“If your business is not the Internet, then your business will be out of business.” ~ Bill Gates
Coming from one of the greatest tech entrepreneurs of modern times, this quote makes perfect sense for every business irrespective of its size. Technology is transforming the economic and business landscape at a never-before-witnessed rate. Your website is not only an opportunity to greet potential clients, but it’s a critical factor defining your success in the age of the internet.
In the cut-throat competition of the technological era and the pressure to survive amidst a growing digital commerce age, having a website is no more an option but a necessity for every small business. It is easy to assume that small businesses are aware of this need; however, the research says otherwise. A study indicates that fewer than 64% of small businesses have their websites, and out of those lacking a business website, only 58% plan to build one in 2018.
So, you have taken the first step towards finalizing a budget for your website, and you’re ready to take your business online. Well, not so fast! One of the prerequisites of creating a business website is to identify and define its purpose. Some of the questions you need to ask are:
- How do you plan to use this website?
- Do you want to sell products/services online?
- Do you intend to engage customers online?
According to research, 70% to 80% of customers do online research before buying a product or service from a small business. Your website could serve as an online extension of your business. Additionally, depending on your industry, you can integrate an eCommerce store with your business website. It is critical to define and then execute this purpose.
‘15 seconds’ that is the maximum amount of time you have to engage or attract a customer to stay on your website. Most of the businesses experience high bounce rate or lower conversions for multiple reasons. The ideal strategy is to provide maximum value to your customer throughout your website.
- Start by providing useful, high-quality content to your user.
- Implement easy navigation techniques and make sure that your site is always up; aim for 99% uptime. Nobody enjoys reading a 404-error or service-not-available notification.
- The ideal website should clearly indicate what the visitor should do next to buy a service or initiate a discussion.
- Use encryption to protect visitor data. Adding third-party certifications or trust seals could go a long way in bolstering user trust.
- Always be genuine. Use real-customer reviews and highlight your uniqueness. It could be a 30-day guarantee, free or discounted additional services or access to premium features.
Mobile design is a must for a modern business website. Mobile devices were responsible for roughly 52.2% of the global online traffic in 2018, and these figures are likely to grow exponentially. Your mobile website is just as important as your desktop site, if not more. Research finds that more than 50% of B2B search queries are done on a smartphone, with similar patterns noticed around B2C channels. If you are outsourcing the development part, make sure to use free online tools to analyze the mobile performance of the website.
How do you make a business decision? You evaluate industry data, research the latest trends, and track your customer behavior. Your company website is an extension of your business, and it requires the same amount of research before implementing any strategies. However, studies indicate that only 30% of small businesses use web analytics or any tracking technologies on their website. It is critical to understand that tracking website traffic and visitor behavior at a basic level does not require specific skills. You can use Google analytics tool or any other tracking service to do it.
Once you have a business website ready, the next step is to devise a comprehensive marketing strategy and optimizing your site for search engines. It is essential to understand that more than 93% of online experiences start with a search engine, so you can, under no circumstances, ignore SEO. If you have a marketing budget, set apart a predefined budget for SEO. SEO professionals could analyze your site and prioritize optimization activities based on your business goals. However, if you are running a one-man show with a WordPress website, start with an SEO plugin and optimize individual pages. Remember, some SEO is better than no SEO.
In addition to SEO, it is critical to create a marketing strategy for your business. Creating a website is only half the job done. Your marketing strategy should utilize all the major sales channels, including social media, email marketing, content marketing, advertising, and other inbound lead marketing techniques.
“If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.” ~ Red Adair
Every individual excels in a specific filed, and in case of a small business, it is the owner’s ability to run his business. If creating a website, optimizing it, and marketing your business online isn’t something you can handle; it is time to seek professional help. Hiring a professional could make the transition efficient, more insightful, and offer you a learning experience.
Are you a small business owner with a website? Let us know which of the above factors rank higher in your list.