What’s The Importance Of A Website? Start-ups, This One’s For You!Kenneth Nel
One Mississippi, two Mississippi….That’s how I learned to count seconds as a child. So, please indulge me here for a second and say “one Mississippi” out loud. Did you do it? Now think about this: In that one second, in the time it took you to say “one Mississippi,” Google processed 40 000 search queries. By the time you’d finished reading that sentence, it had processed over 100 000 more.
The numbers are pretty hard to get your head around, but they’re impossible to ignore. Google processes over 3.5 billion search queries every single day. How? In its own words, “Google ranking systems sort through the hundreds of billions of web pages in our Search index to give you useful and relevant results in a fraction of a second.”
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The key word there is “webpages.” As in, “pages of your website.” What? Your business doesn’t have a website? Well then, how on Earth will Google ever find it? Google dominates the search engine landscape, with over 77% of all searches conducted through this powerhouse of a search engine. That’s a 10% increase in the last year alone. So, it’s probably safe to say that if Google can’t find your business, potential customers can’t either. No customers = no money = no business.
So then why is it that almost two million businesses in the UK still don’t have a website?
Yes, dear reader, you read that correctly. Two. Million. Businesses. According to the above article, between them, these businesses lose a staggering total of over £343 billion annually by not having a website. That is billion. With a ‘b.’ Every. Single. Year. The same article reveals that start-ups and small businesses stand to make an additional £106 billion per year – simply by introducing a website.
The Importance of A Website For Your Start-Up
Seriously, people, I cannot overstate the importance of a website. Start-up businesses especially need all the help they can get making their company as visible as possible to as many people as possible. I understand that launching a new business is daunting and, quite frankly terrifying. You have limited resources and a million things clamouring for a share of them. You simply don’t have the big marketing budget of your longer-established competition.
But this is actually more of a reason than ever to have a well-designed website. One of the best things about living in the Internet age is that digital marketing gives you an affordable platform from which to promote your product or service – even if you’re a humble, cash-strapped start-up. It’s also a great way to add value for your customers by incorporating blogs, videos and other additional content on subject that interest them.
Forgive me for being brutally honest here for a second, but it’s time to put on your big girl pants. Over 80 percent of consumers do online research before buying anything, and reports show that they’re far more likely to trust a brand that has a quality website. So, if your business doesn’t have a website, the chances of it showing up on Google’s results page are zero. Zero. As in nil. But if you have a website, and it’s optimised correctly, your chances of appearing in the top half of Google’s search results greatly increase. As do the chances of consumers finding and trusting your brand.
Social Media vs Website
Many start-ups forgo a website in favour of using social media as a promotional channel. The reasons for this are easy to understand. A Facebook account, for example, is easy – and free – to set up, and allows you to interact directly with both existing and potential customers. There’s no denying that Facebook, and social media in general, should be a vital part of any business’ digital marketing strategy. (Later on, I’ll tell you more about how you can become a Facebook Rock Star!) It cannot, however, and indeed should not take the place of your website.
The main reason for this is that consumers aren’t, for the most part, used to making purchases through social media channels. In addition, by using social media as your only marketing channel, you run the very real risk of your content not being seen by your intended audience. Social media is a very fast-paced and dynamic environment, meaning business content has a very short shelf-life.
A website, on the other hand, is like a trusted friend. It’s always there when you need it, doing the work, promoting your brand, completely impervious to faddy trends and short-lived flavours of the month. It’s also like the Mum who stays up in her dressing gown to welcome you home when you’ve been out with your trendy friends. How good does it feel when you step out of the cold into your warm home, to be greeted by a mug of hot chocolate and two headache tablets? Web sites are the Mums of the online world. Safe, reliable, trustworthy and always putting your interests first.
The Best Of Both Worlds
I can guarantee that big businesses don’t only have social media, or only have a website. They use both. It’s all about the harmony – making every element of your digital marketing effort work together.
Using both social media and your website is a mutual back-scratching exercise. The content you create for your social campaign can generate increased interest in your website. Web sites, in turn, provide a home for all your social content. Your website is, without a doubt, the bedrock of all your digital marketing efforts.
So, Stop Making Excuses – Your Start-up Needs A Website!
In this interesting survey of small business marketing, findings revealed that the two main reasons why so many start-ups don’t have a website are that it’s too expensive, and that it’s not relevant to their business. What kind of sorcery is this? “Not relevant to their business?” Since when are more sales not relevant? And who knew increased brand awareness and building customer trust weren’t relevant?
Please give me a few moments while I pick my jaw back up off the floor.
As for the issue of cost, it’s the age-old story, really. Can you afford NOT to have a website? Perhaps take another look at the 4th paragraph of this blog. The one in which I mention that if all small businesses in the UK had websites, the increase in total revenue would be over a billion Pounds.
Websites vary hugely in price, depending on how complex you want or need it to be. But a basic website (at the bare minimum) should be part of every start-up’s budget. Unlike toilet paper and washing powder, websites are not grudge purchases. They’re probably the most valuable marketing tools you will ever have. So, if you don’t already have one, put one on your Christmas list right now!
What Are The Main Benefits Of A Website for Start-ups?
A business website is easy to set up and gives you the perfect platform from which to launch your company out into the world. Other key benefits include:
- Cheaper than setting up a bricks and mortar business. If your start-up is only online, your website is like the front window of your shop.
- Non-stop promotion of your business. Your website never closes, offering 24-hour access to your business to both local and long distance or even international customers.
- Trackable results. Using analytics software, you can track and measure the success of every page of your site.
- Low maintenance. Periodic checks to make sure links and tabs still work is all that’s needed to keep your site functioning properly. Regularly adding quality content in the form of blogs, articles or videos, for example, helps keep your ranking high.
Don’t Be Tempted To DIY
It’s unarguably cheaper to build your own website, and there are many free templates available. But please try to avoid falling into this trap. Unless you have a significant degree of expertise in website design, the end result is always going to look, well, like you don’t have a significant degree of expertise in website design! And a badly designed website is worse than having none at all. Without a website, no one can find you, but with a bad website, people could find you and think “eeeeeew.” It’s hard to come back from that.
A professional web designer is definitely the way to go and is well worth the investment. They will usually also take care of additional aspects, such as arranging hosting, and registering your domain name. You can ask for a full breakdown of costs before making a commitment. It’s also possible for you to update the site once it’s live, and this saves considerable costs.
How Would You Like To Be A Facebook Rock Star?
Earlier on in this blog, while we were chatting about social media, I mentioned that I would tell you all about how you can master Facebook and become a total social media ninja! So, here I am, about to do just that!
Did you know that Facebook has over two billion active users? This means it’s the world’s largest social media platform, and it’s getting more and more popular all the time. On average, 20 million new users sign up for Facebook every single month! This is why you absolutely cannot NOT use Facebook as part of your social media strategy for your start-up.
How? Easy! All you need is the Facebook Rock Star programme from The Digital Coach. Is this the only Facebook training programme you will ever need? Abso-darn-lutely!
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