How do people discover your business without a website?
Gone are the days when a copy of the bulky, softcover Yellow Pages would bring in the customers. Now, it’s as though your business doesn’t exist if you don’t have a website. People pick up their shiny cellphones and run online searches to find the business that fits their needs instead of flipping through musty old phone books and directories.
Recently, I moved. It wasn’t a huge move, but it was far enough away from my old surroundings that I wasn’t sure what businesses existed in my new town. After what felt like years of hauling a never-ending stream of boxes down multiple flights of stairs, I arrived at my new place — and I was starving. I like supporting local businesses, so I located my phone amidst a jumble of papers and used Google to find some nearby restaurants to sate my hunger. What was so special about what I did? Absolutely nothing. In fact, according to SEO Tribunal, Google receives over 63,000 searches per second on any given day. Even a small sliver of that traffic could do wonders for your business.
Does having a website guarantee that my business shows up first in search results?
First off, if you don’t have a website you won’t be showing up in any search results. Secondly, your website has to be good. Search engines don’t reward bad websites with better placement in search results.
Creating a good website that performs well and captures customer attention is a lot easier than it used to be with the advent of website builders. Website builders, like ours, help you create a good-looking, sensible website in a short amount of time. They provide a large selection of customizable templates for you to choose from; then, you click on the item you want (photo placeholder, text box, etc.), drag it where you’d like for it to appear on your website, and drop it in place. You can customize those elements with your own wording, photos, videos, and more. Search engines favor websites with good, informative content. If your website isn’t appealing to customers, or doesn’t answer their questions, it won’t appeal to search engines either.
Do I need a website if I don’t sell products or services online?
Yes! Not selling products online is no excuse to forego a website. Think of your website as the digital face of your physical location. You always want to put your best face forward because you never know who’ll see it.
Your customers, and potential customers, expect you to have a website as well. If they find you don’t have one, they’ll wonder why that is and could question whether or not you’re a legitimate business.
Your website is a goldmine of marketing opportunities.
On social media, you can’t control the conversation about your business. People can comment, like, react, or otherwise change your business narrative. But this isn’t the case on your website. On your site, you position your products and services (even if you don’t do e-commerce) exactly as you see fit, and tell your story the way it should be told.
You can even derive insights from the actions your visitors take on your site — what are they clicking on? How far down are they scrolling on the page? And so much more! Apply these insights to refine your messaging, your marketing, all the way down to your products and business M.O., if applicable.
If you’d like to continue building a relationship with your site visitors after they’ve left your site, consider email marketing. Email marketing is a small investment of your time for a big return ($38 return for every $1 spent.) You’ll need to include an email marketing sign-up list on your website, but any good email marketing provider will give you premade options you can quickly add to your site.
How do I start creating a website?
Good question! It all starts with a great domain name. You can think of your domain name as your website’s unique name and address. It distinguishes your website from all the others out there.
Your domain name should reflect your business, and if possible, match your business name. If you can’t find an available domain name to register, consider purchasing a premium domain name to really solidify your brand.
Got your domain name? Good, let’s continue.
Plan your website, then create.
It’s a smart idea to plan out how you think your website will be used, what pages should be included, and how to leverage content on your site. What you put on your site should be intentional and serve a purpose, whether that be to inform your customers or drive purchases.
Before creating your website, ask yourself the following questions.
- How many people do I expect to visit my website each day?
- The amount of website traffic you expect to receive will influence what type of web hosting you need. Website hosting is where all the data and files that comprise your website live. It’s also what allows you to publish your website on the internet, thereby allowing people to find and visit it. You know how retail stores have a back room to store inventory for when it’s needed, and also a shop to handle customer foot traffic? Hosting is a lot like that, but digital.
- What actions do I want people to take on my site?
- Are you trying to drive purchase volume? Or provide educational content? When you’re creating a website you’re designing an experience for your site visitors, and the actions they take on your site should benefit your business.
- What should visitors see when they land on my site?
- Should they be greeted with your sale of the day? Your bright, beautiful face? Or an informative landing page? Again, think about what actions you want your site visitors to take, and about whether or not their first impression of your site will help lead them to that action.
- Am I providing them with a way to reach me if they have questions?
- You can provide all the relevant and pertinent information about your business that you want, but someone is still going to have questions. That someone may be your most valuable customer. If they have a question and need to get in touch with you, they should be able to easily and quickly find your contact information. A “Contact Us” page on your site should suffice.
So that’s it then, my brick-and-mortar needs a website?
The bottom line is, yes, you really do need a website.
Creating a website for your brick-and-mortar business is a lot quicker and easier than it used to be. You can use a tool like WebsiteBuilder to create a site that reflects your business in the best light possible, and you can do it in less than an afternoon. However, remember that planning is half the battle in website creation. If you go into creating your website with clearly defined goals, you’ll have an easier time deciding where things should go and what information should be displayed. Your website will be the gift that keeps on giving — from visitor insights, to marketing opportunities, to new customers — so what are you waiting for?
You’re not on your own, Domain.com is here to help.
Need an extra hand when creating a website? Or do you have some lingering questions? We’ve got you covered. Our teams are here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you’re in need of assistance.