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Do You Still Need A Website In 2018?

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Your Facebook page is cranking and your admin person puts together a pretty epic newsletter once a month that gets emailed out to your clients. Plus you’ve always taken pride in the fact that most of your customers come through word of mouth. You’re starting to wonder if your business even needs a website…

Deadly.

In 2018, a professional website is more crucial than ever, as the online space has become one of the hottest turf wars for the ever increasing customer purse.

So why is an epic website so important?

People use the internet like they used to use the phone book
So basically, if you’re not ‘in’ it – do you even exist?! Seriously, almost everyone these days has a mobile phone or laptop and would say it’s their first port of call if they want to look up information about a business. So if they search for your business, what do they find? A Facebook page with the last post in 2014 and a random two star Google review from someone you’ve never met? or a bang-up-to-date professional website which shows them just how awesome your business really is?

“Word of Mouth” is so much more powerful if someone’s recommendation is validated by a kick-ass website when they actually look you up
Let’s be real. If someone refers a business to you, say, a new hair salon or a dentist, you are almost certainly going to Google them, even if it’s just to find their address or phone number. Imagine if you Googled them and they didn’t come up. Or, worse, a website clearly built in 2001 appeared, complete with flashing boxes! What would you do?
You’d probably start to doubt the referral;
You would probably assume their business was actually a bit shit, and;
You would probably wonder what on earth your friend was thinking trying to send you to that business.
Well the same thing works for your business.

A website works for you while you sleep
You never know who’s looking at you in the middle of the night! Well – hopefully not actually at you, but at your business anyhow. Think go your website as an online billboard, that you can update as many times as you like with new products, services and opportunities, without paying the giant print and hire costs of a billboard.
Of course, exactly how many eyes your digital billboard attracts will depend on your marketing and how many people you are sending to it – how’s your SEO? your social media? your newsletters?

Your website belongs to YOU
For all you legends putting your heart and soul into Instagram – remember it doesn’t actually belong to you. Even the images you post are no longer yours. Instagram decides what to show people and when, and they can even just delete the whole thing whenever they feel like it. Same for Facebook and all the other platforms. Your website is yours to decide exactly what you please with, for as long as the internet exists!

A website is a simple way to collect data = LEADS!
You can collect names, email addresses, postcodes, dates of birth, basically anything you want to know about interested potential clients, just with a simple form on your website. You can then export this into a spreadsheet or make it talk to whichever email marketing tool you choose (hellooooo, Mailchimp, our absolute favourite). Again – these are YOUR contacts. Not Facebook’s…

Why would I pay someone else to build it when I can just build it myself using one of those free DIY website services?
Oh lordy lord. Well, if you want to go down that path – why would you pay a barber to cut your hair when there’s a perfectly good pair of scissors in the kitchen drawer?

When you first start your business (and we mean, when you’re still deciding if you’ve chosen the right name and you haven’t really decided exactly which services you’re going to offer) then sure, do a freebie. But as soon as you’re ready for people to take you seriously, you need to take your online presence seriously. And if you don’t – why should anyone else?

A good web design company will cover three things for you:
– your website will look great and be attractive to your target audience (which of course, you have narrowed down in conjunction with someone who knows about these things, right? otherwise you’re just aiming in the dark…)
– your website will be easy and enjoyable to use so that when someone has bothered to find you they aren’t put off by a million clicks or clunky processes
– and it will be both device AND search engine friendly. This means you will ‘get found’ a lot faster and a lot more often!

SO WHAT NEXT?

For Start-Ups or Starting Out
This is one of the most exciting spaces in business. Full of passion and buzzing with ideas. But, like most business owners in this area, you are developing your business as you go. Learning through trial and error what works and what needs improving. So the chances are, if you start building your website right at the very beginning of your journey, you will have changed your requirements at least twice by the time the website build is coming to an end. If you keep changing it as you go, the end result won’t be as slick and solid as you would like it to be. It’s like starting out making a fruit cake, and then switching to making a chocolate cake halfway through. It will probably taste ‘fine’ once baked but wont do either recipe justice and nobody will want to try it when you offer them a slice of ‘not sure what Im supposed to be’ cake.

So, if this is where you’re at – buy your domain name, get it hosted and put up a holding page. This is basically a full screen image with some text over it (your email, phone number, logo if you have it, links to social media) and maybe even a ‘sign up for our e-news’ data capture form, but that’s it. Gives you an online presence without you needing to decide exactly what to put on a whole website just yet.

Powering Up & Building A ‘Bigger’ Website
This is where a professional web development agency will be your new BFF. They will be able to look at what you do, who you are trying to target, your brand voice and your products or services, and pull them all together into a coherent, epic looking online platform that gets you found and makes you look bloody amazing.

Just a word of advice – if they don’t ask you to get a professional photoshoot done, be a little bit worried (you can read about this here)

Still not sure?
If you are still wondering if you need a website, just imagine the number of people who might have been around the corner from your business or looking for exactly what you sell, who Googled a service you offer, but went to a competitor because you didn’t show in the results! Eek!

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