Do I really need a website?
Website design | October 23rd, 2020
Contributor Dallen Clark. Copywriter & Marketing
Sometimes we get asked by people if they actually need a website. In 2020, about two-thirds of businesses have a website. Over half of people will look online for reviews, recommendations, and information on a business before becoming a customer. So what happens if you aren’t there?
Word of mouth is still a powerful tool for getting new customers and likely always will be. However, nearly 90 percent of people trust online reviews as much as recommendations from friends and family. This means that people are researching online before buying and trusting what they see. If you aren’t there to find, they might not know that you exist. And if they see your storefront and want to find out more about what you do but you have no website, for many people, that’s the end of the buyer’s journey. They’ll go to someone else who they can find online.
So yes, you should have a website. Even if it’s just a brief overview of your products/services and your location. If you’re a smaller, new business, you might be fine starting with something simple. Keep in mind though that a bad website can be worse than having none at all. The perception some people have is that if you don’t put effort into your brand to make your business look good, how good can your offerings be? Even if it’s small, the website is the digital face of your business. At a minimum, it needs to look good and work properly.
Why is a website so important?
At Back9, we did our own poll asking “What do you think you use a website for?”
- A. An online reference point.
- B. An online portfolio
- C. A website should generate new leads
- D. A website is a sales tool and should generate at least 3 times what it costs to maintain.
50% of people thought it was for an online reference point. That’s a great start, but a website can be so much more. It can be an online portfolio showing off your work. It can generate leads and bring in new customers. And it can even work as your greatest salesperson, selling your products and services all hours of the day and night.If you’re learning or new to digital technology, you might not know that a website can do all that. And that’s okay. One of the benefits of working with a good website development team is that they can anticipate your needs. In the early meetings, they’ll find out what you would like your website to accomplish, then suggest options to make it happen–along with other features that could benefit your audience and what other successful companies in your industry are doing.
Do I need a website if I have a Facebook Page?
It depends, but most likely yes.
If you have a very small business a Facebook page might be good enough. But if you want to grow and expand, you’ll need to be updating that page frequently and keep your followers interested. If growing the business isn’t one of your goals, a Facebook page might be all you need.
Take a look at the list of reasons to have a website above. A Facebook page can do some of those things, but not nearly as well as a website. It’s true that you can show off your products in your images and do a post about them. But what happens when that post goes down on your newsfeed? What if people don’t look at your gallery?
A website gives you a much higher level of control. Your gallery goes where you want, and shows what you want. It’s also more likely to be found on Google, especially when searching for what your business does instead of the business name itself. Facebook is popular, but not everyone has an account. If they don’t have one (and don’t want one) they won’t be able to see your page.
Websites also make your company look more professional. Anyone can make a Facebook page. And even with the best optimisation, they all look similar–like a page on Facebook. Because of this, people see products and services on a website as more valuable. A great looking, easy-to-use site also builds credibility, especially if you have up-to-date information and answer questions the visitor has.
Can I build my own website?
Building a website has definitely become more accessible over the last decade, but there are still a lot of things to learn. If you haven’t worked in HTML–or know what it is–then you’ll want to stick with a Drag and Drop or WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) editor. With these kinds of website builders, you design the page by pulling in images, video, written text, and other site elements straight on the page and that’s what it will look like for the visitor too.
While this sounds great in theory, building a website has more complications than designing something like a printed flyer. With the printed flyer, you know the paper size and can print a trial run, and the final version will look just like that. The same isn’t true for websites. One of the reasons is because of all the different screen sizes. Mobile phones are the most popular, and screen sizes can range from a couple of inches to nearly a tablet size.
Why does my website look different on mobile?
When you’re building your own website, even if you get it perfect, keep in mind that it will only be for the one view, typically for desktops/laptops. Phones behave a lot differently. Many of the website builders let you preview what the site will look like on three different screen sizes, and look and experience can be vastly different on a small screen than on a large screen. Then there are laptops and desktops too, with larger screens getting to around 24-32 inches. Some people even use full-size TVs as computer monitors! The phone size might look nothing like the page you spent all of that time working on.
Optimising for mobile has its own set of challenges too. Do you want to use the 3 line hamburger icon to open up site navigation? Do you need to have a different image for smaller screens because the one you chose won’t look good small or will be cut off? Is it easy to fill out forms to contact you on a phone like on a computer? There’s a lot of considerations that go into building a high-quality website. Make sure that you preview what it looks like on different screens before publishing!
Which is the best free website builder?
If you’re keen to take a look at building your own website, there are a few different options to look into. WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace each have their own pros and cons that we go over in more detail in our article, What is the best platform to build my website on? Just keep in mind that while the software to create the website is free, the website will come with a cost to publish and run, ranging from a few dollars a month to a few hundred dollars.
If you’re interested in true no-cost options, we have some helpful information and links to free websites in our article, How much does a website cost?
Who can help me build a website?
If you don’t have the time, knowledge, or skills to build a website, a professional web developer can help. Website development is a qualification that takes several years to complete, as there’s a lot of things to learn when it comes to coding. An experienced developer also keeps up to date on the newest technology and best practices. If a new, better method to do something is created, they’ll be right on top of it!
If you want a better chance to get found on Google, you’ll need to have a lot of text on your site through web pages, articles, and blog posts. A professional copywriter can create long, informative, grammatically-correct articles quickly, and the more of those you have, the more likely someone will find the right information that pushes them to do business to you. And more words is better for Google too! For custom-designed sites, a website designer is a must too. They’ll create a unique design that draws in visitors and drives them down the path to become leads.
Since these are all distinct career paths on their own, it’s hard to find one person that can do all three; or at least do them all to a professional standard. This is why a lot of businesses are working with agencies, as they have specialists devoted to one part of the job. The designer will create the design including how it looks and works for the end-user, the web developer will build and optimise it, and the copywriter will fill it up with text that Google will love! Some agencies also have photographers, videographers, and a marketing team to help too, like we do here at Back9 Creative. Professional visuals make a massive difference. They make your brand seem higher quality and increase the chances of someone choosing you over the competition.
Thinking about getting a professional website created by a team of specialists? Book a free meeting below to set up a time to chat!