Do I need a website for my business?
This is a question that was asked in a Facebook group and the responses were truly enlightening. There were a high number of business owners that said they didn’t need it. Posing that it is industry and product/service-based. A direct quote is “I’ve never had someone ask me for the link to my website.”
Upon doing some digging with follow-up questions. The response was based on the perception of it not being an immediate need.
Which on some level I tend to agree. It shouldn’t be your starting point ahead of your business strategy and brand development.
Without doing the work you can’t set the expectations, strategies, and or goals for a successful website. Which would turn the investment into a wasted one if you’re just building it to build one.
That said a website provides a significant advantage over businesses that don’t have a website. Having a website increases your reach and ability to market and promote your business. It also adds to your credibility as a business. When consumers see that you invested in your business. It helps to put their minds at ease about investing as well.
How early in the process do I need a website?
A website should be within your top 3 to 5 tasks when it comes to your business. The 3 to 5 is based on whether this would be a completely new business venture or something that already exists.
If the business already exists but there just wasn’t a need at the time for the website. It limits some of the additional recommended best practices that should be in place.
Mainly because at this point a business should have already established their brand and have a pretty good idea of who their target audience is and will be going forward.
For those new businesses, I believe that the first step should be identifying the problem that you’re setting out to solve and for whom. Followed by figuring out how you’re going to go about providing the solution in a way that gets consistent results.
Once a business has a handle on the what and the how. The focus shifts over to the who and the why. These are the steps that already established businesses can bypass and move forward without taking.
Although my suggestion is to always re-evaluate the situation because going digital and creating an online presence changes the audience and how you communicate with them.
The what and the how remains the same but the way that you convey it changes. You’re not speaking to people directly or relying on word of mouth.
The who and the when is what serves as the differentiator to competitors. Who is your target audience? Why are you motivated to address this problem? These should be a priority in addressing regardless of the status of your business.
These may be people that don’t know that much about you. Which requires a change in the approach. You’ll find yourself spending more time on your journey and story to bridge that gap of being unfamiliar with you and what you’re about.
Having the answer to these questions will help you put together the strategy needed to work on a successful website. Without your brand positioning, you can’t set the goals for your business and website to address.
What factors into a successful website?
Successful websites take into consideration, the target audience, the competitors, and the brand. All of these factor into marketing and how to craft your content. The approach matters because it dictates the path that you take to get to your goals and success.
Ask the right questions to get useful answers and solutions. You can’t speak to your competitors without knowing the what and how that you’re trying to address. That is what is going to help you research who else is in the space with a similar approach and solution.
The how is going to be a differentiator and help with narrowing down your target audience. The difference between you and your competitors for better or worse.
If you can’t convey who your target audience is and how you solve their problem/concern. You can’t truly address the content on the website or the marketing of the brand.
Brand positioning is going to matter. This can be mission statements and overall messaging of who you are and who you provide solutions to.
Which is how where comes into play. A successful website will convey where the business is focused on providing solutions. Helping with local SEO as well as overall search engine optimization strategies. You have to help visitors self-identify with your offering(s).
Why Marketing Should Begin Before The Website Launch
A website designed for local business solutions is going to be set up differently than one focused on a wider spread targeted audience. It will drive the SEO strategy. From the domain name to the keywords that you’re competing for in your area and industry.
By getting your priorities straight and strategically organized. You’re setting your business and site up for successful marketing. The marketing and promotion should also begin before the website is complete. This is where I agree with those business owners that say “the website isn’t necessary.”
The focus has to be on developing the brand so that you’re creating a desire to visit the site before it’s live. Ex: This can help eCommerce-based businesses get pre-orders in place to gauge the need for stock. In addition to the allocation of a marketing budget.
How does the offering affect the structure and marketing of the website?
The offering of a business dictates its best practices for marketing and promotion. Ex: A website being built in the Bronx for a brick and mortar store location is going to have a local SEO focus on driving in foot traffic. The focus wouldn’t solely be on sales. You have to justify having a location by having people frequent it.
A website based on services being offered in the Bronx is going to need to speak to accessibility, convenience, and accountability. As an SEO strategist, I’m going to consider the area with the structure of the website.
Service-based businesses can begin to do the work long before the website is complete. As the website is more of a brochure website answering frequently asked questions and building up a comfort level with a performance-based offering.
A website based on products being offered in the Bronx is going to need to speak to inventory, shipping, and receiving as well as credibility. There would be more of a focus on the visual aspects and making sure that the look and feel are polished. The language, the images, and the overall perception of the website.
Products can be less personal because there may or may not be direct contact with the seller and buyer. So it requires building more credibility on the website. This lengthens the sales process and customer journey. That has to be accounted for when constructing the website.
You will most likely need more landing pages and more content that is designed to help the visitor through the customer journey.
The Do I Need A Website Conclusion
Times have changed a website has become part of the expectations of most businesses. There are always going to be exceptions to the rule but it doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t benefit from it as well.
It is hard to be competitive in a market and control a share of voice without having a website that can speak for your business. Conversations and factors are being considered 24/7 and if you’re not part of the conversation or represented you could be missing out.