Is it Necessary for a Business to Have a Website
Is it Necessary for a Business to Have a Website? This is probably a question that many small business owners ask themselves.
Some businesses even have a website without really understanding its purpose. If you are asked what your website is for, you may have answered “it is a store front”.
Why You Should Have a Website
The “storefront” analogy is a good one. A website is your store front in the digital world.
The reason you need a website is the very same reason why you would need a physical store front: To attract customers to your business, who may have the need for your product or service.
Types of Website
Before you start building a website or start to talk to someone about building one for you, you need to know what type of website you are going to need.
If we go back to our store front analogy there are many different types of store front:
Car service centres
The list is endless.
What is important to note is that all these store fronts will look different, depending on the service or product they are offering.
The restaurant is going to most likely have a cosy, intimate ambience with plenty of comfortable seating. There will be information readily available about the types of cuisine offered, etc. It will be in a location where people go to socialise.
A supermarket will have a much larger premises with stock laid out so that you can easily find what you want and buy it. It will be in a very convenient location with great consideration given to the availability of parking.
The same goes for websites.
You need to understand what type of information, products and services your customers are going to expect to find on your website.
If your business is retail, then the obvious choice is an online store. Careful consideration needs to be given to how easy it will be for your customer to find the products they are looking for, and how easy it is to complete the purchase. You will need to make sure all the information required for your customer to make an informed purchase decision is readily available.
Your business may be more about providing a service. It could be that the purpose of the website is to provide prospective customers with information about a product or service they are considering. The aim could be to have the customer contact you, instead of ordering something there and then. If this is the case the website needs to be designed, so that customers are guided from one piece of information to another, so that they can ascertain if the product, or service is what they think they need.
Getting Your Website Found
This is just as important as it is for a physical storefront.
Restaurants and supermarkets are located where there is a high level of foot traffic so that they can be easily found.
Car service centres will be located in an area where they have space to house all the equipment, they need to service cars, and where car owners can easily drive in and out of.
Websites are all housed on servers. It is search engines that find them.
Therefore, you must think about how your prospective customers are going to use search engines to find your service, or product.
Search engines look for content hosted on websites that best answers the search enquiry that has just been submitted. They don’t rank websites. They search for content.
Put yourself in the shoes of a prospective customer who has never heard of your business. What sort of questions, or search terms are they going to type into their search engine if they have a need for your product or service?
Write down these questions or search terms.
Next write up an answer to each of the questions or write a blog post giving important information relevant to each search term. This is the content that you will need to have on your website for it to be found by search engines.
When you are planning your website, you need to consider where on the site this information will be located and what other relevant pages it should be linked to.
Only when you have a clear idea of what type of store front your website needs to be, and the information or answers it needs to provide your prospective customers should you consider contacting a web page builder.
Websites do the same job as a physical store front.
The considerations you put into choosing the type of physical store front need to be applied to deciding how your website should look.
With a physical store front its location is what helps it get found. With a website it is the content hosted on it that best answers the search terms and questions that have been entered a search engine.
In later blog posts we will look at how content should be optimised so that search engines can find the content you have diligently created.