I like to keep up with global trends when it comes to business website design and internet marketing because, well, it is my business.
Godaddy recently released the results of a global survey of very small businesses (5 staff or less) and the results are pretty astounding considering the connected world that we live in.
Not having a website could mean that you are going out of business
GoDaddy, in case you didn’t know, are probably the largest provider of web hosting on the planet. What has been revealed is that even established businesses that failed to create an online presence are going out of business.
This is really not a big surprise when we think about how we look for and get information about the products and services that we want to buy. Over 80% of all transaction now start online, according to a study by Search Engine Land. That number may be a little lower in South Africa but with 80% (according to Facebook) of consumers accessing the internet via mobile phones we are not too far off.
What is surprising is that 59% of very small businesses do not have a website. The main reasons that these businesses did not have a website are:
• 35% – My company is too small.
• 21% – Don’t have the technical expertise.
• 20% – Can’t afford it.
Time was also noted as a factor. New businesses are twice as likely to get a website as older businesses. These results could be because just a few years ago websites were very expensive to develop and you did need skills and time to maintain them.
Strangely many businesses think that they are too small for a website. I can only imagine the money that they are spending on traditional marketing, which is becoming less and less effective, and the opportunities that they are losing to their online competitors.
However that mindset is changing. Of those businesses without websites, 55% planned to get a website in the next 2 years but only 1 in 5 of them have bought their domain.
• 30% are looking for an Internet company to help them build it
• 24% others are looking for a web designer
• 21% are asking family to help
• 17% intend to do it themselves
It is reassuring that that over 50% of the businesses that intent to get a website believe that their businesses will grow by 25% in the short term with the help of the internet and mobile phones. This is consistent with the results achieved by small businesses that have gone online. 84% of them have stated that they will ensure that their website is optimized for mobile devices.
83% of businesses with websites stated that they have a competitive advantage over their offline competition.
So if you are a small business and you are on the fence about getting online here are a few points to help you decide:
A website will save you time and money.
Your website will act as a 24/7 salesman, answering the questions that your customers would normally phone about. With a website, most customers will be ready to purchase before they contact you or visit your business.
Advertising online is far less costly than traditional advertising methods to achieve the same reach.
Communicating via email is more effective than communicating by phone.
A website will make you money
Having an online presence gives your business more credibility!
As previously mentioned, most people look online for products and services. Being online gives you the opportunity to access this growing market which will grow your bottom line.
You could even sell products directly from your website. Setting up an e-commerce website is not expensive or complicated.
You can even let your existing customers know about special offers which will result in increased customer loyalty and more sales.
You can be online in less than a week
Professional business websites can be built very quickly. If you have the content that you would like to have on your website, you can be online in well under a week. This means that there is less labour involved in building a website. Because of this the costs of building and maintaining a website are fair lower than they used to be.
Some important points to bear in mind…
When looking for someone to build your website please ensure that you will have access to editing it. Also make sure that it is not over complicated. Is basic training included?
Find out up front the costs and timeframe for updates if you require the developer to do your updates.
Your website will not magically appear on the first page of Google. This is obviously a major target but search engine optimization is complicated and takes time. Google currently has over 200 ranking factors to consider. In the meantime social media offers a very powerful free marketing opportunity to get traffic to your website, if you do it right.
There are strategies to speed up your journey to page one but they will be the subject of another article.
The bottom line is, if you are in business, no matter how small, you should have a website. The benefits completely out-weight the costs. You don’t need skills and you can definitely afford it.