Depending on what you’re after, building a website can certainly be an expensive undertaking. As such, it’s understandable to wonder if a website is really worth the money, especially if your business is already doing well enough without one.
A website also might even seem old-fashioned and outdated to some, now that everyone and their grandma uses social media. Focusing 100% of your business’s communication efforts on popular platforms like Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn, where most of your potential customers’ eyes are anyway might seem like a no-brainer!
But a closer look reveals that it’s not so cut-and-dried…
Social media platforms are businesses trying to survive just like anyone else, and as users continue to gain control over what they see online, revenues generated primarily through online ads take a hit.
In order to adapt, social media algorithms are regularly updated to reduce the efficacy of free ads, pushing content creators toward paid advertising.
The result? Today, unless you’re willing to pay, only about 5% of your followers will see content you post on Facebook, and the same goes for Instagram.
But don’t get me wrong, without an ounce of doubt, social media is a crucially important weapon in any marketer’s arsenal; the point is that you’re missing out on other significant growth opportunities if you treat social media as your silver bullet.
As they say, you have to spend money to earn money, and this certainly applies to the web as well.
But I’ve come up with the following 3 benefits that only websites can provide businesses, to show you that building one is a worthwhile investment, and that they're still perfectly relevant, especially today!:
1. Building credibility
People buy from businesses they feel they can trust; plain and simple.
People want to know how businesses and their customers have gotten along in the past, and they want to be sure they’ll receive support if ever something goes wrong down the road.
Websites give businesses all the space they need to reassure potential customers on these fronts and more - think testimonials, case studies, blogs, product reviews, etc. - all of which reinforce a business’s position as a credible provider that deserves your trust.
That being said, it’s not enough to simply have a website… it also needs to be worthy of people’s attention, and you only have 50 milliseconds to make an impression that either convinces users to stay or causes them to leave your site.
Your website’s design and general ease of use will be under scrutiny, and the same goes for the relevance of your content - but you can leave that to the professionals.
2. Attracting new customers
When you’re looking to buy a birthday or Christmas present online, where does your search begin? How about when you just want to check the score of an important game you missed, or when you’re looking for a good movie to watch?
I don’t know about you, but I usually go straight to Google, and apparently so too do many other people, about 3.5 billion times each day, actually.
When users make a Google search, Google’s algorithm basically flips through its directory of websites from around the world and displays relevant results in the order of the respective website owner’s ranking (as determined by many factors…).
The higher your ranking, the more traffic you can expect on your website, and the greater your odds are of landing new customers.
So, in essence, social media can help businesses push people toward certain purchase decisions by giving them ideas when they’re not necessarily looking for any, but websites are what provide the answer when people are actually on the prowl.
Unfortunately (or fortunately..!), there are fewer and fewer “get rich quick” schemes when it comes to improving your website’s ranking on search engines (Search Engine Optimization or SEO), but if you’re willing to work at it, the opportunities for your business are virtually endless - no pun intended.
3. Collecting customer data
Websites aren’t only useful for outward communication, they can also be a means to channel incoming information, helping you capture valuable feedback for the continuous improvement of your website, and your business.
There are tons of tools out there to help you make informed decisions about your website’s design and structure, such as analytics which provide important statistics regarding user behavior, heatmaps which measure interactions levels by tracking the physical actions of users (scrolls, clicks, etc.), and now, even eye tracking to know what users are looking at on a screen at all times.
Some of these tools are more difficult and expensive than others to implement, but others (like Google Analytics) provide heaps of useful information, for free!
But there’s more...
At the end of the day, your website is more than a tool to help grow your business; it IS your business - at least the digital representation of it. Your website is your digital storefront.
Using the tools mentioned above is a sure-fire way to improve the usability of your website to improve ranking on search engines and attract new customers; but beyond that, these pieces of customer data can also be used to help you refine the positioning of your business in general - your target audience, your value proposition, etc.
If you’re still here, let me leave you with one last thing…
Who says building a website has to be expensive?
If you’re interested in building one for your business but you don’t quite know where to look, my Pricing & Timeline simulator could be a great place to start. Give it a whirl and find out how much your site would cost, and how long development would take.