Your business website is valuable, but do you know why?

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According to a digital marketing study done by Clutch, about 25% of the businesses surveyed don’t have a website and an even smaller percentage don’t plan on having one. Most small business owners that I speak with who don’t have a site up yet say something like, “I know we need a website.” When I ask them why they need a website, the answer is often, “Because we don’t have one!” Herein lies the problem – many small business owners don’t actually know why they need one and how to make that site a valuable piece of their marketing.

You may already have an internet presence …

Maybe the business owner signed up for a Facebook page and never got much further than that, or because they filed a DBA or purchased a phone book ad, or a myriad of other reasons, their business contact information ended up on the web. Some satisfied (or dissatisfied) customers might have left a review on Facebook, Google+, Yelp, Angie’s List, or any of the other sites that list reviews. This leads me to the first reason why your business should have its own website: control of information. 

It seems basic, but if you have your own website, you have total control over the information on that site. As your business evolves and changes, so should your website. The information on it should be accurate, up to date, and helpful for your target audience. All other sites on the internet where your information may appear should be secondary. 

What do you want your customers to do?

Another top reason why your small business needs a website, is to answer this question. Always remember that your website is part of your overall brand and marketing. Your website needs to drive visitors to take an action. Most often, that action is going to be to somehow make contact or make a purchase from your business. Even secondary actions such as downloading a helpful ebook, is still marketing that is serving a purpose and helping to establish trust and get people on board to eventually make that initial contact with your business. 

Not being able to answer this fundamental question can greatly affect the success of your business website, even if you’ve done some heavy duty online marketing to drive targeted traffic to it. If people are confused when they arrive at your site, or they don’t find the information they need, they’ll be gone in 2 seconds. 

Don’t expect to just, “be successful”, by having a website.

I know some small business people who basically just want to cross off, “put up a website” on their to-do list and move on to the next task.  

A major goal with websites is to  have that site work FOR your business. I rarely hear this as a response to that, “why does your business need a website” question. It may be some unspoken thing. I’m sure business owners have it somewhere in their minds that a website has the potential help their business be more successful, but simply putting it up is not how it happens.

I’ve written other articles on how to map out some goals for your website (check out, “How to Determine Goals for an Effective Website Project“) but you don’t just build a great website and hope people will see it. There are a billion websites out on the internet, so if you’re not doing any other forms of marketing to make that website work for you and reach the intended market, it won’t do it by itself. 

Remember, a website itself is an investment in your business, so be sure to give yourself the best odds of seeing a return on that investment by properly marketing the site. For some help with that, check out some of our other articles under Online Marketing.

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