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Since web pages were introduced to the public in 1991, the internet has revolutionized the whole of society – and we’ve never looked back. Fast forward to 2020, the 5 most valuable brands are now Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook. All 5 of these companies owe their success to the tremendous rise of the digital age and these head-spinning website stats back it up:

  • Almost 90% of UK shoppers use the eCommerce retail giant, Amazon.
  • Apple.com (UK database only) gets around the same number of visits in 2 months as there are people in the UK.
  • Facebook, the biggest of social media platforms, has over 2.6 billion active users.

In short, websites are important for:

  • Sales
  • Social media
  • Search engines
  • Advertising
  • Customer service
  • Visibility
  • Credibility

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg…

We use websites to find information, buy products, book events, and connect with people everywhere and every day. Despite the success of early adopters, many smaller businesses are still reluctant to fully embrace it. Give us a brief moment to demonstrate why having a great website is not only important, it might even be essential for the long-term survival of your business.

In fact, let’s take a deep dive into survival first…Here’s why your business needs a website.

 

Websites are important for accessibility

Simply having a website won’t create a surge of visitors but it certainly puts you on the map – figuratively and literally.

Websites are the main point of access to anyone using the internet. Over 42 million people in the UK use search engines like Google every month to find information, brands, or products and services. Every time someone searches Google for anything related to what you offer, they see a list of web pages going to your competitors. Without a website, your business isn’t even an option for the countless people who use search engines to help make a purchase decision.

But even if you already have one, search engines need to find and rank your site above the rest. Most people never browse beyond the top 10 results. That’s why search engine optimisation (SEO) is important for any online business activity.

Go from zero to hero with our SEO guide for beginners.

For every sale you’ve ever made, there’s a customer journey involved. On average, consumers spend 6h 42m per day on the internet (proof that screens DON’T make your eyes go square). Some use desktop, others mobile. Whether they’re on social media, playing games or reading articles, these are all avenues for creating brand awareness and lead people back to your site; for example, through adverts and backlinks. Your website is the central hub to convert strangers into being aware, interested, engaged, and eventually, customers. Furthermore, anyone who wants to get in touch with you will have access to a contact name, number, address, email and enquiry form.

 

A website provides credibility

Consumers have endless choices when deciding what to buy. Word of mouth goes a long way, but the days of calling up business card numbers and impulse purchasing unknown goods/services are dwindling. People are constantly exposed to brands on social media and being bombarded with valuable content trying to win them over. They no longer need (or want) to rely on blind faith. Their purchase decision may seem quick, but in reality, consumers have usually researched and compared different prices, functionality, reputation and other factors long before.

Would you trust the number from a plumber’s van or Yell page on first impression if they didn’t have a website? The majority don’t. Especially as the stakes get higher.

Well…Maybe we’ll trust just this one van.

When there are other plumbers with websites detailing exactly what they do and have done for others, people get a far superior first impression and feeling of being in safe hands.

Why browse house listings at an estate agent with sales reps hovering around when you can view more expansive online catalogues from the comfort of your bed? Convenience is key.

After the first point of contact in the real world, if interested, potential buyers will usually seek your company website. For example, Ferndale Garden Centre, a local company in Dronfield, gets 1600 Google searches each month. Searchers already know who Ferndale are and want to find their website for more information.

The most basic purpose of a website is for people to see that you are who you say you are. It adds legitimacy to your business.

Without one, you’re relying on a slither of the population to spread the word instead of building up trust online with lots of strangers over time. The latter is more in your control to get new customers. In the future, people will have less exposure to your offline business and marketing activity. They are quickly substituting office commutes for home working; physical meetings for virtual meetings; crowded events for local gatherings. Failure to develop an online presence may eventually isolate you from reaching more and more customers.

But you can go much further than merely having a presence. It’s important how your website looks and functions because that affects how your business is perceived. Amazing website design with fast performance and easy navigation play a more important role in your brand reputation and marketing than almost anything else you will do.

Here’s why you want a great website.

 

Websites increase leads and sales

Your website is the main driver to convert people into quality leads and increase your sales. With the right digital marketing strategy, you’ll do more than attract thousands of monthly visitors. Most of your content is situated here. The more time people spend consuming your content, the more familiar they become, the more value they get, and that builds trust. Once you’ve won visitors over, they may feel inspired to sign up to your newsletter to receive more. These email subscribers are people who are actively interested in your brand. Since they are engaged, they’re more likely to actually buy when you try selling to them.

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Websites improve customer satisfaction

Running a business can be high pressure, fast-paced and time-sensitive. Customers and prospects who may need assistance will soon become agitated at you for delaying contact with them. Poor customer service can easily cause people to switch to your competitors. Websites help avoid this by offering several lines of support. They can even resolve people’s queries and help sell products for you.

You can create FAQ’s, a knowledge base, ticket support, live chat, chatbots, written guides and video tutorials to aid your team and improve customer experience. When you have help available on your site, you can direct people to relevant pages to guide them, which saves you time and headache.

“93% of customers are likely to make repeat purchases with companies who offer excellent customer service.” (HubSpot Research)

Web support is no longer just a luxury to delight customers, though. It’s something they are starting to expect. Having web support systems in place will help you dodge a negative reputation because you reduce the risk of dissatisfaction. Some of the most hated companies for customer service are energy companies who force people to call them and wait on hold.

“Over half (59%) of buyers expect a response within 30 minutes when they want to learn more about a business’ product or service. That number rises to 72% when they’re looking for customer support and 75% when they want to speak with a salesperson.” (Hubspot Research)

Also, look on the bright side! Sweeping people off their feet with stellar content and customer experience will have them singing songs about your business. Especially if it’s better than your competitors. The reviews will start to roll in, creating word of mouth, social proof and loyalty. People aren’t always buying a high-quality product or service. Sometimes they want to feel good about using your brand or have a sense of belonging. This is also why storytelling marketing can be a powerful tool.

 

A Website is important for scalability

Never underestimate the power of scaling your business online. Physical shops are often restrained by stock limitations, store capacity, staff, weather, and footfall to name a few things.

Here are some benefits of a website compared to a shop:

  • Much cheaper to run than premises
  • Faster, more flexible supply chains
  • Less staff required
  • Fewer stock limitations
  • Not restricted to specific locations
  • Easier to automate and maintain
  • Better data collection and insights

 

Before you go, keep this in mind:

Oxford Street in London, one of Europe’s busiest streets, has an average footfall of 13,560 people an hour. Crazy! Right? Assuming 5% entered a shop for 11 working hours each day (a gross overestimation), over 30 days that shop would get just shy of 600,000 visitors. By contrast, Tesla, an electric car manufacturer, gets footfall of around 12.4 million each month to their website.

How about revered department shops like John Lewis? Footfall on any street would be dwarfed by their 14.5 million monthly UK website traffic.

Digital newcomers like eCommerce fashion retailer, Boohoo, have become so popular that they’re now acquiring struggling high street brands such as Oasis and Warehouse – for peanuts. Entire business franchises who are failing to adapt online are slowly being swallowed up. Complacency and delaying digital growth only makes it more difficult to catch up with competitors who are taking action right now. Strike while the iron is hot and the odds are still in your favour.

Websites are a great investment for any type of business and can always be improved to get more customers. Our web design team have built everything from small brochure-style sites to international e-commerce brands. For our latest project, we developed a website for Electrical Safety UK, leaders in electrical safety management.

Want to review your current website? Contact us for an audit.

Think it might be time for a new website? Get in touch for a free consultation and quote.

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