Newsflash: You need a company website.
If you don’t have one, it’s high time you start building one. NOW.
I realize that it’s 2013 and this advice may sound like old news. And, it is. But, it’s amazing to me how often I discover businesses without a website.
It used to be that websites were optional. Maybe you only needed if you were a large company or sold products online.
However, people’s expectations have changed. Everything is online. And, people expect you to be there too.
Don’t believe me?
Recently, I was looking into a new restaurant in town that I wanted to try. I searched for the restaurant online, but I couldn’t find a website to give me information about hours, the menu, parking, etc.
Yes, I found a Facebook page, but it lacked much of the information I was looking for.
So, I went somewhere else.
How much of your business is going elsewhere because you don’t have a website?
A Company Website is No Longer Optional
If you’re not convinced your company needs a website, read on for several reasons why I think it’s a must in today’s digital world:
1. It serves as your company’s digital storefront.
Although you may not run a digital business, it’s still important to have a presence online. It’s your home base where people go to find out basic information about your company — your location, hours, what you do, who works at your company, etc. Your website is the one place where people expect to find all of this information quickly and easily.
2. It legitimizes you.
The other day I met with an entrepreneur who is getting his business off the ground. As I prepared for the meeting, I searched for the person and his business online. However, I only came up with a LinkedIn profile. I couldn’t find his business anywhere.
If you want people to take you and your business seriously, you MUST have a website. Not only does it legitimize your business, but it helps provide valuable information about your company.
3. It’s a web property you own.
A Facebook page is not a replacement for a website.
Sure, having a Facebook presence can be helpful, but it shouldn’t be the only place you have information online. Social networks often change the rules. What worked for a while, might not work any more.
And, social networks don’t have the capability to share all of the information you can share on a website. Because you own your website, you control how it looks and how the information is presented. You’re not limited to the confines of the social network’s format. I offer many of the same reasons for why you should own your blog.
4. It helps you differentiate your brand.
Your website offers an important branding opportunity for your company. The design, visuals, copywriting and content can help convey the personality of your brand. A website gives you the chance to differentiate your company by telling your brand story. It helps people want to buy from you before they ever set foot in your store or interact with your company. That’s powerful stuff.
5. It helps you get found.
Your website offers way more opportunities to get found via search engines than just relying on social networks (or nothing at all). If you want people to find you when searching for information, you must have a website. And, if you really want to improve your search rankings (and better connect with customers), your business needs a blog.
6. It allows you to scale.
When I met with that entrepreneur, he told me his brand story in person. I had to ask him a lot of questions because it wasn’t available online. That doesn’t scale. It’s not an effective use of your time to constantly tell your story on an individual basis. Your website can lay the groundwork for that conversation and gives people the opportunity to learn more about you en masse.
7. It helps you generate leads and sales.
Speaking of scaling, your website can be a fantastic way to generate leads and sales for your business. Offering premium content, such as ebooks, white papers and webinars, can be a great way to generate leads. And, if you have products to sell, you can make them available online with an eCommerce solution. There might even be services you could sell directly on your website to help shorten the sales cycle.
There are likely a dozen other reasons why your business should have a website, but this should help you see why it’s so important and no longer an option for businesses today.
What would you add to the list? Why do you think it’s important for companies to have a website?
And, if you don’t have a website, what questions do you have about building one?
Image credit: Lara604