Being in the Web Design circle, I often get asked “Why is a website so important for my business?”.  Many new business owners and small business owners often think that a Facebook Page or a do it yourself website is enough for them.  I can start by saying that at least 75% of the websites we do here at Six10 are for clients who either thought they could do their own (through Wix of some other one click website creator) or are not seeing the results they need to from Facebook.  In this article, I want to share 3 good reasons why having a professional website created for your business is the absolute best step (and best use of money) you can make.  Let’s go:

REASON #1 – MARKETING

I know what you are thinking.  “A website isn’t marketing….” NOT TRUE.  A website is the MARKETING HUB of your business.  Think about this; why spend a sizable amount of money on billboards, radio and tv ads, and wraps or custom decals for your vehicles?  How much information is all that money providing to potential clients or customers? Example:  I am in my car driving down the interstate at 11:00am and I see a billboard for a very nice local restaurant.  They have displayed a beautiful plate of steak, potatoes, and a large sweet tea.  I see the restaurant name and that it is coming up in 1 mile.  What can I gather from that?  Well, they may or may not be serving a steak dinner at 11:00am, or they may or may not be open at 11:00am.  All I know is that it has a name and that it is coming up in 1 mile.  We should be realistic about the day and age we live in.  By the time my crew and I are hungry, we have already Googled nearby restaurants, navigated to each of their web pages to see what their menu might be, and decided the location based on the information that was provided by the website and how clean and easy to navigate the site was.  Like it or not, a business’s website is a direct reflection on how that business is operated. Conclusion, even if the billboard did catch our attention, there isn’t enough information provided to help make a decision or to catch our attention enough to visit your business.  With the average cost of a billboard (here in Kentucky) being between $5,000 and $15,000 per month (you read that right!) are you really making the best use of your investment?  Billboards and other marketing pieces are very useful in growing your business, but they are not the FOUNDATION for marketing your business.  Having a link on your billboard directing the public to your business HUB is the key!  They MUST be able to find the information they are looking for, and all that info can’t be found on a billboard, banner, poster, sticker, or flyer.  Do your business a favor, invest the $2,000 in a website for your business HUB before spending all that other money hoping it is eye catching enough to bring folks to your door.

REASON #2 – CONTENT CREATION AND MANAGEMENT

Keeping your website up to date (and keeping your clients and customers up to date with your business info) is crucial to keeping your customers or clients coming back.  If each time they visit your website they see the same old outdated information and photos, they are less likely to visit frequently and in turn, less likely to catch that new special you just posted, or share it with their friends on social media.  “But updating the site is too complicated” or “It costs too much to pay to have it updated every month” are some of the most common reasons why websites become out of date.  Even with the one click, do it yourself website creators, it is not as user friendly as TV ads and commercials like to portray.  You end up with cookie cutter templates, that if you could only move the address of your business from the left side to the right side, or your phone number from the top to the bottom or….. you get the point.  A website should be built the way you want it, not inside a cookie cutter creator.  Platforms like WordPress and Joomla are all becoming so popular because of the level of customization that you can accomplish, if you know what you are doing.  If you hire a professional, the sky is the limit on how you can make your website look and function.  If you hire the right professional, you can also be trained on how to easily update the content so you don’t have any extra fees for that.  There are also ways to make your website automated, pulling in Facebook news and events all on its own so you don’t have to do anything.  All this to say, you are not stuck with the cookie cutter template, or you don’t have to pay monthly to have your site updated.  There are very simple content editing solutions out there.  If you can write an email, or create a word document, you can create and edit content!  Keep your content management up to date by always keeping your website on the newest version of CMS platforms (WordPress, Joomla, etc.).

REASON #3 – SUPPORT

Let’s say you managed to create a top of the line, cookie cutter website for your business.  You are very happy with the end result (although it took you a lot longer to complete than was advertised, and you would have liked to move a few things around…) and then something terrible happens.  Your website crashes!  Your website is hacked by Optimus Prime and now it only shows a black background with rap music.  What can you do?  How can you recover it?  Sometimes this can be an impossible situation.  I have seen some websites that just leave it that way, not knowing what to do or who to call.  This is just another reason why spending a little bit of money to hire a professional is money WELL SPENT!  At Six10 (and I assume many other design firms) we do monthly backups of your site, monitor the health and condition of the site, and are standing by if you contact us with a problem.  Again, being realistic, problems will happen.  Your site is hosted on a server that could get a virus, could get hacked, or that could crash.  You are editing your site and you somehow mess up a single line of code that produces an error in the entire site.  One of your plugins becomes out of date and produces an error in the site.  There is so much that could go wrong, having the right people on your team to help you when it does is key.  Don’t take any chances.  You either spent a good chunk of money having the site created, or spent a good chunk of time learning how to do it yourself.  Let’s keep it safe!

CONCLUSION

Your website is the information HUB of your business.  Whether the public finds you on Google, navigates to your page from a flyer or billboard, or is directed there from your personal business card, they are looking to find information that will sell them on becoming a client or customer.  You only have 7 seconds to catch the attention of the user browsing your site.  Let me repeat that, YOU ONLY HAVE 7 SECONDS….. If they haven’t found what they were looking for, or had a good experience, they are moving on to the next search result and seeing if it looks any better.  Your site needs to be clean, easy to navigate, and mobile friendly.  Again, your site is a direct reflection on the quality of your business.  Let them know from the beginning that you are a professional and that your business is exactly what they were looking for!