Do I really need a website for my start-up?
As a digital native, the answer to this question seems clear, but along my journey of working with and consulting for over 100 entrepreneurs and founders and connecting with many, many more, I know that not everyone is convinced that they need a website at the beginning stages of their business. Some will tell me “Oh I can do that later, after the business has taken off. I’ll use a Facebook Page for now.”
And then there are those that do feel they should have a website but don’t really want to invest in it now and ask their closest tech-y millennial friend of relative to do it for them or try to do it on their own without learning the fundamentals of good, user-friendly design, SEO-optimisation, security etc.
Trouble is, what if having a good website was key to really getting your business off the ground? What if the one thing you decided to save on, actually becomes a stumbling block to really build your business?
As with everything in life, cutting corners can hurt you dearly. Here’s why having a good website from the get-go is important:
#1 People Need to Be Able to Find You
Depending on what tools they use, people might find you in any number of ways. On review sites, on blogs and press articles, on social media, in their inbox, or even in an old fashioned phone book. While any of these can be helpful for your business, they all have their flaws.
First, you can’t control the message that people takeaway. Second, they’re limited to the pool of people who actually consume these types of media and content. And third, you don’t actually own any of them.
That last piece is important because, if people spend a lot of time on a platform that you own, it sends Google a signal to help more people find you. This is the heart of SEO; with a well managed website, you have the power to attract more of the kind of people who are searching for a business like yours to come right to your proverbial doorstep.
#2 Facebook is Not a Substitute for a Website
If you’re not already sold on the importance of SEO, you might wonder if Facebook could stand in as a substitute, even if temporarily. The short answer is, no, it can’t.
To state the most obvious reason, if people don’t use Facebook, they won’t be able to find you.
But say your target audience is actually active Facebook users, one problem you’ll encounter is that, unless they really scroll and follow you, most people who find you will only get a random snapshot of your most recent updates, instead of a strategic message that introduces your brand, guides them through a logical user journey, and ideally convinces them why they should choose you.
That is if people find you in the first place. Organic reach on Facebook is in decline and it’s not easy for people to search for relevant pages, so you really need to invest in ads if you want to connect with people outside of your existing network. Facebook just isn’t the “free and easy” platform it once seemed to be.
#3 A Professional Website Builds Trust
This is important because, no trust, no sale.
These days, a website is brass tacks. It’s like your modern day business card. If you don’t have a website, many people won’t take you seriously. A bad website could be even worse.
Your website is an indicator of the level of service that you’ll provide to your customers. If it’s plagued with so-so graphics, broken links and complicated navigation, why would anyone trust you to provide them a great product or service?
On the other hand, a great website signals to people that you’re a real business, and one that puts in the effort to serve customers well.
#4 Your Website is a Snapshot of Who You Are
Having one, cohesive home for all of your most important information, available to anyone at any time is valuable not just because it makes life easy for your potential customers, but also because it forces you to get clear on who you are, what you stand for and what your value proposition is.
If that actually sounds quite daunting, bear in mind that nothing is set in stone and you can always evolve your message slowly over time.
By making the effort to process everything and writing it all down (or hiring a specialist to help you), you’ll inevitably find it easier to pitch your business in person in a consistent, intentional way as well. And more importantly, your customers will really be able to understand your business.
Besides your logo and business card, having a website should be part of your starter kit to signal to potential customers that you’re serious and ready for business. And today a good website really doesn’t need to cost the earth. Curious? Contact us to find out how we can help you.