Why Do I Need A Website For My Business?
Simply put, that's where you're customers are, and where they're most likely looking for businesses, services and products just like yours. If you don't have a website, you're completely invisible to them.
So how many people are online exactly? According to the latest stats on http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm for June 30, 2016, there are now over 3.5 billion people using the internet, which amounts to almost half the entire human population! People are online and looking to the internet to find the products and services they need more and more.
The Internet Stats
Consumers are browsing the 'net for products more and more. According to a report on ystats.com (https://www.ystats.com/product/global-b2c-e-commerce-market-2016/) business to consumer (B2C) e-commerce transactions are expected to exceed $1 trillion US in 2016. According to a Ted Magazine article, this volume is expected to grow to over $3.5 trillion US by 2019 (http://www.tedmag.com/News/features/The-State-of-E-Commerce-in-2016.aspx)
If you're in B2B sales, such as manufacturing, wholesale, etc. don't think you can get away with staying offline. The same Ted Magazine article goes on to say that B2B e-commerce is expected to top $6.5 trillion US by 2020! If you're not online, you'll be left behind as the B2B economy shifts more and more online.
Benefits of a Website
By having a website, you make it at least possible for your potential customers to find and choose you for their needs. This is true regardless of whether your business is selling to consumers, or to other businesses or both. This is true whether your business is selling retail or wholesale. People are looking for what they need online more and more often.
By now the stats show they're online, looking for you. Can they find you? Only if you have a website.
There are many benefits to having a well-designed and implemented website, but these are the main ones:
In today's online world, your website is your phone book listing.
You can give more information about your company, and your products/services on your website then you can in any phone book listing, phone book ad, or any ad in any other media.
You can use other online technologies to connect with potential customers.
You can use online tools to automate all or part of the prospecting process, saving you time to focus on those most likely to buy and benefit from your products/services.
You can set up interactive tools to get 2 way communication going on between your company and your customers.
You are accessible to those who are looking for you online.
Is Just Having a Website Enough Then?
No. Having a website may get you on the list, but you may be just one of thousands on that same list. You do need to work the system to get yourself to the top of the list, where the people looking for you are most likely to find you. This is a process known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or sometimes called Search Engine Marketing (SEM).
SEO (SEM) is an entire topic in itself, and I could easily write entire articles on just that topic alone (in fact I already have, and they are available through my main blog page). In fact, in my earlier article, “Can People Find Your Business?” I revealed that there are approximately 17.5 billion searches per month. I invite you to read that article if you need to learn more about SEO specifically, or feel free to post your questions in the comments below.
What a Good Website Looks Like
While specific trends may come and go, and new technologies replace old technologies, there are certain timeless qualities that separates the good websites from the bad ones.
This is also a huge topic, too big to go into in the detail you deserve here, but I did a 4 part series on this topic already, titled “The Anatomy of a Good Website” which I invite you to read to find out more about that.
Once you get your website prominently placed in relevant searches, and have your website well-formed, you are in a good position to take advantage of this booming growth in online searches and e-commerce.
Granted, you will need to update your website from time to time to keep up with new trends and technology, otherwise you will end up with an aging, obsolete website and it will also fall behind in how well it serves you, and most importantly, how well it serves your customers in making the decision to buy from you. If your website doesn't serve their needs, they won't buy from you.
So in the end, to cash in on the trillions people are spending online, you must first have a good website, then you must promote it to your public, and finally, keep investing in keeping it up-to-date. Failing to do any one of these things will cause you to get left behind.
As always, if you have any questions, comments or feedback, please post it in the comments section below.