Updated: Jan 29, 2022
Small business owners, I'm talking to you today. Your customers are online... Are you? If you don’t have a website, you are missing out on a ton of business! If you've thought about creating or refreshing your website, but don't know where to start, you’re in the right place!
This is my first blog post in this series about getting your small business ready to launch or refresh your website. We’re starting off with the question: What's your WHY? Meaning why do you want to create or update your website?
A bigger question might be, do you actually NEED a website for your small business? #spoileralert: The answer is YES!
Depending on the survey you read, anywhere from 25 to 35% of small businesses today don't have any website at all. Are you one of them? Whether it's e-commerce or relational marketing, having an online presence is essential for today's small businesses. Especially as we navigate and hopefully, eventually, transition out of this pandemic, meeting your customers where they are - online - is going to be more important than ever!
Whether you like it or not, if you don't have a website and an online presence for your business, people may think that your business is actually closed! Yikes! You may be nodding along with me now thinking, “okay, I get it. I understand why I need a website for my business, but can't I just have a social media page? Isn't that enough?”
I don't think so. And here's why... There are 3 main reasons why I think having a full website is much more beneficial to your business than just having a social media page. The first one is the level of control that you have on your website. You can control the narrative, the look, the feel, all of your branding and everything like that. A social media page is much more restrictive and gives you less flexibility over how you can portray your brand online.
The next reason is search engine optimization or SEO. There's just not a great way to SEO-optimize a social media page, because again, you don't have control over it. You do on your own website. You can make sure that your ideal customers are finding you more often. And of course, the final reason is you own your website. You don't own your social media pages. So if Facebook goes down for a day (we ALL remember that, right?!), they're not gonna be able to find you, but on your own website, of course, they still will.
The next thing that I'll often hear from small business owners is that, “my business is just too small. I can't compete with those larger brands out there. I don't need a website. I'm just starting out.” It's not true. If you have a business and not a hobby, you need to present yourself professionally and a good small business website is the best way to do that.
Let's look at the key benefits of having a website for your small business. The first one is professionalism, or being able to get your brand out there and build some credibility for your business. As I said before, if it's more than a hobby, then you want to present yourself as a professional business person. You can also use your website to get your brand name out there beyond just the word-of-mouth that you may be getting right now. In addition, if you use something like a blog, you can build authority in your industry and become a thought leader in your field.
The second benefit of having a website for your small business is that you own and control the content and the narrative. You have full design and brand control. You get to decide how to tell your story. And again, if social media goes down, your customers can still find you on your website.
Another great benefit to having your own small business website is that it will work for you 24/7. Hate making phone calls? Put a contact form on your site, get those emails and decide how to respond to them or easily filter them to a virtual assistant. Customers can also get your business's contact info and general information anytime, no matter where they are in the world. E-commerce sites can also make sales for you in your sleep, which is a great feeling!
Another great benefit of a small business website is that you have the opportunity for SEO and mobile optimization. Because Google actually favors local search results, your small business has the opportunity to compete with large brands and be found by local customers searching for exactly what you're offering. More than 50% of web traffic is now viewed on a mobile device. Mobile optimizing your website will lead to a better customer experience leading to more leads, sales, and business for you.
Another great benefit of having your own small business website is that you're able to build an email list. You could have a whole bunch of social media accounts with tons of followers, but you don't own them. They could disappear tomorrow, but you DO own your email list. And those are people that you can follow up with at any time. You can engage your customers and leads on your email list to build that Know Like and Trust factor and create a community that's ready to work with you and buy from you any time you have something new to share.
Now that you know how important it is for you to have a website for your business, it's time to start thinking about the goals you want your website to have. Note, you can have more than one!
The first goal you may have for your website is general brand recognition. You may want to get past the word-of-mouth advertising that you've been having before and be able to establish your brand and your Know Like, and Trust factor in your community.
Another goal you may have for your website is marketing and sales, whether that's e-commerce of physical or digital goods or you're marketing services, professional services, coaching, consulting, things like that. You may also want to use your website to build authority and trust. Blogging is a great way to do this. You can build your SEO for your site, as well as gain credibility in your industry and build Know Like, and Trust with your audience, all at the same time.
Another website goal that you may have is growing your audience or your email list, whether that's gaining new followers and building your email list or using a lead magnet, sales funnels, things like that.
Don't forget that a goal needs to be measurable. Otherwise, how will you know if you've met it? Are you going to look at increased sales or traffic on your website, more engagement on your blog posts, etc.
Be sure to come back next week for part two of this series where we're going to be looking at WHO is coming to your website. If you want to get a jumpstart on prepping for your website launch, be sure to grab my free website prep checklist HERE.
Let me know in the comments, are you thinking about creating or refreshing YOUR website soon?