It’s amazing how many small businesses still haven’t gotten around to building a website.
We get it. You’re a busy professional and you’re hard at work doing the things that pay the bills.
But, have you considered that by skipping the website, you’re losing potential customers? Even if you’ve taken the time to build out your Facebook presence and have your products or services displayed on Instagram or Etsy, you’re still missing out.
Let’s take a look at the reasons why a website can become your best business partner.
Isn’t Social Media or E-commerce Enough?
When you first get started with your business, you may decide your budget or time is too limited for a website, so you rely either on Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram for your business, or you run your sales through Etsy or Ebay.
There are a number of drawbacks to that approach:
- You don’t control the platform or your content. You have to format your information to conform to the platform.
- Selling can be tricky on third-party sites. Other than dedicated shopping sites like Etsy, it can be difficult to convert an interested visitor into a customer since it’s hard to include “buy now” buttons or other options to make a sale.
- Searching is difficult. Without a website, people might not be able to find your business. Social media and shopping platforms have effective internal search engines, but their content doesn’t always show up on Google.
- You’re at the mercy of another company’s policies. Every platform restricts the kind of content you can upload and how you can deliver it to potential customers. They may even charge you just to get people to see it.
- You’re just another profile. When you rely on social media and sales platforms, it can be very difficult to stand out. With a website, you can include personal information about yourself and the history of your company. Most of all, you can tailor both the messaging and design to reflect your own personality and values.
- It can be a challenge to demonstrate ‘social proof.’ Even though customers can interact with you on social media, it’s difficult to link to Yelp or Amazon reviews, include testimonials or case studies, or show off awards and other recognition in a way that all customers can view.
- Analytics are insufficient. While some platforms give you basic analytics, it’s very difficult to measure conversions from views to sales.
- People may not take your business seriously. People expect businesses to have a website where they can learn more, contact you, or buy your products. According to the American Marketing Association, over half of consumers look for a website to learn more about a brand.
Digital entrepreneur Tim W. Knox argues that every business, regardless of size, needs a website. As he notes, “with a well-designed site, your little operation can project the image and professionalism of a much larger company.” He goes on to say that without a website, you’re losing customers to your competition.
Different Types of Websites
Depending on your business, there are a number of different formats and primary types of websites. It’s worth considering some of the options before you dive in.
- Business card site. These are usually one-page sites that include your business information, social media profiles, and contact information. While they may not convert into sales, these types of sites are a good starting point to help people know where to find you. Be sure to get a memorable domain like yourbusinessname.com.
- Brochure website. More complex than a business card site, this will allow you to explain your offerings in a little more detail. It’s still a very basic site, but compared to a print brochure, you can easily update it with new information as things change.
- Portfolio site. This is a great option for freelancers, artists, photographers, and writers who need to show off the range and quality of their work. Usually, these sites have work samples, credentials, testimonials, and easy-to-find contact information.
- Product/E-commerce site. These sites can be as simple or as complex as you need. Some people create single-page landing sites to sell a book with the click of a button. Others may sell hundreds or thousands of different products. There are e-commerce platforms and plugins that help you manage sales and can automatically calculate taxes and shipping. Some even create mailing labels for you!
- Membership/Forum site. These sites are ideal for cultivating your fans or customer base. People can ask each other questions, provide advice, and share experiences. This is a great option if you have a video game, podcast, or other product that people like to talk about.
- Blog or Media site. When you have a lot to say or want to regularly share new content, this type of site works best. You can share stories, recipes, videos, and other content. And because that content lives on your own site,, it’s permanent, searchable, and can be linked to from your social media channels.
Website 101: The Basics
You can set up a basic website and start reaping the benefits for your business in no time. Some of the more immediate gains you’ll see from setting up website include:
- All of your essential business information is in one place. You want to make it easy for your customers to find you and know how to get in touch. Depending on the kind of business you operate, you might include your business location, hours, and a phone or email address. Restaurants can include menus. Doctors can include basic fee structures and insurance information. A website designer can list their pricing and a contact form.
- Gives you inexpensive marketing opportunities. Your next customer might find you using Google. You’ll be able to include your website with all your other marketing efforts, including online or print ads, radio, Facebook, and business cards.
- Allows you to communicate with customers & clients. You can share updates on your website, including sales or special offers and new products. If you include a blog, you can share industry news, best practices, customer stories, and more. You can include an FAQ, instructions, policies, or tips and tricks on your website, reducing the need for your customers to call or email you with questions.
- Make sales happen. Whether you sell a product or provide a service, you can make sales through your website. You can control how your products and descriptions appear and how you handle shipping. Depending on your needs and your budget, you can start out with a simple PayPal button, or you can put your entire catalog on your website. If you provide services, a website allows you to set up a scheduling and payment system for consulting-for-hire a webinar signup page.
Many businesses choose to do even more with their websites, allowing them to expand their reach and bring in new customers. What you include on your website is limited only by your imagination. Make your business stand out so your customers know they’re in good hands.
Are You Ready to take the Plunge?
To build a great website, you need to start with great hosting. At Namecheap, we offer a variety of hosting plans that will fit every website. If you’re looking for a quick start with WordPress, you might also check out EasyWP. Best of all, we have customer service staff who would be happy to answer all of your hosting questions.