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Do I really need a website?

Written by Margaret Shakibaie

I have been asked many times, 'Do I really need a website?' My response is “Would you build your house on a piece of land you don’t own?”

  • Do you want new customers?
  • Do you want to be more connected with your existing customers?
  • Is there any organisational process that can be made more efficient using online technology?

If you answer 'yes' to any of these questions, then your business does need a website!

Myth 'My Facebook page is enough'

do i need a websiteA Facebook page is an excellent business tool.  It is a free, easy to set up platform that encourages engagement with your existing and potential customers.  We recommend to most businesses that they set up and maintain a Facebook page, in addition to a business website.  There are 3 main problems with relying solely on a Facebook page to promote your business online.

There is a certain authority that comes with a business website

Prospective customers will generally view a business with a website as more professional than one without a website.  A .com.au domain requires an ABN or Business Registration Number to register, and indicates your business is a registered business within Australia, thereby increasing your authority. Associated factors, such as branded email addresses, also help with the perception of professionalism.  A website also enhances credibility with search engines.  It is very difficult (if not impossible) to 'optimise' your Facebook page to rank well in search engine results.

Only having a Facebook page will limit your market

Not everyone is on Facebook and trends in social media change over time.  If you focus exclusively on your Facebook page and your target audience decides to embrace another social media option in the future, you will lose business.  In fact, some research suggests that young people prefer Instagram, Twitter and SnapChat over Facebook now.  Don't make the mistake of putting all your eggs in one basket.

While you own your website, you have limited control over your Facebook page

What do you do if an angry customer or business competitor posts negative reviews of your business on your Facebook page?  It is unlikely you will be able to have them removed easily, if at all. Also what happens if Facebook changes the rules. You and your Facebook Page is the product FaceBook is offering their clients, paid advertisers. Paid advertisers can market directly to your followers, while on your FaceBook page. This will never happen on your website.

Your Facebook page may have served your business well so far, but there are no guarantees that future changes won't significantly impact your business.

Myth 'We rely on Walk-by Traffic'

It is true that some businesses benefit greatly from walk-by traffic.  However, it is likely that a well-designed website would significantly add to the number of customers who frequent the shop.  Local search, especially on mobile devices, has become a game changer.  People will google 'bakery near me' and head to what is listed driving straight past one not mentioned online!  If you would like more customers, invest in a website!

Myth ‘But I am in Yellow Pages’

Who even uses Yellow Pages nowadays. 10 years ago, we all would have a copy of the Yellow Pages, on hand. Yellow Pages is now online, and although you can find local businesses on online directories, you own your business website. You can make changes, promote product, and already convert the customer before you have even spoken to them.

Myth “Print catalogues are enough”

There is no doubt that print media is fast coming back, but to really leverage printed marketing material a link to a website is more cost effective, easier for the customer to find and by utilising QR codes you get the best of both worlds. Your website can be easily updated, promote specials and be used to celebrate your victories.

Use your website to engage and build loyalty

A business website will allow you to engage and connect with your clients and prospective clients. It allows you to be presented as an expert within your business to inform and educate. A business website can decrease operating costs and increase profitability. Inform and educate prospective clients before they even make contact.  You can even convert before the client even contacts you. A silent sales person working 24 hours a day. Seven days a week.

Your website is the pivot point of your online presence.

Facebook, Instagram, Google My Business, Twitter. All these platforms have a place within your digital strategy, but to make it all work, your business website needs to be the pivot point. One piece of content on your website can be leveraged by being cut and diced across various Social Media platforms all linking back to your website.