The Benefits of a Website for Small Business
If you’re looking for the benefits of a website for small business you’re in the right place. It can be confusing in today’s digital landscape these days and what’s more, there’s a growing trend of people wondering if they even need a website for their small business. It seems that a lot of bad advice is now doing the rounds and businesses being run from a facebook page. If that’s you, I’m not saying you’re wrong for doing it – I’m just saying it’s not the best way to get your small business on the road to success. Facebook has its place in business but that’s not for being your web presence entirely.
The Benefits of a website for small business:
1. It’s Your Fully Branded, Customisable Home
Your website is your home. You can do with it what you will – make it a shop, info service, help desk, web app – you name it. At the end of the day it’s the digital “home” for your business. Think of it like an office front.
You can make your website look like anything. The whole experience can be on brand so everything you’ve put into building your brand and the associated emotional connection you want from your customers can be completely delivered. A website is the only way to do this. Facebook, well, looks like Facebook. Sure you can add some cover photos and a profile icon and have some graphics in your own branding but it’s not the same. You don’t want your digital office to be looking like Facebook do you?
2. Place to send people with more features
A website can be built to do pretty much anything – it’s only limited by your imagination. You want to stand out from your competitors – add some features they don’t have to your website. Want to be more helpful to your customers or potential customers? Add a chat window to help with those pre-sales questions. Want to build a community around your brand? Add a forum people can use to help each other and build friendships.
3. People search first
In an increasing trend growing even more by the day, people go online first before they shop. If you aren’t online then you’re missing out. A website gives you the ability to display your customer service skills, build relationships and reach people you’ve never been able to reach before (your physical shop is only good if people know about it or are located near enough to travel to it). Imagine what you could do with the globe at your fingertips.
4. The Shopping Experience Is Changing
Right now were are in the middle of shopping experience revolution. Ever wondered why all those clothing shops are closing down and department stores profits are plummeting? It’s because companies like these have failed to embrace the new era of shopping. The role of the physical store isn’t going away but its changing. It’s now more about creating an experience rather than selling the product you have on the shelf. What’s happening now is that a lot of people are going to the stores to check out the items and will then buy online later when they are ready. For consumer-based businesses, if you aren’t even considering this in your customer shopping experience you are going to get left behind. You need to be ready for this and you’ll need a website to do it. Not just from a practicality point of view but also because you’ll also be able to design your online shopping experience too.
5. Sell things online via a website is easier than Facebook
While Facebook pages are great for your business, they aren’t the best when it comes to features. If you want an online shop with all the modern features then the best bet is an actual website with e-commerce type facilities. This will give you far more abilities than a Facebook page.
6. Deliver 5 Start Customer Service
No matter if you’re a service-based business or sell products, if you have a website you can deliver more than just your service and your products. You can manage your customer relationship and their experience with loads of additional resources such as manuals, user-guides and freebies. If you are a software product you can even have a ticket system for product support or use it as a blog to deliver high value content to your customers – its completely up to you. This is one of the really great benefits of a website for small business in that you can take on those big players in your industry by adding these things to your website.
7. Create Community Memberships for Extra Money
You can add a membership section to your website and increase your bottom line by charging a small membership fee. What you put in there is up to you but as long as it’s highly valuable and people want it, you’ll be adding to your income. Maybe it’s a small course or the “gold” package to your product which includes so many downloadable resources – totally up to you what you can put behind it. The great thing about communities too is that it breeds brand fans so if there all communicating with each other in your membership site, you can have yourself a set of raving fans who’ll attract you more business and customers.
8. Get more of your time back
If you have your own website, you can save yourself a lot of time through automation. You can automate pretty much anything including offline processes like distributorships, accounting processes through your shop with invoicing, stock levels and suppliers – no more paper! You’ve got to love business efficiency!
9. Return on Investment is HIGH
You can make your money back quickly. Sell one digital product or a few sales of products and you’re pretty much going to have made your money back. I know a lot of people think that website costs are too high for them but if you see it as an investment you’ll make back once you sell some products and that it’ll pay for itself in no time then there’s no need to worry. And guess what – you can even claim the whole lot on your tax. Special note though – I’m no lawyer or tax accountant so this may not be the case in some countries as it would depend on your tax system.
And there you have it – 9 great benefits of a website for small business. What are you waiting for?
Not convinced and still think Facebook is the better way to go? Here’s why not to do that:
- Yes some people do it (and have success) but they are the exception to the rule.
- It’s not a long-term strategy as you can’t grow the functionality so it’s not setting you up for success.
- If cost is your issue, there’s resources out there to help you on your way such as cost-effective templates or pay-by-the-month players like squarespace. These are great for entry level websites.
- I do recommend having a Facebook page but it should be part of your marketing strategy, not your “digital home”. Use it to show you’re human and send traffic to your website.
If you want to set yourself up for success I can’t recommend highly enough that you get a website. And no, I’m not just saying that because I build websites for a living. I’m a business owner too and have the same considerations as you. I’ve also built my business around helping people not filling my pockets with cash so you know I’ve got your back. My approach – build the grassroots now to make things easier later and go get those goals!