What is a website for anyway? Back when we were teenagers surfing the internet was one of our very favourite things. We would send emails to each other from across now very big computer room at school.
Those were still times of simple HTML websites, based on the simple table structure. The graphics also were definitely not breathtaking since server space was still quite expensive and larger images took forever to load.
Back then having a website was rather luxury, not every business could afford one, not many people knew how to use them anyway.
Now, half the time we live online. Many of us don’t even bother going to shops anymore since everything is one click away. And those shopping trips to distant cities just to visit this high-end boutique? You do that from your living room now. Possibly sipping wine, watching Game of Thrones.
Wider broadband access changed our lives in a way we could not imagine even 10 years back. And still, I meet sceptical people, who don’t believe having a website is the necessity. Well, here is why you should at least consider getting one.
1. Website gives you access to way more people
I know that newspapers are around for decades, and I’m well aware of the fact that a lot of people still begin their day by reading one. That’s fair, but most of the time it is a newspaper of national range. And ads in those can be costly. And even if you can buy yourself some space in a decent place in the newspaper, guess what most of the readers do after seeing this ad? Yeah, that’s right – they will check you out online. If you have a website you are paying only for a domain name and hosting space for a year or two and whatever you put there, stays there for that time.
2. Being online means instant credibility
Remember all those schemes where a company would call you up and asked you to give them some money in exchange for some goods or services that were meant to be delivered in few weeks time but never came? It is harder to get away with that now. For most customers, the company doesn’t exist if it doesn’t have a website. And if you are a retailer, you’d better have e-commerce store for your visitor’s convenience. That’s just how it goes. Remember Yellow Pages in the phone book? That’s online now.
3. Time to show off
Let’s say you are a smaller player on the market. Let’s say you are trying to make it as a makeup artist. You’re talented and you customers value your work. The only problem is that number of those is rather small and let’s be honest not a lot of people need fancy makeup every day. And there is this big, sparkly beauty salon around the corner that cuts most of the customers from you. Many of those people probably don’t know you even exist. They are missing out on knowing you, and you’re missing out too on a lot of potential customers. Now you might decide on having a website, show your best work there, write up a little bio about yourself, published some of your client’s reviews. Now it doesn’t matter that you might just be doing makeups in your living room – people know about you, like what you can do for them and your customer base grows.
Being online is really meant to make your life easier. Look at how websites and e-commerce revolutionised the way people shop for clothes for example. Now you can be in competition with big fashion names because you don’t have to rent out an expensive outlet space, you just put your stuff on your website, find a company that does real good SEO (wink) and bum! you don’t even have to leave the house. Possibly your wholesaler also has an online ordering system. And that way you are not tight down to opening hours anymore. You can sell all year round, even to people on another side of the globe.
5. 5000 Leaflets and 1000 Business Cards
Remember when marketing was all about the leaflets, business cards and posters on the bus stops? That’s in the past now. Obviously, you still can do it, but for some businesses, it just doesn’t make sense anymore. Why not? It is not cost-efficient. It is far easier to determine your target group, and promote your website via let’s say Google Ads to this particular group of consumers than to pay for the post to distribute your beautiful leaflets to everyone in given postcode.
Those may not be the only reasons to consider having a website. In fact, there is lots more. But to all startups considering getting online with their own even small landing page I want to repeat after Nike – Just do it! It will make you trustworthy in customers’ eyes, it will give you access to wider audience and finally, it will make your life easier. Just think about that – if you create a leaflet and if doesn’t work, you are already having more costs than you estimate, you’re frustrated, you’re stressing about getting it right second time round. If you have a website and design doesn’t work – you change it. And then you change it again. Even if it works, you change it frequently. To keep things fresh and alive.
I bet a few years from now we will all be sitting around the table, sipping some wine or other non-alcoholic drink and going: ‘Hey remember those days when you could get away not having a website?’ – oh wait, that’s already happening.