How important is your web site?
What about the Phone Book?
Hopefully by now your business has completely stopped all print directory advertising (Yellow Pages), since the percentage of people who actually open them before throwing them in the trash is less than 30%. In addition, the phone companies still charge based upon their distribution numbers, not the people who will actually look at your ad.
In case you were wondering why they still get distributed to almost every house and business in the US, it is actually for two reasons. One to keep the distribution numbers high so they can keep charging the same prices they did 10 years ago, and also because most states still require the phone companies to distribute at least the white pages anyway. Those laws are slowly changing.
Having your own web site
So if you want people to find your business online, while simultaneously building brand recognition, increasing efficiency, and boosting sales, you must have a quality, lead generating web site. I don’t see how any business can survive without one these days.
Another critical component of this that some business owners overlook, is your domain name. There are a large number of “built it yourself” services that don’t allow you to use your “vanity” domain name. And there are many other businesses that seem to think that their Facebook page or other social media site is all they need. However, if you really want to grow your business and build brand recognition, you need a custom logo, content, and especially your own domain.
As a side note, if you haven’t already stopped advertising for Google, Yahoo, or any of the other free email services, you should as soon as possible. Every time you send an email from your Gmail account, guess whose business your building brand recognition for? That’s right, Gmail (or Google). Every time you send and email, it should be coming from you@<yourdomain.com>. That way with every email you send, you are promoting your web site, building your brand recognition, and improving the perceived credibility of your business.
Why is it so important?
By 2017 it is estimated that 60% of all U.S. retail sales will involve the Internet either by direct purchase, or product/services research prior to the sale. In the next 5 years, the total amount of online sales is expected to reach $523 billion! Having your own web site allows you to tap into this huge revenue stream.
There is an initial design fee for any quality web site which can range from a few hundred dollars, to several thousands, depending on the depth, content, and function of the site. However, once that is complete, you will have a 24/7, multi-page, full color, interactive ad that is effectively distributed to the entire world. (Imagine what the Yellow Pages would charge for that (of course they can’t even offer that in print)). Usually your reoccurring fees will be limited to a hosting fee of between $25 and $55/month, and your domain registration which costs about $25/year. Of course that doesn’t include SEO or marketing to get people to actually visit the site which is also necessary.
Whether your selling online or not, your web site will be working for you long after your office doors are closed. If you are selling, hopefully you will have a slew of orders to process when you come back the next day. If not, the visitors can still research your company, your products/services, office hours, and more without costing you any additional money. It’s like having a full time 24/7 staff to answer questions, and sell products or services.
As I mentioned before, having your own domain name and quality web site will build credibility in the minds of your customers, and prospects. I personally have passed over many local service providers because they didn’t have a good web site that answered the questions that I needed answered. I’ve passed over many others who didn’t have prices listed. Also, given the choice between good web sites, I would pick the one that had their products actually available for sale, over one that didn’t allow online sales, just because it shows that they have gone the extra mile to make sure their process is convenient. Finally to address the email again, most of the time if I see an email land in my inbox from someone@<gmail.com>, I immediately assume that it is junk. I’ve deleted several important emails because someone emailed me a business question, or request, from a personal email account.
So the summary of this article is – if you don’t have a web site, get one. And yes we can help with that, but even if you don’t let us help, get help somewhere. We want your business to succeed!
I should also point out that your web site must be mobile friendly. It is estimated that between 50-60% of all online searches are performed from mobile devices. So if your site is not mobile friendly, you could be loosing out on as much as 50% of your online sales potential.