3 Flavors of Business Website Posted on June 26, 2017 (April 6, 2018) by Sarah Merciez Does every business really need a website? Unequivocally, yes. Even if you feel your business attracts through word-of-mouth only, you need a website to back up the professionalism of your in-person image. That said, how much investment you need to put into your site depends on your business, your marketing plan, your industry, and your stage of business development. For example, a start-up with a lean budget and a new idea should get started with something small, like a landing page for lead capture and market testing. On the other hand, a business looking to rank in search engines for a popular keyword needs a lot more content and tuning. We can show you what areas of a site are worth spending money on. We also want to help you see which areas can be kept trim to fit your budget. As a small business ourselves, we are aware of the challenges entrepreneurs face in getting a new business off the ground. We will help you recognize areas in which a little extra spending now matters later. The Online Business Card In the digital world, your website is the equivalent of your business card, but with much farther reach. Depending on the industry, up to 81% of clients check out a business’ website before purchasing anything from the business. If your business has no website, you are missing out on opportunities to reach new clients that you could never reach by word-of-mouth alone. Even word-of-mouth recommendations are more effective because you make your business easy to find when your clients and prospects go looking for you. Your website is your chance to make a strong impression that you are a professional business which values quality. Consider this your chance to wear your nice business suit to a job interview with your prospective clients. This type of site can be simple, but it needs to be done well. Here’s where you can skimp – site size. You don’t need a large site to make a good impression if the small site you have is done well. Here’s where you shouldn’t skimp – good design. Looks aren’t everything, but they do matter for a first impression. If your site is poorly designed or not mobile friendly, you’re likely to send the wrong message. The Local Business Site Do you have a local business whose market is in the real, not the online world? Use your site to amplify the reach of your real-world location. Your site can drive traffic to your brick-and-mortar location by providing the essential information to help visitors decide to call or stop by. While phone books used to be the main resource where customers found a business, they are nearly extinct now. Register your site in the online realm directories – Yelp, Google My Business, and Angie’s List, for example. Customers can compare businesses in seconds from the comfort of home. Consider how you stack up to your competitors’ sites. It is essential for this first impression to be competitive. Your lights might be off but your business doesn’t have to be. A website never sleeps. It can attract interest even when your business isn’t open. Be where your customers are. 70% of US Households now use the internet when shopping locally for products and services according to LocalVox Again, with this situation, it’s OK to start small, if you need to limit your investment. But don’t the skimp on platform. Go with a quality WordPress-based site now and save yourself the headaches later. Choosing a DIY site-builder at this stage of business is guaranteed to cause issues – like finding out that you can’t add a key new feature into your site: scheduling system, store, or payment processing. The Marketing Platform Site Maybe you’re a little more established, and you’ve got a marketing plan and budget. Here you need a website as a public forum to prove that you are the best in your field. A polished site with quality content can become a quotable source for an individual or media outlet looking for information. Creating shareable content presented in a professional manner can help turn your current clients into marketing agents. Need to rank on Google? This is the kind of site you want – content robust, thoughtful user experience, good calls-to-action. This type of site has a long-term plan to show potential clients that you are a knowledgeable, trustworthy professional, winning their business is much easier. Also, when you get attention or awards through media such as Angie’s List, Better Business Bureau, or even local news sites you need a website to funnel new clients directly to your business. Those venues have already done the most difficult part of recruiting new clients: identifying potential customers. It is essential to build the bridge that turns interested customers into happy clients. A critical investment for this type of site is a blog: your pedestal for having an extended conversation with your online audience. Like the smaller site types, good infrastructure and design are also a given. Finally, you want to make sure that the site has the right start for performance – quality, scalable hosting. Imagine a day when your content goes viral and make a plan that allows your site to flex its resources to avoid a crash. — These are 3 of the most common business sites we see. We work with business owners to help guide them to understand where and how to invest in their online presence. Want to learn more? Contact us today to learn about our packages and custom offerings.