Does Your Small Business Really Need a Website When It Has Social Media Accounts and a Google My Business Presence?
More than ever before, Google and Bing present online searchers with the information they need right on their search results pages. Searchers are able to take advantage of the fact that Google and other search engines provide them with featured snippets, maps, contact information, click-to-dial buttons, reviews, and business times in their search results. Often, they don’t need to actually set foot on a business website for such information. Even information about the latest promotions at different businesses is usually available on social media. It’s enough to make the average business owner wonder if a business website is even necessary anymore.
A website offers a small business unique advantages. A business website is still a high-performing marketing channel. According to data by the Local Search Association, 70% of consumers report that they visit business websites for basic information even when such information is available on search engine results pages.
In the future, websites will continue to be important. Businesses, will need to change their websites, making them more than mere static information pages. What exactly does a website offer businesses?
A Business Website Puts Control in Your Hands
You are able to create a detailed Google My Business listing or Facebook page with all kinds of information online, but you don’t actually control how those resources are deployed. A website is what you actually own. Google or Facebook may decide at any point to change the way they offer information to consumers; if they do that, you may be left high and dry, with your efforts of years wiped out.
As anyone who has tried to keep their business active on social media knows, the rules of the game tend to keep changing, and it can be a full-time job keeping up. When it’s your website, on the other hand, you have control over what is displayed. As long as you continue to pay to have your domain name registered in the name of your company, and pay for hosting, you won’t have to worry about a third-party entity making rules about what you are able to do, or how you’re able to do it.
One in four consumers tend to visit business websites right before making a purchase. This makes websites even more important than social media.
Small Business Websites Offer Greater Depth of Information
Search results, social media accounts, and review sites offer consumers sufficient top-level data – your contact information, your business hours, and so on. Once potential customers are past the stage where they collect basic information about the businesses that they want to consider, however, they need more information. They may want to look at an About Us page to see how long you’ve been in business, look at close-up images of your products, read about examples of different applications, or chat with company personnel about product features. Only your company’s own website can offer your customer base information and access of this kind.
Running your own full-featured website also helps your company perform well on search engines. While search engine results pages do offer searchers all kinds of information and make it unnecessary for them go into business websites, the search engines don’t get this information out of nowhere – they get it from the websites that businesses run. If you don’t have a website providing authoritative information about your business, it could affect your showing on the search engines.
You Can Use Your Business Website to Capture Data
Your website allows your customers to gather information about your company. It’s important to not overlook, however, the fact that you can use your website to gather information about your customers, as well. From analytics about customer clicks and webpage hotspots, to form fills and engagement statistics, your website allows you to find out what product pages, what advertising campaigns and what blog posts are the most popular with your audience. These kinds of insights are what let you fine-tune your online relationship with your customer base.
Exploiting Your Website to the Fullest
How do you make sure that your business website serves your business the way it should? It can help to keep the following ideas in mind.
- Keep your website updated: your company’s contact information and business hours are visible on search engine results pages when this information is correctly structured on your website. Well-presented basic information helps your website perform better for you.
- Publish high-quality content: content on your blog and website that answers specific questions that your clients have about your products and services, may be presented in the search engines as ‘featured snippets’ at the top of the search results, making you highly visible. So it’s important to invest in high-quality content.
- Make your site an easy resource for information: websites that are easy to use and navigate on every kind of user device make your businesses look professional. Your website should offer online chat, online scheduling, maps, links to product reviews and other resources to help customers find what they need, all in one place.
A Website is More Than Just an Online Brochure for Your Company
It is a central hub where customers can find you, find information about you, and transition from being prospects to becoming actual customers. A website offers businesses a great opportunity to reach out on their terms, to their customers. A full-featured business website is not optional; especially when your competitors have websites. If you’re ready for a new or improved website, start a project request to get started.