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Lesson 7: Do I need a website for my business? Looking at the short and long term effect.

HomeBranding 360 seriesLesson 7: Do I need a website for my business? Looking at the short and long term effect.
22
Feb
Lesson 7: Do I need a website for my business? Looking at the short and long term effect.


What is a website?

A website is a collection of related web pages, including multimedia content, typically identified with a common domain name, and published on at least one web server. Notable examples are wikipedia.org, google.com, and amazon.com.

A website is a marketing tool that costs you ONE TIME and continues to pay you back as long as it lasts.

It expands your customer base, enhances your advertising and marketing efforts and gives your business a mark of credibility. A website at its basic level tells millions of Internet users:

— Who you are, how you began, successes you’ve had, your reputation in the community.

— What your company has to offer — products and services

— How to find your location.

— The different ways to contact you (phone numbers, FAX, email, physical address)

— Special offers and upcoming promotions, new additions to products and services

— The Latest NEWS about your company

— What others are saying about you — Client / Customer testimonials.

When you consider the continual growth in numbers of Internet users and the growth of companies that are on the Internet, some of which may be your competitors, it could cost you NOT to have a web site.

If you’re a business owner on the fence about creating a website, I’ll save you some time—you need one. A good one. A professionally designed, lead-catching, sales-increasing, brand-differentiating website.

Here’s why:

Consumer behavior changes over time to adapt to modern technology, and consumer behavior has changed to adapt to the digital age. Let’s consider this example: we all know of the Ghana telecom phone directory and the likes. It was popular in the late 80s and early 90s.  Anyone who needed a service provider or a contact goes through it and so every business owner wanted to list in them. It made perfect sense.

Then came the World Wide Web and a new disruption to the commercial status quo: the digital transformation. As more and more consumers realized they could find what they needed online faster and more effectively than a phone book, behavior shifted away from using the printed directory.

Fast-forward to 2019, and the number of consumers that go online to find a local business has jumped to 97 percent. If you want them to choose your company, you need to be found online—meaning you need a website.

WHY YOU NEED A WEBSITE IN 2019—NO MATTER WHAT INDUSTRY YOU’RE IN:

REASON #1:  30 PERCENT OF ONLINE CONSUMERS WON’T CONSIDER A BUSINESS WITHOUT A WEBSITE

Your website is your number one marketing asset because we live in a digital age.  By now, consumers expect companies to have an online presence (including a website) and will consider a company that DOESN’T have one as less professional. (https://espresso.digital/small-business-website-statistics/)

REASON #2: PEOPLE ARE SEARCHING FOR YOU ONLINE

One of the benefits of having a website for small businesses is to be where your consumers are. There’s a reason so many companies invest in a website with search engine optimization (SEO). A large section of the public go online to find a local business, and 93 percent of online experiences begin with a search engine. Believe it or not, there are 3.5 billion searches on Google per day, and at this very moment, there is someone in your area online and searching for your exact service. Guess who’s getting their business? Not you.

REASON #3: 75 PERCENT OF CONSUMERS ADMIT TO MAKING JUDGMENTS ON A COMPANY’S CREDIBILITY BASED ON THE COMPANY’S WEBSITE DESIGN

Not having a website makes consumers trust you less. In fact, in 2018, 75 percent of people admit to making judgments on a company’s credibility based on website design. People are more likely to do business with a company they trust, and a website is the first place they go to check for credentials, reviews, and awards.

Beware, though—if you have a bad website design, it won’t help you at all. You have 10 seconds to leave an impression on website visitors and tell them what they’ll get out of your website and company. After this time (and oftentimes before), they’ll leave.

REASON #4: YOU NEED TO ANSWER BASIC QUESTIONS QUICKLY

Yes. This is where your site speaks for you

This is especially true for B2B companies. People visit your website when they want to know something or do something. They also expect immediate gratification, which means visitors should be able to answer three questions within three seconds of landing on your website:

Who are you?

What do you do/offer?

How do I contact you?

We live in an age of NOW, where consumers want the information they seek immediately—meaning your company’s website should answer each of the questions above without the user needing to scroll down the page at all.

REASON #5: IT WILL HELP YOU BEAT THE GOLIATHS IN YOUR INDUSTRY

This is very evident in Ghana as we all know Melcom and the Malls had dominated the market when it comes to shopping for items but in recent years online shops such as Jumia.com.gh and the likes could boast of more customer base than their giant competitors all by the power of the website. It is worth noting that Melcom has now moved online with their own website.

REASON #6: SOCIAL MEDIA REACH IS DIMINISHING

So, you think you don’t need a website because you’re on Facebook? Great, so is every other business in the world. You need a website even if you have a Facebook page.

And guess what? It’s getting harder for businesses to connect with users on the platform. Within a week of the last Facebook algorithm update, organic reach plummeted lower than it was already. Another bummer? In 2018, people spent 50 million fewer hours on the platform than they did in 2017.

While social media can help your business grow, don’t bank on using it as your sole marketing channel, especially in the future.

COMMON QUESTIONS AND CONCERNS BUSINESS OWNERS RAISE AGAINST HAVING A WEBSITE:

 #1:“MY BUSINESS IS TOO SMALL, AND I DON’T HAVE THE BUDGET FOR A WEBSITE.”

This is the most common objection we hear from small business owners.

Look—your website is your number one marketing asset. Saying you don’t have the budget for it is like saying you don’t have the budget for Business registration certificate—you’re going to get in big trouble later if you don’t fork over that initial investment.

Get a website—it doesn’t have to be fancy and expensive, but it needs to exist, and it needs to be able to be found by search engines.

#2: “I HAVE A GUY THAT SAID HE COULD MAKE ME A WEBSITE FOR FREE IVE ALREADY PROMISED HIM THAT HE WILL DO OURS…”

Is your guy a qualified web developer? If so, you’re the lucky one. Be sure to impart a sense of urgency in getting the site completed. If he or she makes websites as a hobby, you’ll want to consider the following:

A website can be compared to modes of transportation. You could ride a bicycle or drive a Mercedes — either way you can get around town, but one is more efficient, will take your farther faster, and will be a more comfortable ride.

The flashy graphics and catchy text you see on websites is only about 20% of what goes into developing the site. Behind all those pretty pages are codes and tags, specifically written to attain a higher placement in search engines, make the pages load faster and be more user friendly. Most beginners and hobbyists lack knowledge in the proper usage of codes, scripts, tags and search engine optimization. If you have a pretty web site, but no one can find it, you lose enormous marketing power.

#3: “I DON’T EVEN USE A COMPUTER. I CAN’T MAINTAIN A WEB SITE.”

Using the computer is like playing the piano. You can play “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” or “I see the moon”. Either way, you’re getting a tune out. To maintain a web site you should have a computer, and you — or someone in your company — should be able to send and receive email. Your web developer can help you with maintenance, changes and updates, which is generally simple and affordable.

#4: “I DON’T SELL MERCHANDISE ON-LINE. WHY WOULD I NEED A WEB SITE?”

This is a HUGE misconception a lot of people have. Just because you’re not ecommerce does not mean you don’t need a website.

You may not sell merchandise on-line, but do you sell something special that people are looking for? Do you ever have a customer say “I came here because you sell …” For example, a store that sells a line of products or brands that are highly sought after by a faithful following, (e.g. adidas, Boyd’s Bears, Nike, Red Wing Shoes, certain lines of animal products, clothing and accessories, tools) is going to have potential customers that search the Internet to find out who sells those brands in their local area. Will you be on the search results? Will your competitor be?

The same applies to restaurants and lodging. People are visiting a certain area. Over 70% of travelers in the United States and Europe use the Internet to set travel itineraries — and those itineraries include restaurants, accommodations, and shopping. Will you be among the choices found when they search the Internet?

If you offer something that people are looking for, a large portion of people (perhaps a market unknown to you thus far) will search the Internet, because it’s fast, it’s easy, it’s global and it’s private. A web site will put you in the running with others on the Internet.

How Much Does a Website Cost?

A website can cost anywhere from free to 1000 cedis upwards.

Do not let a price tag deter you from creating a website. If you’re a one-man operation with zero budget, at least get a basic website that you can jazz up later when you have a better cash flow.

Here’s what goes into the cost of a website:

Hosting – This is the service or company providing space on the internet for your website.

Domain name – This is shown as www.yourcompany.com, and is usually a yearly payment.

Design – Some designs are free, other cost money.

Plugins and extensions – Typically, the more plugins you want, the more expensive a website gets.

Complexity of design – The more customized your website is, the more expensive it is.

Final Takeaway:

“The Price of Having a Website Is Much Lower than the Price of Getting Left Behind.”

“Having a small business website isn’t just about selling your goods and services — it’s also about providing something of value to potential customers.”

Quick one on why a blog can’t solve the need for a website:

A blog (shortening of “weblog”) is an online journal or informational website displaying information in the reverse chronological order, with latest posts appearing first hence it’s dynamic (content changes from time to time).

A website on the other hand must have static data that provides all the needed details and infos about your business and services as outlined in reason #4 above so cannot be replaced with a blog. It is however advisable to include a blog on your website since it helps and supports in your search engine optimization process.

Check out sample sites developed by the team.

 www.shilohgoshen.org

www.hauslandconsult.com

www.hypacart.com

www.uniquetvnews.com

www.directmeonline.com

www.myafricanwears.com

www.sefkoproperties.com

www.dnfsoftwaresolutions.com

www.globalaccesshipping.com

www.futechgh.com

www.atlanticbreezehotel.com

www.sciencesolutionsgh.com and so much more….

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