The number of people using the internet has doubled over the last five-six years. From 1.15 billion in 2007 to 2.27 billion currently … this is too phenomenal a jump to ignore! It wouldn’t be presumptuous to say that the domination of internet is so complete, it would be hard for most of us to imagine life without it. From shopping and catching up with friends to read books, looking up information, and tracking global news, what is it that we don’t do on the internet these days?Therefore, it comes as something of a surprise when people, especially those with small businesses, debate the value of having a website. The overwhelming success of the internet and the rapid pace at which it has grown should be reason enough to justify a robust online presence for your company. Apparently not! It seems you need a little more convincing.
In the early years of the 21st century, the internet was a privilege that was reserved for a select few. It wasn’t widely available and it certainly wasn’t cheap. Back then, being listed in the Yellow Pages ensured visibility for a business , flyers and pamphlets, banners and billboards were the most common forms of advertising.
Fast forward to present times and you find websites are the backbone of a commercial venture. Yellow Pages have become almost redundant and it is hard to imagine a company going strong simply because they distributed pink flyers throughout their neighborhood. In fact, if you don’t have a website, your efforts at promoting your business will be met with skepticism, and, in some cases, outright dismissal!
You don’t believe us? Fine, consider this example. You meet a prospective client, charm him with your words, paint a rosy picture, and sell your product with all its bells and whistles. Before leaving, you hand him your visiting card, relevant literature, and leave feeling really good about yourself. So far so good!
However, a week or ten days later, your client – in an effort to be thorough – decides to check you out. He reaches for your visiting card or brochure, flips it over this way and that, reads the content, enjoys the illustrations, but can’t seem to find what he’s looking for – a website URL for your company!
Now what? You don’t expect him to come over to your office, do you? And, there’s only so much you can glean from a telephone conversation. So, with absolutely no way of checking up on your company, he will chuck your visiting card aside and consider other options. Your lack of foresight cost you a client; in fact, you’ve probably passed him on (with regards) to your competitor!
Do not underestimate the power of a website. It’s a business card, brochure, letterhead, flyer, and billboard … all rolled into one. It’s your virtual piece of real estate online. One click and customers can find out about your management. Another click and they can see your entire range of products, complete with descriptions, prices, and other specifications. In no time your customer will know about the company’s values, policies, where you are located, what your office timings are, any special offers you are running, and the last community event you organized in support of under-privileged children… without once moving from his chair!
If that isn’t reason enough to motivate you, consider the other benefits of having a website. One, it boosts your credibility as a business. Without a website you will be dismissed as a company that doesn’t take itself seriously. Worse, potential clients will view you with suspicion, wondering if you aren’t out to fleece them. According to the Nielsen Advertising Survey (2012), 58% of global consumers stated that a company with a website inspires greater trust than one that doesn’t have one.
Secondly, it’s a great way to build your brand. By overcoming geographical barriers, your website reaches out to people all over the globe. It functions round the clock, rain, shine, hail, or storm – all through the year. You will never have to worry about customers going back empty handed because they happened to arrive after ‘business hours’.
Finally, sharing also becomes a piece of cake. When clients are in a generous mood, all they have to do is share your website URL with friends and family members using social media platforms like Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter. Opinions are exchanged, products recommended and reviews written… all in a matter of seconds. No more turning the house upside down searching for a phone number or scrawling the address of a company in illegible handwriting!
Technology is evolving rapidly and along with it the manner in which people do business. Refusing to adapt to changing times could invite serious penalty, not the least of which could be saying bye-bye to your business ambitions. If that is not your intention, we strongly recommend that you invest in a website … sooner rather than later.
Alka Verma is a blogger specializing SEO, SMO and web hosting industry. Currently, she is working with Addictive Media, New Delhi, India. She has authored several blogs on web Design, SEO, SMO and hosting and these articles are very popular in the web industry.