Today, 43% of the world’s population – or more than 3.2 billion people – have access to the internet. In developed countries, this figure is closer to 96%. Within this vast number of people, a steadily increasing ratio is accessing online content via mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.
There has been a sharp increase in both in the number of mobile internet users and the amount of information they access. From the latest news to where to go and what to eat, what to wear and how to get somewhere, people are finding the information they need on the go.
Information from mobile internet access has become one of the most powerful factors in affecting our decisions on where to spend our money. In the near future, this trend is only set to increase.
This means that every potential customer can now make a decision on where to spend their money 24 hours a day. Your business is not open 24 hours a day… but a website is.
But My Business Already has a Facebook Page!
There are few businesses owners today that completely reject the idea of an online presence. The majority of them have a personal Facebook page. They either have a business page linked to that account or delegate that responsibility to an employee.
EVERYONE CAN HAVE ONE.
That’s right, the kid next door who sells lemonade on her lawn, the guy who dances for change at the mall and the business that shut down last year – they might all have Facebook Business pages. For them, that’s a good thing because it has made interconnecting easier.
However, for you as a serious enterprise, having only a Facebook page or similar puts you on an equal footing with amateurs and semi-serious entrepreneurs. As they say, you are judged by the company you keep.
On the other hand, a website puts you above the crowd.
It shows that you are on a different playing field altogether. Even though owning a website has become very affordable, it is still not free (at least not when it comes to a quality independent site). That serves to separate the professionals from the dabblers.
A website gives you credibility.
The Design Straitjacket
There are tens of millions of businesses registered on social media platforms.
Unfortunately, there aren’t tens of millions of templates from which users can choose. You are able to edit your profile picture and page banner but not much else.
The result is an uninspiringly dull appearance, similar to countless others.
If you are looking to showcase your innovative and creative flair, or looking to set yourself apart from the crowd, a social media platform is not the way.
Your own website, though, can be molded any way you like. More importantly, it can be adapted to what your customers like.
Maintain Full Control
Besides the limitations in design, your social media page is never entirely your own. The content and interaction guidelines set by Facebook and other such sites are non-negotiable. Break them and there are consequences.
These may be simple measures like posting restrictions. In other cases, it can be a complete shut-down of your page.
When you have your own website, you set the rules. You get to decide how to best run your online campaign and when or what your customers get to see.
If nothing else, a website is a mar of your independence as a business person.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Research shows that more and more customers are looking for products online through search engines like Google.
In fact, it has been shown that people prefer to type a name in a search engine over typing a URL. It gives your business immediate access to about 92% of the adult population.
How does this affect your decision to have a website?
Social platforms give a very limited range of options for SEO but websites give you full control over how your site appears in search results.
They also give you a greater ability to track what customers do when on your page using sophisticated analytic tools. Together, this gives an incredible insight into what customers are looking for and, of course, how to increase sales.
Save Time, Save Money
Has this happened to you?
You are not alone. This experience is a waste of time and contributes to employee fatigue. It increases workload without any return on the time and effort spent.
Yet, it can be avoided if you have a website that customers can visit. Their doubts may be cleared and only genuine customers will take up the time of your employees. It may even increase sales because customers can see the entire range of your products.
The result – more sales for far less effort.
Really, Is it Necessary?
Every successful business requires effort, exploration and discovery. A lot of that effort goes into things that you would not have done before.
Not all those individual efforts are sure to result in increased business standing. Your own business website is.
If you take a look back at your own purchasing behavior and that of others around you, you will probably see that there is no escaping the reach of the internet. The most successful companies in every field have an online presence and maintain it well.
When it has become as simple and as affordable to have such a powerful tool in your hands, the question you should really be asking is, “Why not?”