Even now, it surprises me how many small businesses I meet at networking events who still rely solely upon social media to run their small business and do not have their own responsive websites. The Federation of Small Businesses stated that one-in-four UK small businesses still operate without an online presence, and for those that do, only a third are using it for sales. Small Businesses in the UK seem to be sucked into a social media void and with all the latest ups and downs with Facebook I really can’t reiterate enough the importance of having your own online web presence.
5 benefits to having an online presence :
I could write a book listing all the benefits to having an online presence, from saving you money to of course making you money but here are 5 pretty important ones.
Business Credibility :
Just like “if you haven’t taken a mirror selfie at the gym did it actually happen?” having a small business website gives your business credibility and makes you look like the real deal. Personally I still believe that many crafters who run solely through 3rd party sites such as Etsy or Folksy come across as hobby businesses. A fully branded website that clearly states all your selling platforms and contact details enables you to build up a customer base, cash in on google searches (far better than relying on Etsy) and direct customers to the right places for online sales or physical events.
Developing your online presence is also an excellent way to increase your brand identity. On 3rd party platforms you can loose your individual branding and identity so use your website to build a credible and recognisable brand.
Local Searches :
We all do it, according to The Consumer Barometer Survey / Google 2016 94% of internet users search online first to find local businesses. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve searched for the nearest supermarket whilst on holiday both in the UK and abroad because lets face it I’m one of those people who always forgets things! Check your search history how many times do you add regions, towns, street names in your searches? Now think about your website. How many pages actually have your location in the keywords, an address on your site or have claimed your Google places?
Always Open :
A website allows you to be online 24/7 trading with the world. Unless you have scheduled updates on social media whilst you sleep there is an on/off period. Your website is designed to enable you to make online sales at 3am and provide critical information to customers at a click of a button.
Grows and Develops :
The great thing about a website is you can start small on a low budget and build upon it as your finances grow. The main aim is to start building your online presence with your own domain. Some platforms and developers offer packages tailored to suit every pocket and have add ons to make your online presence better when you can afford it.
Getting to Know You :
We buy from people we like and relate to. Having a website provides you with the perfect platform in which to engage with customers and give your business personality.
A website also provides you with specific customer information. Using Google Analytics you can clearly see how customers interact with your website, what content they relate too, what search terms are used and even where sales are lost. This key information can help you build and develop a website that is geared completely towards your perfect customer.
If you don’t already make 2018 the year you start your online presence journey. You’ll thank me in the long run.
This post is in collaboration with Silky Ocean Studios.