In an era of Facebook pages and Instagram, do business owners really need to invest in personalized dot-coms anymore? Facebook is free and everyone uses it—convenient, sure. Social, sure. Professional? Not as much. Having your own personalized business website, you establish trust between your customer and your company. It was Bill Gates who said, "If your business isn't on the internet, then your business will be out of business."
The pillar of owning your own business is marketing. If consumers don’t know about your services, can’t reach you, or choose a competitor, all of your hard work is for naught. In an era with mobile phones, internet on-the-go, and thousands of start-ups, you’ve got to make your business stand out. You can do this by investing in a quality, well-designed website. Just as you invest in your product, your business plan, and your company, a successful entrepreneur must invest in a quality website. Here’s why:
1. Websites Promote Branding
Ever notice that when you are referred to someone’s website via Facebook, you remember “Facebook” more than the actual business? While Facebook has streamlined the “website making” process and embedded it into social media, what this does is build Facebook’s brand, not yours.
Your company deserves its own website so you can be your own identity. People can type your business name into the address bar, and you are building brand name, familiarity, and reputability. When you take the time to create a well-designed, professional website, you are telling your clients that you value your company’s image, you value their time, and you value being your own brand.
Try creating a Facebook page to cultivate community, but make sure that you link it to your business’s primary website. Don’t go for Facebook as your main source of information to your customers. It’s cheap, it’s easy—but that’s what everyone does. Facebook should be utilized as tool to drive traffic to your professional website. You will see much higher conversion rates and build more trust in your brand.
A well-designed website is crucial for your business because it shows professionalism. Websites that are user-friendly and accessible demonstrate respect for your clients and for your business. You have the self-respect to create your own brand and control your own communication.
Websites also show that you invest in what matters. People use the internet for research: by creating your own website, you become the authority on your product. Anyone can create a free Facebook page or Instagram account: investing in a well-designed website shows you value your brand.
3. Websites Are Real Estate: Location location location.
Investing in a quality website is like investing in prime real estate locations: location matters. Presentation matters. Advances in digital media mean that the Internet “real estate” is even more relevant. Therefore, how you present the face of your business – brick and mortar or online – has a powerful impact in shaping consumer behaviors.
Building a quality website also helps your business get found on Google. Appearing on the first page of Google is important for any business’s long-term success. You can also utilize the power of Google AdWords and Facebook Ads to drive even more quality paid traffic to website in order to drive more sales.
4. Websites Get Sales (and Traffic)
With a polished store-front (website), online shoppers are more likely to visit your store. Websites lead to increased sales and traffic. A 2017 research study found that entrepreneurs who focus on website design and quality have sustained e-loyalty – that is, consumer relationships.
Customers want all their questions answered in one central location. A website that defines your business’s product, services, location, and contact information appeals to the modern client, builds your brand, and – most importantly-- generates more traffic.
4a. Remember! Search engines give websites priority “pings” over Facebook pages. Having a dedicated website optimizes search engine results and drives more traffic to your page.
5. Build Online Relationships
Professional websites build online relationships. Traffic leads to more traffic, which leads to people inquiring about your product. This is why having a dedicated website yields better results than merely having a Yelp page.
For a client to respect your website, it must be functional. Research indicates that clients build “brand loyalty” when your website is: informative, easy to navigate, aesthetically appealing, has social relevance, and illustrates quality.
Consumers choose websites that are functional and convenient. Therefore, creating your own well-designed website allows you to control navigation, communication, and build consumer loyalty.
In an era of start-ups, social media referrals, and “likes,” make your business stand out by being its own domain. Cultivate authority, branding, and respect by taking the time to create (and manage) a well-designed, personalized website for your business. Doing so is a surefire way to build consumer trust in your brand, which in turn means more money for your business.
For more info on building a professional website for your business, click here!
Eroglu, E. (2014). The changing shopping culture: Internet consumer behavior. The Review of Business Information Systems (Online), 18(1), 35.
Moran, M., & Hunt, B. (2014). Search engine marketing, Inc.: Driving search traffic to your company's website. IBM Press.
Pan, B. (2015). The power of search engine ranking for tourist destinations. Tourism Management, 47, 79-87.
Tsai, S. P. (2017). E-loyalty Driven by Website Quality: The Case of Destination Marketing Organization Websites. Journal of Organizational Computing and Electronic Commerce, (just-accepted).