When you start a business, there are some things you will need to consider very carefully indeed. There are some things that are absolutely necessary in order for you to succeed, and they must be in place before you launch in order to make a great first impression. In business, it is these first impressions that really can make the difference between success and failure.
Having a website and ensuring that it will gain you customers and sales is one of these important elements. Here are the reasons why your business must have a website and why you need to keep it up to date and user-friendly.
Putting Your Customers First
If you have a great website that is easy to navigate, includes all the information anyone might need about you and about your products, and that looks good, you will be showing that you are thinking of your customers rather than yourself. Make it all about the customer experience instead of your own tastes and preferences, and suddenly you will have a supremely useful sales tool that actually works.
Any business that is able to put its customers first is already working on a winning formula. Even if you don’t think it has been noticed, the majority of people who are thinking of buying from you will know whether your business is about helping them or about helping you; the former is impressive, and the latter is off-putting.
Make The Buying Decision Easier
Having a website is like having a virtual store front. You want people to see something they like and buy it. Unlike in a store, buyers are unable to touch the items, use them, or get a sense of what they are like. Therefore, giving them as much information as possible is crucial. This should include any specifications such as:
- How to use the product (this could be in the form of a video)
- What it does
- How it will be shipped
Without this information, customers are most likely to search elsewhere to find it. If they find it on a different site that they prefer, that is cheaper, or that just gives them what they need, that’s where they will buy it. By giving them the information required ahead of time, customers are more likely to remain on your site and buy from you.
In a world where it is growing increasingly easy to create a business and launch with hardly any money or effort, it is vital that your business stands out. If not, you will get lost in a very big crowd and eventually you will find that your business is drowned out completely.
Your website is your chance to show that you are different – even that you are unique. Invest in software development so that your site offers users something they haven’t seen before, and bring that software into your business so that it becomes a core component and selling point for you. It could be a booking system or a way to show customers exactly how they would look wearing the clothing you are selling, for example.
You can also show the human side of your business, again being different from everyone else and ensuring that you are liked by the community and those who are buying from you. This is an important part of business that many entrepreneurs forget; people like to buy from people, not from corporate entities. They want to know that their concerns and needs will be met, that they are ‘helping’ a real person by buying from them, and that, should something go wrong, there is someone who they can turn to. Prove all of this using your website, and you will find that you are able to make more sales.
You’re More Trustworthy
For many customers, a business that does not have an online presence, particularly if they don’t have a website, will be difficult to trust. Since it is so easy to create a website, the fact that a business doesn’t have one doesn’t look good.
It will make anyone trying to find out more about that business in order to buy from them concerned that there is something amiss and something that needs to be hidden. Not only that, but when people are searching online for that business without a website they clearly won’t find it, but they will find plenty of competitors, and they’ll buy from them instead.
A website shows that you intend to grow your business, that you want people to know about it, and that you aren’t trying to hide anything. Getting a website right takes time and effort, and sometimes it can take a lot of money, so if you have done this, it shows that you are taking your business seriously, and that will help others to do the same.
With so many people preferring to buy online rather than in a physical store thanks to the convenience and low prices that this offers, if you haven’t got a website you can make additional money from, you are potentially missing out on a big slice of revenue.
It will, of course, depend on what you are selling, but if you can set up an online store that is as automated as possible (while still offering users that personal touch we mentioned earlier) then you will be able to make money even when you are on vacation, sick, or – if your business is something you are running on the side while you work in a full-time job – while you are working too.
Even if you can’t sell your products or services online because they can’t be shipped or you need to visit the customer in order to measure up or do the work, for example, you can still make money from your site through advertising. Think carefully about this because too much advertising will be off putting for customers, but if you get the balance right you can earn an additional revenue stream even if you aren’t selling directly from your website.