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Do I really need a website? Is social media enough?

Social Media platforms are a great starting point for any small business to get noticed, I mean... they're free and you have the ability to reach thousands of people, right? But also, before trying out a new business or service, pretty much everyone turns to the web now to make a choice about their purchases or the companies they want to do business with. Having an online presence is essential for long term business success.

Here is my run-down of the top reasons why your business needs a website:

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Credibility and reputation are key for surviving in business. Gone are the days that a word of mouth recommendation is enough for a small business to market themselves - the world has grown. The movement into the future requires all businesses to have a strong online presence - there is no avoiding it.

Having a professional looking and functioning website instantly gives the consumer a snap shot into the type of business you are. Shoddy looking and functioning website... must be a shoddy business... If you don’t have your own website, potential customers will start to wonder why.

Facebook alone doesn’t cut it

Many small businesses ask the question: ‘do we still need a website if we are active on social media?’ The short answer is you absolutely do. Of course, the sheer numbers of people who use social media sites mean they can be a great way of accessing new customers. But, for a small business, it can be very difficult to cut through the noise. Competition for likes and clicks is fierce among businesses. Therefore, it is dangerous to see social media profiles as a good substitute for your own website.

While I believe it's a great starting point (and also essential to have a social media presence) there are a number of drawbacks to only using social media to promote your business online. Firstly, social media sites regularly change their algorithms, and this can affect the reach of your posts. Unless you have a lot of spare time to dedicate to understanding these changes, it’s not a great idea to only rely on social to promote your business. Don’t be deceived into thinking that your business is reaching a large audience just because Facebook has a large number of users.

If your only online presence is a free-to-use social media account, potential customers may become suspicious of your trustworthiness as a business. Having a comprehensive and informative website, that goes into detail about your business, is a great way of quickly establishing trust among potential customers. After you have established your website, you can use social media to compliment your web presence rather than as a substitution for it.

Grab the chance to show off your work

It can be difficult if you are a local service provider to differentiate yourself from the competition in your area. From the perspective of a consumer, it can be very tricky to find the right professional for their job. Often the only information consumers can base their decision on is the price. It can be hard to know what the quality of the work will be.

A great solution to this problem is to build a website that showcases your work. The easiest way of doing this is to display images of jobs you have already completed. As a local business, you need a website to give you this competitive edge against other local services. By including images of the jobs you have already successfully finished, a potential customer is much more likely to have the confidence to book you for their project.

A custom-made website for your business is highly personal, and it can be easily updated and edited. Other forms of advertising, such as print, are static and cannot be changed once they’re public. A dedicated website will properly showcase your dynamic and growing business.

Unless you’re online, customers won’t find you

When was the last time you trudged through a phone book to find a local service? Those days are long gone. Instead, the smartphone has taken over, and now it completely dominates how people access the Internet. Crucially, they’re not just using their phones to take selfies with. For banking, shopping, and booking appointments, young people especially now turn to their phone first. Thinking digitally is essential for small businesses to succeed in the long run. For that reason, investing in a website for your small business sooner rather than later is the smartest way of tapping into a younger audience.

You need a website in order to compete with those local services that are already targeting customers through the web. Speed, efficiency, and ease of access are all top priorities for consumers looking for a local service. If a customer can quickly fill out an online form to book the service they need, they are far more likely to book than if they need to speak to someone directly.

You need a website to keep yourself in business 24/7

Owning a small business is a time-consuming job. Marketing your services can take up a huge amount of your time and resources. Wouldn’t it be better if you could get back to focusing on your passion? Shouldn’t providing great customer service for your clients to be your top priority? You need a website in order to keep your business running in this fast-paced, digital age.

The joy of having your own website is that your business will be constantly available. Consumers now expect businesses, even small local ones, to be available online 24/7. Businesses hours no longer apply, as a prospective customer can inquire about your services whenever they like. This continuous access has the potential to grow your customer base enormously.

This is also why it is so important to invest in a quality web designer. The web designer needs to build you a responsive and good looking website from the very beginning. To keep your business competitive, you need a website that is both functional and stylish. An informative, well-structured, beautiful website will decrease the amount of time you spend on answering customer questions.

You can’t afford not to have a website

Many people have the misconception that hiring a professional web developer will be out of their budget, but a custom build web site is actually becoming increasingly affordable. Individuals and businesses are increasingly becoming aware that they need a website, so competition between designers is high. If you need a website built, there’s never been a more affordable time to start.

Hiring a professional web designer is an investment in your company’s future success. It can be easy to underestimate the power of good web design. The crucial thing to remember is that you get what you pay for. Using one of the many free website builders available may seem like a good cost-saving strategy. Yet, this could cause you to end up wasting time and money on an unimpressive result. The safest bet is to invest in an established, experienced web designer with an impressive portfolio.

Build trust and create a loyal customer base

Reputation is incredibly important when you are a small local business. Before committing to purchasing a product, most people are now in the habit of reading online reviews. They want to know if they are investing in a quality product or service before parting with their hard-earned money. The same goes for local services. This trend makes it clear that you need a website of your own so that you can control your own online reputation.

Even if your business only covers a small geographic area, it is highly likely your customers are talking about you online. The growth of social media means that your customers can share their experience of your service instantly. Showcasing good reviews on your own website will provide potential customers with a positive impression of your company. If you don’t have a professional business website, you may raise suspicions among potential customers. Any doubt a customer has about your business can, of course, lead them to look elsewhere. Don’t lose out by making the mistake of thinking you don’t need a website!

It’s more cost-effective than you might think

Getting a great website for your business doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Rogue offers design led, stylish, responsive website builds with flawless UX and top notch SEO. Get in touch to chat about how we can work together.

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