In today’s digital age, it is always surprising to hear when a business does not have a website or does not use its website effectively.
Regardless of the size of your business or what sector you operate in, a website is a crucial marketing tool, no matter how basic, which should be on everybody’s priority list.
Know the facts
Ofcom recently published its Online Nation report which analyses how people are behaving online and their attitudes to and experiences of using the internet, including a look into social media usage and how video content affects the way people digest information.
It reports that 87% of UK households have internet access; 82% using a home broadband system and 70% using a 4G mobile service. Ofcom also discovered the following about people’s weekly usage:
- 74% of internet users send or receive emails
- 73% of internet users search and browse the internet
- 46% of internet users engage in online shopping
Nine out of ten people are using the internet regularly, and most people will conduct pre-purchase research, so why are so many businesses missing the opportunity to communicate with potential customers?
“If your business is not on the internet, then your business will be out of business.”
– Bill Gates, Microsoft.
Benefits of a company website
Any customer would be suspicious of a company that did not have a physical address or contact details and in today’s digital world, this notion has expanded online. Creating an online presence and making sure your company information is quickly and easily available online is the first step to establishing trust with new customers. It can also help your business appear larger and help it to operate at a national level.
Builds a brand personality
A company’s branding must be clear and consistent across all communication channels, from the images to the text, it all helps to build a positive perception. A company’s website is often the first port of call for a customer and if the first impression is an attractive website which is easy to use, it is a good first step to attracting new business.
Can help a company to cut costs
There is no denying that the death of the high-street retailer is high on the national news agenda. Thousands of shops are closing as more consumers move toward a digital platform for their shopping needs. It is now quick and easy for customers to shop online, enabling them to review competitive products and prices at the touch of a button. Removing the need for a ‘bricks and mortar’ shop can help a company to reduce costs in several ways including staff wages, building rent, power and water.
Improves your online rankings
You must step up to compete! A well-written website with regularly refreshed information (such as a blog, news page or customer reviews) will help improve your SEO and bring your company closer to the top in Google searches. This is easy to do and is completely free! Not only does it help your company to be more visible online, but with the addition of regular positive customer reviews, it also helps customers in their purchasing decision and creates trust in your company. This is also a great foundation for you to start exploring paid-for online advertising or incorporating a wider public relations strategy to help boost your visibility online.
Works in collaboration with a wider PR and marketing strategy
Start thinking about your company’s promotional strategy as a holistic approach. The most effective strategy to develop your business, attract customers and build growth is to consider a PR and marketing (including digital) strategy that works hand in hand. Every piece of communication you put into the world - whether it be a blog post, an article published online or a social media post - will drive traffic to your website, increase enquiries and ultimately sales.
Next steps – take stock!
A bad website is worse than no website at all and can be more damaging to a company’s reputation. Make sure you audit your current website, reviewing the look, feel and language and ensuring it works for your company – ask friends and customers to provide feedback to help you create a better picture of what needs tweaking. Also check the functionality of your website – there are several free online tools that will check your website speed, SEO ranking and if there are any broken links.
Need to start from scratch? It can be an overwhelming process! Can you create a good design in line with your company image? Do you know how to create a user-friendly site map? Can you write content that is optimised for SEO? Do you know what platform (WordPress, Drupal, Wix, Magento) to build your website on? Do you know where to go to buy a domain name and where to host your website?
Whether you need a website audit to improve your current site or friendly advice on how to start from scratch, the Shooting Star team are here to help. Contact our team on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01522 528 540.