Do I really need a website?

Sean Ross | Updated: 1 year ago

The Short Answer... Yes!

The Long Answer... Yes! In this era it is absolutely imperative that your business has its own website. Not a facebook page, not a directory listing on some other site; your business needs its own, professionally built website.

Isn't my facebook page enough?
Let me ask you a question. When you're looking for a business or a specific product, where do you go to look for it? Do you search facebook? Yell? For most people, its google! We google everything, what is the weather going to be like tomorrow?, give me a recipe for chocolate chip cookies, what is that numa numa guy up to these days? Seriously, what happened to that guy? We even google the name of companies we're looking for purely so we don't have to type in the full address.

So why wouldn't you have a website to direct those people in the direction of your amazing small business? Sure, your facebook page might show up in the results; if you're lucky. But usually that's just because there aren't any other businesses out there with their own websites that are targeting those search terms. And if people are searching for those terms, shouldn't they be able to find a business that does exactly what they are looking for, with a professional website that guides them to exactly where they want to be?

Don't get me wrong, facebook is a great way of keeping your customers updated with your latest products and services, but you need to be able to connect those customers to your business in the first place. Family and friends may be able to keep your small business afloat, but being able to reach new customers performing a basic google search for a business just like yours, will take it to the next level.

But none of my competitors have a website
Great! This should be music to your ears, because after all, that means you can dominate 100% of the market. Whether your competitors are capitalising on it or not, people are searching for businesses like yours every single day, and up until now, they haven't managed to find your business.

I need a website, but I can just use wordPress
Okay... so now that you're on the right track, you're possibly thinking about how to build your website. What do you do? Yup, you google it! And what comes up, well, usually it will be services such as wordPress, GoDaddy or Wix. These are incredibly powerful tools that let you build your own website either for free, or in exchange for a small fee. Great! You're online, you have your website. But wait, you're still not showing up on google, and of the visitors your site does get, hardly any are actually sticking around long enough to see your incredible merchandise.

Why isn't my website showing up on Google
This is usually the point where our customers get in touch with us, and ask us to fix it! They're doing everything right, they've got their website, they used a stunning template to make it look incredibly professional. So why aren't they showing up?

SEO! SEO stands for 'Search Engine Optimisation' and is the main reason you're still not showing up in the results. Search engine optimisation is all about getting your website up the ranks of the top search engines and making sure your business appears on the first page of the results, because seriously, who actually checks the second page on google. SEO usually comes down to three main categories; content, speed and usability!

Now, content is an easy fix, you've read up on it. You just need to make sure your website contains plenty of keywords and phrases, that match the search terms that people looking for your business are typing in. And in short, yes, that's exactly it! However, it's not just about using the common words that are typed into google, it's about using terminology and language that other businesses doing what you do are using. This way, google knows that your business falls into the same category as those the googler (yes, I made that word up) is looking for and will show your website alongside similar businesses.

How do I get ahead of my competitors
Now that you're showing in the same category as these other businesses, how you get ahead of them in the results? This is where speed and usability come in, and where your website builder falls down. Website builders are great for creating quick, pretty websites. However, they all come with some major flaws. One of those is speed.

Most website builders take a one-size-fits-all approach, meaning they build technology into their systems with features that may not suit you, but will suit someone else. This is called 'bloat'. Whilst you might not be using all the features that the website builder comes with, they code still lives on your website, and its severely affecting your websites speed. Imagine you open a cookbook looking for your favourite recipe, do you read every word on every page until you find the recipe you're looking for? Well your website does! Whether you're using the code or not, the browser still reads it before deciding that it's not necessary, and whilst you might not notice a second or two delay when loading your website, google does! And so do your customers.

Every millisecond your website takes to load is impacting your ranking on google. Google gives websites a raking based on speed, and factors that into their results. The faster your website, the more likely you are to be at the top of the search results. And for your customers, whilst you may be willing to wait a couple of seconds for your beautiful website to load, your customers aren't. Believe it or not, most people abandon a website if its takes longer than 2 seconds to load (and that number is falling!). Don't believe me? Try it! Go to one of your favourite websites and count how long it takes to load. Then imagine it taking twice that long. You would think something was wrong right? On average, only 15 seconds are spent on any single webpage. This means you've only got 15 seconds to convince your visitor that your business is right for them. So why would you want to take up most of that time waiting for the site to load.

Now that you're thinking more about what visitors to your site are actually looking for, we need to think about how they are looking for it. More and more web users are now using mobile phones as there main browsing device and this is having a massive impact on your website. Google ranks a website much higher if it is mobile friendly, or 'responsive'. Notice how on almost all of your most used websites, the content scales to the size of device you're using. This isn't magic, and you shouldn't assume your website builder has it built in.

I know what the problem is, but what can I do about it?
So now you know why your website isn't as high on Google as you want it to be. But what can you actually do about it? The easy answer, hire a web developer. Web developers aren't just code monkeys. Usually, they've dealt with dozens of websites just like yours and they know exactly how to fix it. Did you know that 75% of your customers are judging your businesses credibility based on your website? Did you know 46% percent of them will leave your website if its not immediately clear what your company does? And that 37% will leave due to poor navigation or design?

Whilst your website might look pretty, you need to ask yourself whether it's actually usable. This is where your web developer can help. Web developers have built careers focusing solely on usability. And it isn't something that can be taken lightly. After all, 88% of users say they are less likely to return to a website if they've had a single bad experience.

Okay, Okay, I get it. But all of this costs money
Yes, it does. But in most cases it pays for itself. Every business we have worked for has experienced growth since taking their business online. One case study we carried out saw the business in question generate 20% more turnover compared to the previous year, within 12 months of of their website going live. They had a facebook page, twitter, instagram and had been advertising in local magazines and newspapers for years.

Another client came to us saying that they had a website, but it was slow and slipping down the ranks on Google. After we rebuilt their website on a custom platform, they went from a couple of appointments a day, to having to extend their opening hours to meet demands!

So by now, if I've still not convinced you that your business needs a website, you should consider whether the 56% of small businesses who do have a website are wrong, or if it's worth getting ahead of the 44% who still don't have one!

Published Wed, Oct 28, 2020 9:00 PM

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