World Wide Web has been around for a while now, so most businesses understand that they need to have a website. However, many companies fail to realize that a website is not just a static brochure or a flyer describing their business.
Your website is a living, breathing thing. It needs constant attention – fresh content, layout tweaks, analysis (analytics), search engine optimization and so on. Gone are the days when you can redesign your website every 5 years and still stay relevant. We live in a world of short attention spans and rapid development, so continuous (weekly or monthly) improvements are how you stay relevant.
Getting back to the original question, how a great website benefits your business?
1) A Website Can Create A Great First Impression
We all know that making a great first impression is extremely important because if the initial impression is negative, it can be difficult and time-consuming to turn it into a positive experience. Also, when we don’t have a lot of information about someone (e.g. a person) or something (e.g. business), it is in our nature to focus on external and often superficial things. For example, you place a lot more emphasis on what someone is wearing when you meet them for the first time, and less so as you get to know them.
The same applies to your website; when someone views your website for the first time, they are forming their first impression of your business. The importance of this first impression is still not fully understood by many business owners, because we still see many businesses with amazing storefronts, yet they have a second-rate website.
Your website is your virtual storefront, and more people will visit your website then your physical store or place of business; therefore, you need an impressive website to create a great first impression.
2) A Website Will Help You Understand Your Visitors and Customers
As we mentioned in our previous post “Buyer Personas: What are they, and how they can increase your sales“, the difference between a successful business and an unsuccessful one is often how well they understand and target their customers. Without an in-depth understanding of your customers, you cannot meet their needs, let alone try to exceed their expectations.
Learning about your customers (two examples):
- Google Analytics will track and report your website traffic, giving you incredible insight into who your customers are, their geographical location, what they are looking for, where they might be in the buying cycle, etc.
- User behavior and experience tracking tools like Hotjar will help you understand how users are using your website (mouse movements, taps, clicks, scrolling, etc.), a strong indicator of their motivation and needs. Observing this type of data will also help you identify any usability issues – what exactly is stopping visitors from contacting you, or purchasing your product/service.
These are just two of many examples on how a website (with analytics) can help you understand your visitors, leads, customers, and more importantly, give you insight into their wants and needs.
3) A Website Is the Best ‘Bang For Your Buck’ Marketing Channel
A great website is always there (day and night) to promote your business, collect leads, answer questions, collect valuable customer information, etc. If a website were an employee, it would undoubtedly be one of your most valuable employees. However, many businesses don’t think of their website as a hard-working employee, because their website was not built with marketing and lead generation in mind.
Also, a website with quality content has lasting value; we cannot say that with most other marketing channels. Temporary Ad campaigns (Google, Facebook, etc) may give your sales a boost, but nothing beats a website in its ability to provide lasting/consistent value. Well planned and written website content will drive traffic and leads to your website for years to come, so a great website is a gift that keeps on giving.
4) A Website Can Improve Your Business Operations
A great website is not only a powerful marketing tool but will also improve your operations. For example, a great website can:
- Lower your marketing costs (less reliance on paid advertising)
- Help your sales team close more sales (proving in-depth customer analytics)
- Manage your contacts/customers better (with CRM features, or CRM integration)
- Lower your product costs (inventory, shipping, workflows, and help you streamline your processes)
- Help you hire better employees (attracting better candidates)
- Reduce customer support costs (reducing call volume by providing relevant and helpful information on your website)
These are just some examples of how a great website can have a positive impact on all your departments.
5) A Website Can Give You A Competitive Advantage
Having a competitive advantage is the single best way to outperform your competition, and your website can help you get there. For example, a great website can make your business more efficient (lower operations cost), so you can pass these savings to your customers – making your product or service cheaper than the competition. Alternatively, you can keep those savings, and make your profit margins higher than your competition.
Furthermore, a great website can help you position your business as the leader in the industry (a trusted source for industry-related content), and being seen as an industry leader will always drive more leads and sales to your business.
Another significant benefit, often overlooked, is that website analytics can help spot new opportunities and market trends. For example, by analyzing website data you can quickly detect trends: hot topics, trending keywords, demography (location, age, sex, occupation, etc.), search queries, device information, and so on. Collecting and analyzing this information can be a powerful tool in identifying new opportunities, and more importantly, allowing you to capitalize on them before your competition does.
In summary, a website is an indispensable marketing tool, and if that’s not how you feel about your current website, then it is not utilized correctly. The world is full of inexpensive (often beautiful) websites without a lot of substance, but a beautiful website alone will not promote your business or result in more sales. Remember, your website is a marketing channel and not just a fancy online brochure.
Related content: Signs your Website is due for a Redesign