The world is finally getting it – a website is an absolute MUST if you own a business. Commerce began taking a digital turn years ago; these days, online search has become a convenience we can’t live without. We’ve all done it – you hear about the latest widget, then immediately turn to your phone and Google it. Nowadays, a business is perceived to be good as its website. Sure, you will always have your reliable customer base and maybe even their friends. But chances of getting business from an outsider, other than a random, drive-by stop, are slim. Customers turn to a website to learn about your product or service, and to confirm the legitimacy of your business. Roughly 85% of people use the internet to search for local business information. Without a website, your business is missing out on this opportunity to reach new customers.
So, here’s a big question: Why does a website cost so much? Remember – the internet is where 85% of your potential customers are likely to start, making a quality website a sound business investment right off the bat. Like any other type of construction, in order to be built successfully, there are the hard costs along with the equally important costs of time spent to plan and execute a quality project. Cheap/free websites are certainly available, but you will likely be missing out on key components that make your business website successful. To be clear – by successful, we mean to increase your sales.
Second big question: What should website costs include? Glad you asked. When considering a private website builder or outside firm to construct your site, make sure these important elements are included. We don’t build a website without these features – they are that important.
In addition to the 85% of consumers using the internet for business-related searches, at least 40% of consumers are conducting these searches from their mobile device. If your website is not properly optimized for search on mobile devices, the content on your site to be illegible from a phone or tablet. If searchers are unable to quickly find the information they are looking for THEY WILL MOVE ON TO A COMPETING WEBSITE. Not surprising that 57% of the mobile users will not recommend a business that has a subpar mobile site.
The Search is On
SEO? Search Engine Optimization. Your website needs to be appealing to both humans and computers. SEO is imperative for your business to be found in major search engines such as Google and beat out your competitors in being found on the first page. That’s what everyone wants right? Something to look out for – many website builders do auto-generated keywords, counting it as SEO. Although some SEO is better than none at all, please know custom SEO will always be much more effective. Learn more about that here.
Always Use Protection
Every website needs security. I’ll spare you the statistics to support this statement. Speaking from professional and personal experience, sites without some type of security are extremely vulnerable. They are completely open to hackers. Even if it is a small basic site, you want a basic security to scan and protect against malware and blacklisting. If you are processing monetary transactions or gathering sensitive information about your customers, then you absolutely need an SSL certificate on your website.
We’re on the List
Digital Business Listings: this one isn’t a deal breaker. But if you can spare it, pay for a year of listing your business profile on internet directories to ensure your business information is constantly updated and accurate. Digital listings are especially important for new businesses (or new websites). Your site can be easily located if this information is consistent.
There you have it – More than marketing tactics to sell add-on services, these features really do make a difference!