In today’s world of ubiquitous connectedness, it may seem to some like it’s common knowledge for a business to have an online presence. This is mostly due to the obvious edge being online gives businesses. Surprisingly however, not everyone knows this. Most businesses – especially in Africa still do not realize the importance of putting their products and services on the internet. They don’t know, for example that since almost everyone is connected, their target demographic is most likely to access them easier wherever they may be with a smartphone and an internet connection – two things that are now more common than they’ve ever been. If you still need convincing, here are 5 reasons why your business needs a professional website:
- Ease of access:
The key to benefiting the most from the web is to make your business as accessible as possible, letting people interact with you in a way that is convenient for them, whenever they want to. Your customers are online 24/7, and as such expect to be able to interact with businesses that provide the products and services they need whenever and wherever they are online. Though this doesn’t imply having a presence on every single online channel; it demands that you be clever about selecting the ones that are most important to your audience if you are looking to make an impact. Basically, this means a basic, professional-looking website with information that is easy to find and relevant about your business. On a more advanced level, that could be a fully developed booking tool that lets customers schedule their own appointments or booking with you, essentially giving your business a receptionist round-the-clock.
- Online presence:
A professional website gives your business an online presence. As I mentioned earlier, the vast majority of customers search online to find local businesses. Google and other search engines are an opt-in service, which means that unless you give search engines your contact information, it will not be provided to people online. A professional website works to tell search engines information about your business including your contact details like address, phone number, service areas, and business hours. If your business can’t be found on search engines, it essentially doesn’t exist online.
- Saves advertising expenses:
If you’re a small business owner you probably think you can’t afford a professional website, but the truth is that you can’t afford NOT to have one. Although the cost of designing a professional website varies, once it’s up and running, a website for a small business generally costs less when compared with the cost of a newspaper ad campaign. When you consider the potential market you can reach with a website and all the additional functionality you can eventually add to it, it is a very cost effective way to promote your business.
- Informs existing and potential customers:
Think of your professional website as your online brochure or catalogue. It is much easier and quicker to update information about products and services on a website than in form of print media, essentially making a professional website an effective way of letting your customers know about the arrival of new products, upcoming events, special promotions, or any new services you now offer. Unlike print ads which quickly become outdated, your website can provide current information and news about your services.
- Gives you a wider audience:
Another way a professional website helps your business is by expanding your reach. Advertising in front of stores, putting up posters, handing out fliers and business cards all have their limits in terms of the audience they can reach. With a professional website however, anyone can find or stumble upon your work, not just people in your area. Search engine optimization works for you by helping potential customers find you when they search for things related to the services you offer. This puts your business in front of more than just passers by. If your website contains enough content that is relevant to both your service and location and is useful to your audience, you will show up on results of search engine pages and get discovered by more people.
In conclusion, making an impact doesn’t require having a big budget when it comes to the internet. Relevance, consistency and accessibility are the goals you must focus on. Keep these things in mind and you’ll be on the way to succeeding in using the web to create an effective online presence for your business.