Did your mom ever say to you, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? Mom we love you, but unfortunately, we can’t help not to judge a book by its cover when we’re talking about websites. I’m certainly not insinuating that a company is not a great company that doesn’t have a good website, but to potential customers it does establish a preconceived notion before ever speaking to the business. How many times have you not done business with a company because their website left a lot to be desired? For me, it’s too many to count. The simple reason is that the website didn’t give me the information I needed when I wanted it and someone else’s did. As a matter of fact, just this week I was looking for caterers for an event I’m hosting out of state. I found several via Google and looked over all of them. After speaking to all of the caterers, I found that I had a bit of a bias toward the one that had the better website and that’s who I ultimately ended up choosing.
I have to say they were all equally knowledgeable, friendly and helpful, but the caterer with the better website that gave me the most information before I even spoke to them had already established a dominant and positive presence in my mind. That my friends is one of the most powerful marketing tools money can buy. My family is in real estate and new home construction and having a great and informative website is crucial to that industry particularly now that Millennials are becoming the majority of buyers.
Although I’m technically a Gen Xer, I find my buying habits and thinking more along the lines of a Millennial. I’m short on time just like everyone else and I want to gather as much information on my own as possible before I actually speak with anyone. This means the website absolutely has to be user-friendly, informative without being overwhelming and wordy, and be aesthetically pleasing all rolled into one. If I have to start trying to figure out how to find information or how to purchase something, I’m probably going to move on to the next company with a simple click. Just like that, I’m looking at the competitor, which could be in another state or country for that matter. Business owners you have to get in the mindset that your competition is no longer down the block in a brick and mortar storefront. Your competition is halfway across the country and the world.
Today’s marketplace is more competitive than it has ever been. Additionally, businesses have less time than ever to make a good impression on customers. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been in business for decades or not, if you don’t have a great online presence you are losing potential customers every day. If you think you can’t afford to invest in a good website and web designer. You can’t afford not to. I get it, we’re small business owners too and biting the bullet initially to invest in our website, was a hard one, but has it ever paid off. We have multiple clients tell us they chose our construction business because we had a good website that they were able to see our work before interviewing us. Wow! My husband’s family has been building new homes for nearly 40 years and to think if we would not have invested that money we would have lost clients is scary. What ever happened to do a good job for someone, they tell someone else, and then you get their business? It’s absolutely still there, but there is a new element to “word of mouth”. It’s your website. It needs to stand out and tell your story for you.
Many business owners think that having a social media presence is the same thing as having a solid online presence. That couldn’t be more wrong. Yes, you absolutely need a social media presence in addition to your website. It all needs to work together. These two things work together to make your business great. According to an article on Forbes.com, “Unfortunately, those who chose such direction [social media only] may be missing out on the true value of having one’s own, well-defined space on the Web” (Newtek-Your Business Solutions Company). The article went on to discuss the value of a domain for your small business.
“The value of a domain for a small business is far more significant than many realize. Not only does it provide the foundation for one’s home page, but it can also be used to point to one’s Facebook or other social media site. It may even be used for branded email – a hallmark for ‘real’ businesses.”
I’m one thousand percent guilty of checking to see if a company’s email address coincides with their web address. If it doesn’t, then their credibility automatically goes down a little in my book. This is yet another value of hiring a good web designer, they know this stuff and they will take care of it for you. They think like an online consumer, because, well, that’s their job. If they don’t, then you’re not dealing with the right web designer.
The desire to have an online presence via a great website has shifted to a necessity. We’re living and doing business in a global world. I have done business with small business owners all over the United States and other countries that I would have never been able to in the past. It’s really actually quite amazing that I’m able to find just what I’m looking for and it doesn’t really matter where the business is. Wal Mart has recently started buying small online companies to amp up their online shopping division to compete with Amazon. If a business like Wal-Mart realizes the value of a great online shopping experience, then why shouldn’t you? We’re talking about a business that nearly one-third of the US population actually walks into their brick and mortar store every week (Sehgal, Business Insider). Love or hate them, they know just what to do to build a thriving business. As small business owners, we can take clues from them.
Takeaways for building a great website:
- Hire a professional with a proven track-record. Look at other websites they’ve done.
- Know what you want, but LISTEN to your web designer’s advice. You’re paying for their expertise.
- Give the web designer crucial information about your business. You know your business better than anyone does. Building a great website is a team effort between you and your designer. A little bit of work on your end in the beginning will pay off later.
- Keep your website fresh. Once the website is finished, don’t allow it to go stagnant. Keep information updated and pertinent. Drive potential customers to your website with a monthly blog.
The bottom line is to hire a professional to build your website and work with them to create the best first impression possible for your business. CyberSpyder Marketing Services can help you with these things. Give them a call right now at 479.782.0005 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.