Do I really need a website?
A major myth and business liability that I often hear is that websites are no longer needed for local businesses. If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times. “A business Facebook page is free. Why would I need a website?”. In a most simplistic explanation – your website is the ONLY access you have to your customers online that is within your control. Whether it be social media, email, search engines, listings or any other online medium, your website is your home. Anywhere else, you’re just renting (and the landlord likes to make changes).
Below I am going to highlight the 5 most significant reasons that now, more than ever, is why you absolutely need a website for your business.
1. Social media platforms are algorithm-driven, monetization-focused and not optimized for businesses.
Social media platforms are perfect for socializing with prospects & customers. They are also an excellent ad spend option for relatively low cost compared to other alternatives. However, social media platforms and their algorithms change very often. The changes made are largely purposed for better monetization and increasing revenues for the platforms. It is no secret that organic reach on platforms like Facebook & Instagram is significantly less than it once was (or will ever be again). Why is that? Well… if businesses want to reach the masses, Meta is going to make you pay for it. Even if you have a very large following (that you worked hard to build), social platforms greatly limit the organic reach you have to that audience, and they can take that following away if you ever find yourself not in compliance with their often changing Terms and Conditions. Don’t believe me? https://turbofuture.com/internet/Why-Was-My-Facebook-Page-Deleted
One other thing that I will add about using social media as your primary inbound source for prospects – when it comes to SEO (Search Engine Optimization), the goal is for your products or services to rank up and be visible when people are searching for what you offer. While there are many layers to SEO and a multitude of best practices to follow, one important component is writing unique, quality content on landing pages that are optimized for search. Given that Facebook only gives you one page to rank, and no control over meta data or other technical optimization components, it is not a viable solution for search ranking.
2. Having a website is critical for search engine visibility.
As I eluded to above, SEO cannot properly be done without a website for your business. Given that Google accounts for 93% of global web traffic (Source: Forbes & SparkToro), I would say that doing what you can to rank your business on that platform is a pretty big deal. Simply relying on free listings to showcase your business online is definitely not sufficient for search engine visibility. Even worse, it is not enough to build trust and sway buying decisions with your customers. When you have a properly built and well designed website, and when you are continuing to inject rich, unique content that includes frequent searched phrases and keywords, you are building a sustainable organic traffic source for your business.
Of course, you don’t want to put all of your eggs in the SEO basket either. Like social platforms, search engine algorithms change frequently. Organic traffic insights go up and down all of the time, often with little to no notice. Also, who knows what impact AI will have on the importance of SEO in the future? SEO importance may change over time as search engines roll out artificial intelligence in their user experience, but even as AI becomes more prevalent, the importance of having a website will become greater.
3. Having properly optimized conversions and funnels gives your customer data control.
When the right tools and strategies are in place in your website, you can monitor traffic insights and know who your target audience is. Using free tools like Google Analytics allows you to measure user traffic, how long they spent on your page, what pages and topics they were interested in, where users are viewing from and much, much more. While every platform has some form of metric tracking, none of them alone will give you the ability to track actual conversions as well as having a website. For example, let’s say that you are a local home services provider who is looking to target several cities in your target region. With a website, you have really great options to target those geographic and demographic targets relatively inexpensively. Having dedicated website landing pages per service topic, and even for each city or region you serve, will help you become more visible to your target audience over time. Better yet, if you have dedicated landing pages that are being used in conjunction with paid ads, you set yourself up for an extremely accurate and effective conversion tracking system to know where customers came from, whether or not you paid directly to acquire them, and whether or not each traffic source (paid or organic), is effectively growing your revenue.
4. Social media platforms do not give enough aesthetic and branding control.
50% of internet users say they use the design of a website as a factor to conclude their opinion of a business (Source: Google Research). When you deploy a well designed website that is content rich, easy to navigate, and gives very clear CTA’s (Calls to Action), you are greatly increasing the odds your customers will engage with you. We’ve all visited a website that looks like the UX was whipped up in Microsoft Paint circa Windows 98. Even worse, I’ve visited MANY websites of businesses that I KNOW are great at what they do. Even though I am an existing patron and know that the their website doesn’t reflect the true quality of the business, how many customers comes across that websites without preexisting insights? Statistically, that great business will lose that potential revenue simply because they didn’t take the time to design a visually stimulating and engaging website. Sure, social media platforms give you a profile image and some form of header image, but 90% of the page looks like every other page on that platform. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my business featured on the internet in a cookie cutter fashion. Without a well designed website, your business just likes like everyone else’s (or worse).
5. A website gives you credibility and builds trust through professionalism
62% of consumers will disregard (AKA ignore and move on from) businesses that do not have a website (Source: Safari Digital). So basically, 2/3 of your potential buyers will choose your competition if you haven’t taken the time to build a website for your business. Smart buyers with money to spend want confidence in where their money is going. It doesn’t matter if I am looking for a car, a doctor, a plumber or a gym, the web presence a business has influences my decision. If I go searching for a new car and all I can find for the car I want is a local Facebook business page with car pictures clearly taken on an Android (Apple for life) being sold by some guy with the email firstname.lastname@example.org, it doesn’t matter if they have the car I want – I’m looking elsewhere. If I am looking for a local gym and all I can find is an unclaimed business listing, I’m going to assume the quality of the gym is the same as the quality of their web presence. What’s the point? Being visible with a strong presence online builds credibility for your business. Displaying your professional website on places like Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp, etc. will give your prospects a place to confirm a buying decision after seeing the great reviews your business has on those platforms. When you deploy a website with great content, professional (and authentic) pictures and video, solid UI (design) & UX (quick site load and performance) and answers to the buyer’s questions, you position yourself to grow your revenue because people know they can trust you.
Bottom line – If you operate a business, you ABSOLUTELY need a website.
I understand with the best of them that starting a business is expensive. It forces entrepreneurs to spend wisely and prioritize their dollars. In a world of DIY and free “solutions”, it can be very tempting to assume that the DIY path is the way to go. As my dad drilled into my head more times than I can count, you get what you pay for… and a website is certainly no different. When done right, a website is a worthy and crucial investment that can generate ROI and give your business control over customer traffic and an edge over your competition.
If you are ready to build a professional website for your business, the team at ABM is ready to help. We specialize in designing and developing custom websites that are built to perform and grow local businesses. Contact us today if you are ready to invest in your business.
About the Author:
With over 15 years of hands on experience in the fields of marketing, design and technology, Adam has worked with 100’s of business owners and leaders with the common goal of implementing best practices to grow their business. He is the founder and CEO of an award winning marketing firm, Adam Black Media, based in a prominent suburb of Birmingham, Alabama. ABM is known for their specialization in website development, digital marketing, professional photography and above all else, leading client support and follow through. Adam’s passion is helping start-ups and small to mid-sized businesses implement best practice strategies in order to take their business to heights they wouldn’t reach otherwise.