Your small business website is your most important communications asset.
A small business website is proven to be a highly consulted and reputable source of information. The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) found that 81% of their respondents consulted a company website when seeking information about a product or a service. The BDC also said that a small business website is the most influential source of information at 69%, followed by the respondent’s business network (61%) and then by employees (36%).
In addition to being a reference source, websites are also useful for follow up after networking. We give and collect business cards, and know that if we are interested in someone’s business, we can visit their website. If we have questions, or wish to develop a business relationship, we might find answers or common conversation ground from a company website.
A small business website will:
- Establish your professional online presence;
- Enhance your credibility, and;
- Reinforce your brand.
People will use your website to:
- Research your specific offerings;
- Reinforce their in-person impressions, and;
- Learn more about your business in general.
A small business website is valuable because:
- It puts you at a competitive advantage*;
- It is an important communications asset, and;
- It represents your business when you are not there to do so.
*Only 4 of 10 micro-businesses (business with 4 or fewer employees) have a website. But they should, because 7 out of 10 people say that a business website is their most significant source of information.
Should you build your small business website yourself?
When it comes to building a small business website, you have choices. You can build it yourself, you can ask someone “good at computers” to do it for cheap or for free, or you can pay someone to do it for you.
Research indicates us that a website’s first impression contributes to a visitor’s gut feeling about your business, and that gut feeling is important to 84 per cent and very important to 32 per cent of visitors. Those numbers might suggest you hire a professional.
Your website will have the most value to your business if it is professionally built, and here’s why.
There is an art and a science to building a website. There is research that tells us how people use websites, and how they respond to design. What your small business website looks and says matters to your visitors. We’ve all heard of first impressions, well, it’s also true online.
Technically, you can easily build a small business website using do-it-yourself tools, but can you make it work well on the inside? Do you understand how to set up your search engine optimization (SEO) – or what that means in terms of your website content? Can you make your website fast? Will it present well on mobile devices? Are you working against your communications goals because you aren’t aware of how people use websites? Are you saying the right things the right way?
Psychologically, it’s difficult build your own website. You might feel a similar trepidation when you attend a networking event, or the avoidance we all feel when our resume needs to be updated. Your website represents and communicates you and your company and it’s out there to be evaluated. So even if you intend to build your own website, the psychological factors make it an easy task to procrastinate about.
Do you already have a website?
Send Danielle@WintripCommunications.com an email and include your name and website address.
Starting from scratch?
Read about our Small Business Website Package.