Many small businesses run a lean operation: little to no overhead, small payroll, and very low expenses. Oftentimes, their main focus is on the day-to-day necessities and any issues that arise. But unless you are not interested in growing your business, having a modern, optimized website needs to be a priority.
However, 40% of small businesses don’t have a website. This doesn’t mean they aren’t online. Having a presence on social media can only help so much in establishing a reputable brand. Being present and engaging with customers and similar brands on social media will help grow visibility and relationships, but it doesn’t serve up the bulk of your brand. Websites are not just for selling a product or a service, but for educating your customers and offering value.
Your website is the greatest form of marketing and communication you can provide. Traditional marketing, such as mailers, billboards, newspaper ads, radio, etc. are not designed with small businesses and local brands in mind. Those forms of marketing are incredibly costly and provide a low ROI.
Proof in the Numbers
Around the world, there are 3.5 billion Google searches everyday. And that number grows by roughly 10% each year. When a person searches for something online, they want to find results quickly and efficiently. Social media sites do not affect your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) so having a website will get you and your brand found. Out of the 86% of consumers that rely on the internet to find local businesses, 29% of them search specifically for local businesses once a week.
In fact, websites are more beneficial for small businesses because of Google’s ability to refine local searches. If someone in Baltimore, MD searches for “bakeries near me,” Google will not show them bakeries in New York or Florida. They will see bakeries that are local and in Baltimore. (But more on why local searches are so important later!) A website is a great opportunity for local businesses to connect with local consumers - 70% of U.S. households use the internet when shopping locally.
Why You Need a Website
Still not sure why your small business needs a website? Here are 7 good reasons:
For no other reason, your customers expect a website. In modern times, 81% of consumers visit a website before ever stepping foot into a store or making a purchase. If you do not have a brick-and-mortar storefront, social media will not do the job. A clear, smart, optimized website will do the selling for you.
A website makes your brand look official and legitimate, something consumers rely on. With thousands of options at their fingertips that are already online, if you don’t have a website, your business is missing out on a huge number of potential customers.
91% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase or hiring someone for their services. A website is the perfect place to showcase your reviews and testimonials from satisfied customers. Instead of having a third-party platform like Google or Yelp manage your reviews, an RSS feed of your reviews onto your site will go a long way. This kind of transparency and visibility will win over customers.
Become the Competition
Your competition is already online - whether it’s another local business or a big box store. This includes a website, consistent social media presence, and a local Google My Business listing. When you do not have a website, consumers will begin to question the validity and legitimacy of your business. Is this company real? Does this business not care enough to have a website? Those are questions consumers will ask themselves.
Since consumers have endless choices when it comes to products and services online, you lose a large amount of business if you do not have a website.
You’re in Control of Your Future
Even if you are not actively online, the chances of your business being online is pretty high. Whenever someone “checks in” to your location on Facebook, writes a review on Google oor Yelp, or mentions your business in a post or comment, your business is automatically online.
Having a website means you are in control of your business’ future and online narrative. A website means you control the foundation of your brand and online presence. When your business relies on a third-party site like Facebook or Google, you are locked into their platform parameters. When you have a website, you control the platform and can manage your own brand without guidelines.
When you have a website, you never have to worry about putting up a “closed” sign on your storefront. People will be able to shop, send messages, or fill out forms 24/7 - making your business highly accessible and visible. The ability to make sales all the time is huge for small businesses.
Another benefit of having a website means your business will show up in Google results. Optimizing your website with proper keywords, utilizing Google analytics, and setting up a Google My Business account will heighten your chances of appearing in Google searches.
On-page SEO can help with visibility. This includes alt-tags, meta descriptions, industry-specific keywords, and developing fresh content on your website. Each page, image, and piece of content needs to be optimized.
Unlike on-page SEO, take time to invest in your website and brand’s local SEO. On your website and Google My Business listing, use geographically-specific keywords. 41% of people begin the buying process on their mobile device - which means the search results will depend on their phone’s location settings. When your business aligns with their location, there’s a greater chance that your business will appear in the first few search results.
Local SEO provides a huge ROI for your business since setting up a Google My Business listing is free. Search engines, like Google, often prioritize local search and rank search results based on location - an added huge benefit to local businesses.
Updating Your Site Is Crucial
Keeping your site updated is one of the most important things you can do for your business. Having misleading or incorrect listing details can be the downfall of your brand. There are a few things to keep in mind when looking to refresh your website:
Make sure every phone number, email address, and vital information is correct
Remove any old information, including services or products you no longer offer.
Ensure there are no on-site errors. This includes broken links, meta descriptions, 404-errors, and SEO
Spell check and double check for grammatical errors
Refresh the layout if you have an old, outdated site
Have a mobile-friendly website
Nothing will increase your site’s bounce rate faster than an old, outdated site with errors. As a small business, build your brand, increase customer loyalty, and establish visibility by creating a strong foundation in your website.
When it comes to your brand and your business, you cannot be too tedious or attentive to detail.
Millennial Marketing works closely with Triad Creative on designing sites that are SEO optimized, personalized, and branded to set your business apart from the rest. Get in touch today!