9 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Website

When an average person thinks about a website for business, he/she usually fancies a site serving traditional functions of announcing the business’ existence and offering information on its location, services/products and possibly prices. Not many know that a modern website or online shop can be not only a 24/7 source of information about the business venture or a mere online shopping outlet but also a great tool that attracts visitors and converts them into buyers at a new level made possible by cutting-edge technologies.

website design for business
Image credit: Freepik.com

It is time to take a fresh look at why 21st-century entrepreneurs would need a professional website to grow their businesses and make more money. We are going to recall some old-school functions of the online presence as well as to learn some new features that have been implemented for businesses by modern web designers and developers.

Demonstrating Professionalism

Frankly speaking, many businesses, especially small ones, can do without websites. They easily content themselves with the web presence offered by social networks like Facebook or by business listing and review sites such as Yelp and Angie's List. Many small vendors sell their products through Amazon without having their online store built. So online business without a website is possible. However, one will need to think of an advanced brand identity as well as a professional look and feel of the company as the business grows. An expertly built website is an essential part of the modern business’ brand and one of the most valuable tools that help entrepreneurs use the full potential of their ventures. Moreover, today’s websites can be equipped with features that add value to your business and help better convert the Internet traffic into sales.

Businesses that have nice looking websites inspire trust and are more competitive on the market. A solid entrepreneur simply cannot make a client trust his/her business today without a high-quality web presence. By having a professional website designed, the entrepreneur shows he/she cares about his/her brand and business reputation. Adding more functionality to the site will make the company stand out from the competition.

So social media may suffice for new small businesses, but sooner or later entrepreneurs will have to consider having a corporate website or online store designed to professionally represent their companies online. It is about how the online face of the business looks to customers living in the digital era. A business without a website cannot project a compelling and trustworthy image. A reliable brand cannot be built with only social networks or with some cooky-cutting website. It’s hard to find a successful company that does not owe at least a part of its success to its professional web presence that includes a high-quality custom website.

Reaching Global Market

If a business addresses the international market, having a professional website is a must. First of all, looking professional is a matter of prestige and trust which are one of the basic prerequisites for a successful international business. Secondly, a professional website allows for localization. Such site can automatically offer different content in different languages depending on visitors’ location. No doubt, a feature like this requires the involvement of experienced web developers and designers.

When targeting prospects on the global market, the key to success could be search engine optimization (SEO) that can help entrepreneurs get traffic from search engines like Google. It is really hard to succeed with search engine rankings without content marketing. It means entrepreneurs have to publish as much relevant content on their websites as possible to offer Google and other search engines enough content and information about their products or services to outrank their business rivals. The more content the site owners publish, the more chances he/she gets to receive links back to their sites from other websites which will add to their domains authority in the eyes of Google. They will most probably have to integrate blogs into their sites to compete for search engine traffic. SEO is considered to be one of the best marketing methods in terms of ROI but it can be done effectively only if you own a website.

Tips:

  • Make sure your website is mobile friendly
  • Learn what SEO is in more details and optimise your website for search engines
  • Create and regularly update your business blog
  • Localize your site for your biggest markets

Targeting Local Market

Many small-size companies working within their local market successfully run their activities without own websites. They only use social networks and their local business listing platforms to address their customers. However, a significant part of local firms understood that owning a website could add lots of value to their businesses. There are at least a few reasons why local entrepreneurs hire web designers and developers to build the self-hosted web presence for their businesses. Here are some key benefits that make them realize the importance of professional websites:

  • Unlike social media pages, self-hosted websites are highly flexible for branding, customization and creating the necessary look and feel to appeal to the target audience
  • Self-hosted websites offer better possibilities for SEO including the usage of an integrated business blog, Schema markup etc.
  • A shopping cart and payment gateways can be integrated into the website to let customers easily purchase products or services online
  • The customizable website has a better layout to display product catalogues, price lists, restaurant menus and whatnot which considerably improves the user experience
  • A professionally looking website adds to business value and credibility in the eyes of customers, partners and investors

That is why even if a local entrepreneur starts a company without a site, it is only a matter of time when he/she realizes the need for a professional website for a better business future. Being present only in local business listings, Google reviews, Better Business Bureau, Yelp or any other review site with thousands of listed businesses and probably dozens of entrepreneur's competitors neither make his/her business unique nor provides enough information about the company for potential customers. No wonder that 83% of US consumers consider having a website and being active on social media as important factors when choosing a small business .

There are people who deliberately choose not to join social networks. Those are elderly people or those who think social media make them procrastinate too much so they have to stop or abstain from using Facebook and other popular social networks. If a business’ online presence is limited to pages on social networks, there is a barrier between some potential customers and the business.

Some people deliberately decide not to join social networks. Those are elderly people or those who think social media make them procrastinate too much so they have to stop or abstain from using Facebook and other popular social networks. If a business’ online presence is limited to pages on social networks, there is a barrier between some potential customers and the business.

Showcasing Products

A well-structured website is an ideal place to display products. One can add the entire product catalogue embracing thousands of items that would be very problematic to display anywhere else. Having a website is the best way to show the extensive amount of inventory, restaurant’s menus, product options etc.

There are some state-of-the-art ways to display products on modern websites:

  • Virtual try-on allows customers to instantly see how they would look wearing a pair of eyeglasses, clothes or a hairstyle before paying for the product / service. Some businesses selling wheels and tyres use virtual wheel visualizers to let customers see wheels on their cars before buying.
  • Virtual try-on for an online store
    The virtual try-on functionality integrated by QuartSoft into an eyewear vendor’s website

    Virtual wheel visualizer for an online store selling wheels and tyres
    Virtual wheel visualizer created by QuartSoft for a company selling wheels and tyres
  • Virtual tours are great for real estate businesses as they make it possible for potential buyers to explore inside and outside of a property even before they have a chance to visit the place. The virtual tour solution is also ideal for property rental businesses, museums, event organizers and many other businesses
  • Motion animation that allows displaying physical products with a 3D effect. In many cases the ability to see products from different angles has a significant impact on online shoppers’ purchase decision.
  • Motion animation to showcase products in an eCommerce store
    Motion animation creates a beautiful 3D effect for better product showcasing
  • All kinds of rotating banners, carousels and slideshows can be used to draw attention to multiple products on a relatively small area on a web page

Grabbing Customers’ Attention

The above-mentioned advanced product displaying methods can serve as attention grabbers to form a positive first impression of the company with potential buyers and make the venture stand out from competitive businesses. Attention can cause interest, and interest can lead to a purchase. There are other ways to grab customers’ attention using a website:

  • Engaging blog posts with attention grabbing headlines attract more clients and links back to the site from other resources
  • An interesting video (such as an animated explainer video) integrated into the home page can easily grab prospects’ attention and retain them on the site longer to learn more and potentially get interested in the company's offerings and activities
  • No other online resource can match a self-hosted website in the ability to customize the layout and the creative usage of graphics. Efficient use of images can provide a more riveting visual experience and create a memorable brand that attracts customers. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.
  • Online store, extra large images on website
    High quality extra large images can create a positive impression of your products. Image source: McLellan Jacobs

    Pictures of the design and production process on an online shop
    Pictures of the design and production process inspire trust in customers and make the brand more human. Such images create a rational appeal. Image source: Wootten

    Appealing character for an online store
    Appealing characters make a positive impression of your brand. Such images create a rational appeal. Image source: Coucou

    colorful illustrative website design for online store
    A colorful, illustrative design can create an emotional appeal for the brand or products. Image source: Torie and Howard
  • Value-adding features are an excellent way to grab customers’ attention and make your brand look more professional and trustful. One of the examples of such tools is interactive cost calculators that allow customers to determine an estimated cost of services or related expenses.
  • interactive cost calculator for an online business
    Bayswater Car Rental website has a fuel cost calculator that can be very useful for potential customers as well as helps the business stand out from the crowd.

Tracking Your Success

When owning a self-hosted website an entrepreneur can add useful third-party analytics to track the online business performance. There is quite a number of tracking instruments from the free and powerful Google Analytics offering tons of data to the paid services like Crazy Egg generating heatmaps to visualize visitors activities on the website. Detailed analytics let the business person determine the strong and weak points of the business to make some tweaks in order to improve the site’s conversion rate. The website owner has all the controls over the content, design and layout to make necessary adjustments based on a great deal of metrics and insights revealed by integrated analytics tools.

Automating and Streamlining Online Sales

Selling products or services is the ultimate goal of any business. So a website should be one of the tools that facilitate sales. In fact, a professionally built website is one of the best sales-boosting tools an entrepreneur can get. A professional eCommerce website can have the entire arsenal of tools for enhancing business productivity by automating and streamlining online sales. Today’s eCommerce platforms and third-party developers offer quite a few features that allow:

  • automatic adding of new customers’ emails into the mailing list for improved marketing
  • automatic adding of new orders details into a task manager and to-do list for employees
  • automatic sending of personalized welcome/thank you emails to new buyers
  • automatic input of sales data into spreadsheets for accounting and order tracking purposes
  • bulk order processing (invoicing, shipping, changing status etc.)
  • and many more useful automatic functionalities

A professional digital commerce website can automate an online business all the way from marketing to shipment label printing. The productivity enhancement like this helps entrepreneurs handle their eCommerce routine as well as avoid errors and save staff time, thus boosting their bottom line.

Gaining Ground on Competition

When an entrepreneur starts a business in a competitive field, he/she can gain some ground at the outset by building a website as good or even better than that of competitors. When hiring web design and development help, the entrepreneur can sit down with experts to discuss how to make a more appealing and customer-oriented web presence based on what competitors already have.

Offering Better Customer Support

Good websites can provide the 24/7 support for customers. They work as tireless salespersons. There are some ways to keep customers informed and updated on the business activities and offerings:

  • Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
  • Live online chats
  • Integrated maps and driving instructions
  • Downloadable product user manuals
  • Request forms
  • Online price calculators
  • Newsletter subscriptions
  • Tutorials
  • Expert articles and videos

Just like the appealing look and feel of a website, the top-notch customer support can create a positive impression of the business. And, as a rule, a positive impression is the first step in acquiring loyal clients and referral leads.

A professional website can bring lots of value to the business as well as project a compelling and trustworthy image. Websites are businesses’ online headquarters that are always there for customers to get information and buy products. Ignoring to invest in a high quality site can lead to losing business to competitors. If you are looking for an expert help with designing and developing a corporate website or online store for your company, our team of professionals can assist you with building your online presence that includes cutting-edge eCommerce, branding and marketing capabilities.

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