Many businesses are picking up on the idea that having a website is important, but how many of you have asked yourself or your web developer the question “how does having a website benefit my business?” That’s definitely a very good and very valid question to ask as it will reveal a ton about the best strategies and goals for your website, and every website needs a solid set of relevant strategies and goals behind how it’s made and maintained.
There are certain benefits all businesses will get from having a website, and we’ll look at those first, before we take a look at a few examples of some common specialized business website needs.
It’s Your Modern Phone Book Listing
In decades past, people used to find local businesses by looking them up in the Yellow Pages (a big, thick, heavy book with newspaper-like pages full of businesses and their contact info). These days well under 1% of all people still say they use a phone book any more.
So where does that 99+% find businesses, services or products from now? The Internet. If you don’t have a website, as far as they’re concerned, you don’t even exist.
Of course a website does so much more for your business then even a full page Yellow Pages ad ever could.
It’s Your Online, Interactive Brochure of Your Business
Like a hard copy brochure, your website tells your story and promotes your business, at least that’s what it’s supposed to do if done right.
While a hard copy brochure is still very beneficial and does things a website can’t, like allowing access to information even where an Internet connection is not available, but a website also offers huge benefits of its own. With a website:
- You can keep all your info current, updating it as things in your business or industry change. Meaning you can add new services or products as your company releases them without the expense of paying to print new materials and recycle your old ones.
- You can make your website as big as it needs to be to present all the info you need to so you ensure your website achieves your goals. You are not limited by space like you are with a printed brochure.
- It’s interactive. People can visit any page they want, from any page they want. You can allow them to post comments, or email you directly from your website, removing barriers and delays to you getting a response from potential customers.
- You can post articles to your website. They talk about anything from highlighting the benefits of your products, your business, or present valuable information visitors will likely find useful. These draw people to your website and give people a reason to share your contents to other platforms or reference your contents in their own articles, leaving a link back to your website as one of their sources.
All this builds up your viability and credibility so more people can find you, and more people are willing to trust you.
It’s a Platform You Own
Even if you already have an online presence through social media, it’s still not something you own. That means if the platform decides to change their policies, you can find, through no actions of your own, that you suddenly don’t get any attention there any more, that your followers no longer see your content. They can decide to change their terms of service and now your company’s profile there no longer meets those new terms of service, so now you have to change your content or lose your platform. They can go out of business and you lose your platform. So you don’t have any control over what happens.
With your website, you own your platform, and nobody can take it away from you or tell you you can’t post certain types of contents any more, or decide your followers will no longer see most of your contents.
Some specialized benefits include:
If your business sells physical products, you can offer direct sales of them right on your website, opening your business up to international markets you’d otherwise never be able to access.
Even if you sell services, there is still ways to sell directly online in many cases. For appointments, you can have customers book and pay for an appointment online, fully automatically. If you have a standardized service, you can sell it online, then deliver it. You can also sell virtual products, such as a song, movie or book online, delivering a digital file with the song, book or movie all on full automation.
You can promote, advertise and deliver an online course all through your website. The only part you may need to take manual control over here is answering questions from your students, handling the odd customer service issue that comes up, and marking any assignments or tests you need them to submit.
These only cover a few ways a website can benefit your business. With a little brainstorming, I’m sure we could come up with many, many more. If you have any thoughts about how a website could benefit your business, or any other business, I’d love to hear about them in the comments below. If you’re unsure how your business could specifically benefit from a website, feel free to ask in the comments below or contact us with your questions.