When people are looking for a product or service, they turn to online search. They may search based on keywords, or they’ll search specifically for your business name.
The truth of the matter is, your audience is going to judge you based on the results of that search. They want to know whether you’re the right business for their needs.
If you’re a landscaping company who focuses on building extravagant water features, someone who’s looking for regular yard maintenance is not going to be a good fit for you. They’d rather not waste their time setting up an appointment, only to be told that you don’t offer those services. They want to see that information right there on your website.
While there are a plethora of items that will show up in the search results, 30% of people won’t choose your business if you don’t have a website.
Customers expect you to have a website
Current and potential customers want to view your website. Using social media and business listings alone isn’t enough to portray what your brand is all about.
Consumers want to know if you are the right business for their needs. With technology, today’s customers have the ability to be fully informed. Customers can see reviews and opinions, but a website allows you to provide the information they need to make an informed decision.
A website helps you to fully control the narrative of how your story is told, and that story allows people to get to know, like, and trust you. That increases the chances of them doing business with you.
“But I put all my information on my social pages”
In my tenure of working with small businesses, I’ve heard many reasons that business owners feel they don’t need a website.
One of the most common arguments is, “I have everything on my Facebook page.”
There are still many reasons you’ll want a website.
First, having a website helps your business rank better in the search results. While there are many factors that help with ranking, you simply have more opportunities to compete by having a website that you own.
When it comes to social media and business listings, you don’t own that space or those contacts. What if, one day, Facebook just closes up shop or crashes? You’ll lose out on all of those connections.
Plus, you’ll be tied to the direction that your social media platform chooses to go. You’ll be highly affected by the ever-changing algorithms that limit your exposure. Don’t rely solely on a social media platform to fit the needs that a website will accomplish. You can use them both to get the most out of your online marketing efforts.
Having your own website allows you to better control the impressions you’ll be making.
What to include on your website
When you’re building your website, there are a few things to keep in mind.
In order to meet your current and potential customers’ expectations and prove your credibility, make sure your website:
1. Is mobile responsive
First and foremost, consumers are expecting your website to work quickly and easily, no matter what device they’re using.
Trying to read or even purchase a product from a website that just doesn’t function well on a phone is one of the most frustrating things. It simply doesn’t work or you have to scroll here, there, and everywhere to try to find what you need.
When people get to your website, they expect it to look good and work well.
Customers typically only stay on a website for about 15 seconds, and they expect to be able to easily find what they need without a map and a compass.
2. Has an attractive design
While we’d like to say that people “don’t judge a book by its cover,” they are certainly judging your website’s design.
Your website should showcase cohesive branding and images of your products, services, staff, and customers (with permission). Potential customers want to see success stories and be able to envision themselves using your product or service.
A well-thought-out and visually appealing design will only add to your credibility.
3. Answers consumer questions and provides value
Your website should answer some basic questions and provide information so consumers know how to get in touch with you.
A basic website structure has three pages: a “home,” “about,” and a “contact” page. These pages provide key information that can be accessed quickly by potential customers:
Your website’s “homepage” is the front door to your business online. At a high level, it should let people know what you offer, why consumers should care, and provide links to resources and next steps.
Think about your business and what your end goal is. Ask your website visitors to take an action that helps you accomplish that goal, like filling out an online form.
If you sell your products or services online, people expect to see the details and even make that purchase right then and there. When consumers are ready to make a purchase, your website needs to be there, ready to take payment and facilitate that purchase.
The “about” page can portray your business mission, the story of how you got started, and why you do what you do. Let them know how they can benefit from working with you and what differentiates your business from the competition.
This page of your site lets people know where to find you, when they can find you, and how they can get in touch with you. This is your chance to invite them to connect with you further, like on social media, or by signing up to your email list.
Provide even more value
In addition to the basic questions your consumers will have, you want to try to field more specific questions that you get.
What do I mean by that?
Think about the questions you get from prospects all of the time. Those are the same questions consumers are typing into Google.
By answering these questions throughout your website, your business will organically rank higher in the search results.
For example, answer these questions in a blog or resource center. Show consumers that you have the expertise that can help. Once you’ve proven your credibility, they’ll be more likely to actually do business with you.
Your potential customers are searching for you. Are they finding your website?
Having a website will help you meet your current and potential customers’ expectations.
They’re looking at your business and want to ensure you’re trustworthy, so use your website to provide the valuable information they’ll be looking for.
Ensure you’re making the right impression with your website’s content and meeting your visitors’ expectations.
Take the first step in building a website today by setting up your domain.