It isn’t an exaggeration to say that the Internet has completely changed the way business is done. Even if you aren’t much of an Internet user yourself it’s easy to see the effects of the web in our daily lives. Consider at the decline of video rental stores as video streaming sites like Netflix and Hulu have become more and more popular. Amazon changed the way people buy books, iTunes changed the way people buy music and blogs and news sites have almost made newspapers a thing of the past.
Businesses need to adapt to survive and today that means going online. Even if you don’t intend on selling anything over the Internet a website is still essential. If you’re still skeptical read on to learn how a website can help make you look more professional, convey information to customers and reach new heights.
One important rule in business is that it’s not enough to have a good product, you have to look like you have a good product. This is something some will argue against but just consider how you prepare for a job interview. You dress up professionally even if the quality of your wardrobe has no impact on your talents. We all do this because it reflects our commitment and is expected of us. A website does both of these things too.
Two decades ago businesses could get by ignoring the web. Things have changed. In 2000 only 41.5% of households had internet access but a decade and a half later 87% of the American population uses the internet. The same study finds that in the age group of 18-29 an overwhelming 97% of young adults use the Internet. Here is a more recent (2019) study showing 95% of Americans have access and use internet. Now that people have the internet in their pockets thanks to smart devices like phones and tablets they are interacting with the world in a new way.
This new tech-savvy population doesn’t open the Yellow Book when they’re looking to spend their money, they go online. You might think that you could get by without a website if you compensated in other areas but another study has found that “89 percent of consumers expect all businesses to have a website regardless of the size.” They know that websites are more affordable than ever before and they’ve watched as every major company went online. For some people a business barely exists if they can’t find it online, especially when the marketplace is crowded and they can easily access the sites of your competitors.
Communication With Customers
Having a website gives your business legitimacy but when you use it to communicate with your customers then you start to unlock the power of the web. This doesn’t mean that you have to chat with your customers online, you can simply start by putting information online so that anyone who finds your site can know more about your business. When people want to know what hours a business is open, where it’s located and what number they should call they go online to find out. If you don’t have this information available for them they are going to get frustrated and might move on to a business that makes their information accessible.
According to one study 85% of Americans stated that their number one expectation from a site is “the ability to contact a business.” That study also found that 77% of the Americans polled would take their business elsewhere if “a business website did not provide ways to communicate.” So this isn’t hypothetical, if you don’t have a website set up to help people learn about your business and get in touch with you then you are losing out.
So far we’ve mainly looked at the ways a website can help you appeal to people who already know about your business but many find the best thing about having a website is how it helps you reach people who never would have heard of you otherwise.
In the past if you wanted to reach an audience outside of your city you had to invest in expensive advertising campaigns. Now if you have a website people all across the world can find out about you. Of course simply putting up a website won’t bring people in, but it’s a necessary first step that can lead to amazing things.
Whether you want to reach people in your city, across your state or around the world a website can help bring the people to you. With a good site and a decent web strategy you can lead people to you through search engines, social networks and other avenues for free or at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing.
The Importance of A Quality Website
Hopefully if you’ve followed along you understand how a website can help your business but it’s important to note that just having a website isn’t enough anymore. People don’t just expect companies to have a website, they expect them to have attractive and functional sites.
When people visit your site you want to impress them. This doesn’t mean that your site needs to be fancy. Think of your website like a business card, it just needs to be easy to read, professional looking and packed with all the information you need to convey. Fortunately web design and hosting is more affordable than ever, just make sure you’re trusting your business with the right people.
Whether your business is just getting started or you’ve been around for years there’s no time like the present to invest in a website for your business today. The future is online, make sure your business is a part of it.
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