You are starting a new company. Or maybe you have been in the same business for decades. Either way, you’ve decided that you need to build a website and do some digital marketing because…well, it seems like everyone is doing it. Not a very smart way to put money and resources to use.
You must have a plan before you put money or other resources into a website or digital marketing. A lengthy document with graphs, advanced statistical formulas, and analysis is unnecessary. Once you have a Fortune 500 company, you can spend tens of thousands of dollars on that. For now, you need to know precisely what your business goals are, who your target market is, and who your competitors are.
Why Bother Getting a Website for Your Business?
Let’s assume that making money is the primary goal of any business. So, the question is, how will having a website help you make money?
A website is a great way to build your brand, whether or not you use it for eCommerce. Even though your mom told you not to, people DO judge books by their covers, and your website is likely to be the first thing they see about your business. A website that is up-to-date, easy to use, and full of helpful information will make a good impression. It will show potential customers that you can be trusted, know your stuff, and be counted on. A bad website will do the opposite of what you want.
Because that first impression is so important, we’d say not having a website is better than having a bad one. In other words, if you want to sell services for thousands of dollars, you need to spend money on a website that makes you look like a skilled professional who is worth the money. Even if you only sell your products on Amazon, it’s still a good idea to have a website where customers can learn more about the company. And it has to look good, or you probably won’t make the sale.
Last, look at your direct competitors to decide if you need a website or not. If someone searches for plumbers on Google and the top two local results are you, who doesn’t have a website, and your competitor, who does, the person searching will probably click on your competitor’s website. Of course, they might move on to the following listing if it’s terrible. But they will probably wonder why you don’t have a website and think you’re “old-fashioned” and behind the times. That might not be that important to a plumber. It could be a deal-breaker for other services.
When people don’t need service right away, like consulting, they will spend time on the internet researching their options. That means they’ll go to many websites and try to figure out who to contact based on how they look at first. We talked about this in part above about branding.
If you sell things online (eCommerce), you must have a website where you can sell them. The next question is whether or not the website has to be your own.
Thousands of successful merchants do most of their selling on online marketplaces like Amazon.com, eBay.com, Etsy.com, and others. They do this because they know that millions of people shop at these marketplaces every day. How many potential customers will visit their website? I think it’s safe to say that there aren’t as many.
And to get people to visit a company’s website, it will need to spend money on PPC ads, SEO, content marketing, and social media campaigns, all things that the big marketplaces already do. Yes, you will have to pay a part of that cost to the market through commissions. But most merchants know it’s worth paying because they could never get as much traffic to their websites as they do on marketplaces. You might want to sell your products only on your website for several reasons, such as:
- To make your name known
- Keep Amazon from lowering your prices (especially if you have Prime).
- To avoid having competitors copy you and beat you on price
- To get the email addresses of possible customers and then reach out to them again
- You can sell on your website, but you can also sell on Amazon and other marketplaces.
If you decide to sell products on your website, you’ll need to decide whether to make a personalized website or use a hosted eCommerce solution like Shopify or BigCommerce. Most likely, an eCommerce plugin like Woocommerce (for WordPress), Magento, or OpenCart will be used to build your custom site.
If you want to share information about your business, product, or service, you need a place to keep it. A website is an excellent place for people to find out all about you and what you have to offer. Now, if you only have a few pages of information, a Linkedin or Facebook page might be enough. Again, we recommend that over a website that isn’t very good.
Who do you want to sell to? What do they do to talk to you? These are essential questions that will help you decide if you need a website or not. Let’s talk about the less common situations where you don’t need a website.
Any service you need right now can get by with a Google Business page (to make sure you show up in the Google local listings) and a Facebook page. Your phone number will be in the ads you run, which is how people will get in touch with you. Your local pizza place could probably do fine with the same. If you want pizza, all you have to do is look at your Facebook page to order.
Related to Entertainment
Entertainers can show off their work well on Facebook and Instagram since much of it can be shown in a few good photos. How much information do you need to know about the juggler you’re hiring for your 5-year-birthday party? Most of the time, you can find them on service websites like Bark or Thumbtack.
Of course, don’t forget YouTube, where you can post as many videos as you need to explain and show off your product or service. In its search results, Google likes to show videos from YouTube, which it owns, so this is also a great SEO strategy.
Before investing your money and other resources on a website for your business, look at your business goals, target market, and competition to see if you need one or if social media accounts and a Google Business Profile will be enough. No website is way better than having an average-looking one. People will judge you based on how your website makes them feel about you. Your website needs to show that if you’re selling expensive goods or services. You’ll need to hire experts to get the job done right if you’re not a designer and writer.