeat customers will always know where to contact you. You can make up-to-date product information available to customers all over the world, 24 hours a day. Web pages can be edited and updated with new information. You can easily do it yourself with our WordPress sites.
Gain customers from new areas
A lot of people these days seem to think that if they can’t find something on the internet, that it doesn’t exist. When looking for a product or service, most people now search the internet to find a provider. They search for reviews, opinions & other sites relating to the provider to make sure they get good value for money. If your business sells products, a website gives you a national and international market, you are no longer restricted to just your local area.
Build trust and credibility
A professional-looking site helps you to be taken seriously and build credibility and trust. Many consumers search for information online before purchasing at a physical store, your site can make a good first impression on a potential customer.
A testimonials page creates a higher level of trust. They are often time consuming to obtain and our WordPress site makes it easy for a customer to complete and submit a testimonial online for you.
Make your advertising count
You can increase your visibility by adding your website address to your business cards, emails and any ads you place in newspapers or magazines. These business tools expand to provide a complete view of your business when people visit your site.
Print ads don’t usually give a reader enough information to make a buying decision, however after visiting your site they are much better informed and you now have credibility and trust before they call, saving you time with phone enquiries.
The white and yellow pages directories are ok to find a business and phone number but only give the most basic amount of contact information unless you have a lot of money to spend on advertising. Even the most expensive full page advertisement in a directory cannot provide as much information as a website and your ad can point people to the site where they can get the information to get closer to a buying decision.
Advertise to more people and more cost effectively
Use the Web to expand your market. If you want to trade nationally or internationally, a website has the potential to reach more people more cost effectively than any other form of advertising. A $200 a year website can generate a lot of interest and can be seen by millions of people with good design and high search engine rankings. You can broaden your customer base through the web by posting your website on business directories, newsgroups, and discussion forums.
Having a website is a cost effective method to get people to link to and recommend your business easily. For instance, many people post on their site or blog when they buy something and they can include in the post a link to the online store the item was purchased from, and links to any reviews or articles about the item to let people know where they can get one as well.
Word of mouth advertising that works
You don’t have to rely on people trying to describe your product or service. People can just recommend your website or email them with a link. Faster communication with customers A website promotes your products all the time for much less than sending out catalogs, brochures or placing magazine ads. A customer doesn’t have to wait for you to send them a brochure – various sized pictures, photos, documents and graphics can be used to demonstrate your products or services anytime.
Email has fantastic speed and convenience however opens the door for not so friendly uses. It can be used for instant communication around the world for virtually no cost, however it is also used to send viruses and spam. WordPress site have spam protection features like Akismet which stops spam comments and verification requirements when forms are submitted.
Online forms can be used to allow customers to request quotations or ask for further information. They won’t have to make a phone call where they can’t get hold of you or you are too busy to give them all the information they need. If your potential customers can send you their questions at any time, day or night, you can get more customers. No-one will call your phone number at 2am to enquire if your product has a certain option, however an email from them will be waiting for you when you get to work and you can reply and let them know all about it. If they have to wait until 9am to phone because they can’t email you, they may forget, find it somewhere else at a better price, or just decide it is too much effort.
Your website can add value by providing something extra for your customers to give them an incentive to subscribe to a mailing list, where you can send one email or newsletter to thousands of people, for virtually no cost, letting them know that a new product is now available, and they should all upgrade as soon as possible, because of the added features. To send a normal letter to a thousand customers costs $500 for postage alone, plus printing costs and labour.
You can provide personalized information to individual customers based on their preferences by directing them to different pages on your site. You can protect certain pages with a password, such as those that you need to communicate with your staff. No other medium allows you to do this so cheaply.
Market research made easy
Gather information from your customer at minimal cost using online surveys or by analyzing the traffic information collected by your Web server.
Your website can have a map and photo of your premises to show the way to your business – your customers will find you fast and easily.
Easy to remember contact information
Phone numbers advertised on vehicles are long and hard to memorize compared with a website name. For instance, for a business called Michael’s Mobile Car Mechanic, www.michaelmobilemechanic.com.au is easier to remember than Michael’s Mobile Car Mechanic phone: 0433 720 497.
A website saves you time
A website can tell people what they want to know about your company, products and services. Think about how much time is spent answering phone calls that do not lead to sales, time that could be better spent working on other tasks. This can be anywhere between $100 and $300 a week lost by answering questions that could be answered on a website that describes services provided with prices and time estimates, eliminating many of those calls. That could be around $5,000 per year saved.
Providing answers to frequently asked questions on your site improves customer service. Straightforward sales and information requests can be processed automatically and immediately, whether there’s anyone in the office or not. Our wordpress sites help automate this process of building an FAQ page.
Your own graphics and TV studio
A picture is worth a thousand words. You can use unlimited photos and even video to present your products and services. Digital cameras can help you upload photos and video clips to display on your website.
An online shop can help you sell physical products, using simple open source software, you can quickly add your items to a catalog, and have orders emailed or faxed to you to send out. Every person who orders through your site, saves you time and money in not having to have a salesperson talk to them, or spending big on a physical store presence. The rent or hosting of an online shop is much lower than real world prices. Secure online ordering is now affordable even for the smallest business.
Boost your image and hide your size
The size of your business does not matter when it comes to benefits from your website whether big or small. The internet has enabled small businesses compete with bigger companies. A well-designed site can project the image and professionalism instilling the confidence of a much larger company. Many big companies have sites that do not look professional and are hard to navigate which works in your favour as well.
Some of the biggest online sites started out as a small home based operation. With an online store, no-one knows if you employ lots of people, or just a few.
A website helps you compete with other businesses while a poor website or none at all will give your competition who do have websites more business, maybe even take some of yours. It could even be better to have no website at all than to have one that makes your business look bad. Your site projects an image of your business. It either says, “We take our business seriously so we have a great site for our customers.” or it says “I had it done cheap by a student who designed my site so all the best finding anything!”
Gain an advantage on your competitors
If they don’t have websites yet – get in there first.
Protect your identity
An important reason for your business to get a domain name and website, is to prevent another similar company registering the name for themselves, and capitalising on your name, effectively poaching customers you never knew you could have. These tactics have increased over the past five years.