We’ve all been there before, the new kid on the block when it comes to business. It’s a minefield of what to do and what not to do and the expenses start to add up. It quickly becomes a case of overwhelm and you begin to wonder if it’s all worth it. You might even start to look at where you can cut costs. You might even ask yourself if you even need a website as a start up business?
Budgeting is important for businesses, whether in the start up phase or growth phase. But, as we’re not all Elon Musk or Donald Trump (thank goodness) with Billions in the bank, we need to be strategic with where we invest our money.
So, do I really need a website as a start up business or growing business?
The short answer is yes and the long answer is heck yes. Your web presence is not the place you want to be cutting corners or scrimping on and here’s why.
An online presence is crucial to any business, especially a start up. When people go to look for your business, they go straight to the internet. They don’t go to the yellow pages and they very rarely look for you on Facebook. In saying that, just having an online presence isn’t enough in this competitive world we now live in. A basic, slapped together website can be identified by even the most tech illiterate person these days. They stand out like a sunflower in a field of daisies – except your website ain’t no sunflower.
As far as business investments go, a website is probably one of your most important, if not the most important, asset you can invest in.
So let’s look at why you need a website as a start up business or a business looking to grow and be more competitive.
Build Brand Awareness
There’s probably a lot of businesses similar to yours in your field, so how do people distinguish between you and your competitor? With a well branded website.
A well branded website of course features your business logo, brand colours and overall look and feel. But it also allows you to express your brand voice and showcase why you are different to your competition. This is all called “your brand”. Social media platforms don’t really allow you to express your brand, or yourself for that matter, so it limits how much you can do. They have their own branding and you simply have to fit in. Plus, all your competitors are there looking the same, so it becomes a bit of a vipers pit.
As a start-up business, your branding and voice is even more crucial. You’re new to the playground and everyone else already has a head start on you. So, you need to dress to impress from the start to get eyes looking at you. You do this with a strong business plan, niched target audience and good branding that will set you apart from your direct competition. That branding plan includes a professionally designed website that will convert from the start.
Nothing says “start-up” more than a poor website that screams “I did it myself last night”.
Your own website is your safe space where you can be you, build your own brand and stand out from the crowd.
Establish Your Identity
Following on from building brand awareness, establishing your identity is what a website can do. As you go through the website build process, you will be asked a bunch of questions from your web designer about your business. This questionnaire usually brings a lot of “oh” moments. “Oh, I didn’t think of that” or “Oh, I didn’t realise I needed a niche focus”. The questions and answers that come from a website build really help you establish your identity, reinforce your unique selling point (USP) and gain clarity in the business you are building.
We can’t be online all of the time, but our website can. While your tucked up in bed sleeping, your website is still working for you. The full beauty and appreciation of a website comes when you wake up in the morning to new sales or fresh leads. All of which you wouldn’t have if you were relying on Facebook messages, email enquiries or being physically online. Your website is also not bound by borders or location. It can reach to all corners of the world if you want it to, or you can specify a local area. The choice is truly yours.
Surely this is enough to convince you that you most certainly need a website as a start-up business,
Built Trust & Credibility
A website presence builds trust and credibility. When people go to search for your business, they want to see that you’re invested for the long haul. Anyone can start a business, but not all take the time to invest and do it with a plan and long term vision in mind. For some people, the experience of dealing with a fleeting business rings alarm bells of scammers or 5 minute businesses who could literally disappear overnight. It’s relatively easy and cheap to start a business via social media – which is probably why a lot of sham businesses hit and run, leaving customers in the lurch. The more this happens, the more wary people become and the more research they do before committing to buy. Show them you are serious about them and your business by investing for the long haul.
Start the SEO Journey Right Away
As soon as your website is live, it’s being indexed by Google and other search engines. This means, your SEO journey has already begun. SEO is a long haul process and ti doesn’t happen overnight. So time is of the essence and your want to start ranking and climbing that Google ladder as soon as possible.
I built a website for a client late last year with the expectation that she would see organic leads (leads generated through Google searches) coming through about 3 – 6 months after that. Pleasingly, my client’s website has already started to generate organic leads and new customers for her new business about 6 weeks after being first indexed. Whilst this isn’t always the norm and can’t be expected, it’s an example about how your business can grow quicker with a web presence.
Build a Mailing List
Marketing is one of the key things when it comes to business growth and longevity. If you don’t market your business, then how will people find you. Your website is your most important marketing tool because it’s where your customers will ultimately land to learn more about you or shop your product. If you engage in Facebook ads, Google ads or even local pamphlet marketing, the destination for all those potential customers will be your website. If your website isn’t built for conversion, then your potential customer will walk away.
One of those conversion targets could be to build or grow your mailing list. A healthy mailing list is an awesome asset for any business. It allows you the ability to target and retarget your customers and potential customers with new services, new products or new launches. The return of investment (ROI) on a mail out compared to social media is 10 fold. You get more leads or sales through an email marketing campaign than you do a social media one. Why? Because your audience is already warm. They’ve connected with you because they liked what they saw on your website, so they are more likely to engage with you than an impersonal post floating through their Facebook feed.
A website gives you the option to integrate your mailing platform via an opt-in form or past orders – so email addresses you collect go straight into your mailing list.
You Own It
I can never stress enough how much of a relief it is to know you own your website. Remember in 2020 when Facebook went down for a day and everyone was melting! Imagine it went down for a week or a month or forever? What would you do then? Relying on one platform for your business is the same as putting all your eggs in one basket. Drop the basket and they all break.
The other benefit of owning your own website is it is 100% a business asset. If you decide to sell your business, you can add the website to your asset list and increase your ROI. Ownership also comes with freedom. You can do whatever you like with your website, there are no rules except your own. The branding is you. The website objective is you. All leads come directly to you.
Tax Deductible Business Expense
If money really is the sticking point for you, then think about it like this. Being a business asset, your new website build, rebuild or redesign is tax deductible. Most of us hate paying more than we have to to the tax man, so any legitimate deduction is always welcomed. As a business owner, the reality is you have to budget for ongoing expenses. A business stops growing when the owner stops investing in its growth.
Less Distractions Than Social Media Platforms or Local Directories
Listing your business on a local directory or advertising on social media is pretty much a must for most businesses. It helps increase your reach and generates backlinks. But where do you send potential clients after that? Solely relying on these platforms leaves you open to competition and you’ll guarantee miss out on potential leads or sales. Think about this, by encouraging people onto your social media page, you are also risking them becoming distracted by a friends PM or an ad for the same product as yours. When someone is looking for a specific product or service, they will likely want to look at your website to answer their many questions. If you don’t have one to send them to, they’ll look for their answers elsewhere.
These things need to be considered when deciding whether you need a website as a start-up business or a business looking to grow. The other point to make is not all websites are equal. A bad website is worse than no website at all. Yep. Want to know why? Tune in for my next blog all about why a bad website is bad for business.
If this blog has inspired you to take the next step in your business, book a discovery chat with me or check out my web design packages. I specialise in working with start-up business and I can help you get the head start you need – and break down the jargon.