You Know You Need A Website, But Do You Understand Why?Estimated Reading Time: 9 Minutes
- When consumers are deciding if a business is trustworthy, they will have to use its website as a deciding factor.
- Business owners most often want websites so that they can be found online.
- SEO is a critical tool to use to ensure that your business can be found online.
Imagine starting a business today without a website for it.
We know there are little ways you could bootstrap your marketing efforts at first. Things like a Facebook Page, an Instagram Account, and even LinkedIn networking can certainly help you in the very beginning, but pretty soon people are going to think it’s weird to do business with someone that doesn’t have a website.
In fact, going to a company’s website is one of the first ways that people will often check a business out. They want to see how they present themselves. They want to know if that business is legitimate. Does this new company look trustworthy? What they are looking for are signs of credibility.
So, it’s clear that if for no other reason a business needs a website so that people will feel comfortable doing business with them.
Maybe that’s exactly why you wanted a website for your business, but it would put you in the minority for the reason behind why most business owners really want a website.
When you examine the need, and take it just one level deeper than that, business owners really want websites for a bigger, more meaningful reason.
More on that soon.
Beyond Just Credibility
TL/DR: Website’s help improve your credibility, but also help you make sales and improve customer service.
Sure, as long as your website looks professionally built, and the content is informative and helpful then it will certainly help with the credibility concerns, but a website also helps businesses achieve many of their other main goals and objectives.
The Front Door To Excellent Customer Service
A website acts as your 24/7 customer service representative. Customers can get answers and information about your products and services.
They can use the contact form to reach you day or night. If you run a service-based business, you may have a customer portal that they can use to get help with issues they may be having.
If you run a manufacturing business, they might be able to use the same portal to order spare parts if their business is open even when yours is closed.
Leads and Your Number One Sales Rep
One of the most intriguing reasons to build a great website is because it can help you generate more leads.
When people get to your website* they will be able to learn about who you are, what you do, why you do it better than others and without your direct involvement, they will begin to form a relationship with your business based purely on what you have posted and shared on your website previously.
Of course, websites do cost money so it’s not as if these leads are completely free. There’s the cost to build it, host it, maintain it, and if you’re really involved, market it.
But when websites are well designed and built properly, and managed by professionals, they can be extremely reliable and have a hugely positive ROI for your business.
*Did you notice the asterisks? Well that’s there because the phrase was “When people get to your website…”
You see, the real reason most businesses want a website is so that their customers can find them online. We’ve covered improving your credibility, and talked about what the customer service and sales advantages of having your website found online could be, but just having a website isn’t enough. You still have to be found to begin with.
In order for a website to easily be found online, and in a best case scenario rank well for competitive search terms that lead to more sales and greater revenue for a business, it needs to be optimized to rank well in search engines, like Google.
Not all websites are optimized to rank well in search engines, or sometimes even appear in them at all. The process to improve the ability of a website to rank well for keywords that lead to more sales that is known as SEO, or search engine optimization.
Search Engine Optimization Is Your Real Goal
TL/DR: Your goal isn’t to just have a website, but to have a website that helps you reach your ideal business outcomes, and you’ll need people to find your website in order for that to happen.
There’s hundreds of millions, if not billions, of websites online today and that number is only growing. It’s actually the reason we can’t give the exact number of websites online right now, far too many are added every day to keep track of.
Ideally, you would want anyone looking for the products or services you offer to be able to find your website and purchase them from you.
You’re Not Alone
This might sound strange, but imagine again for a moment if you were the only website that offered the products and services you did on the entire internet.
As an example, let’s pretend that your business sells coffee, and it was the only website on the whole internet that offered coffee for sale that people could buy. There’s no Amazon, no Walmart, no Starbucks, just you.
Taking only the United States, imagine for a moment if overnight 330+ million people went to your website to buy coffee, since it was the only place they could get it.
I think you’d agree that if that happened, it would probably be a record-setting sales day for you, right?
SEO Normally Means More Leads and Sales
TL/DR: the better your website’s SEO is, the more people that will come to it, the more sales you can make.
Bringing ourselves back to reality for what it is your business actually does, unfortunately there’s a lot of websites out there that probably also offer those products or services.
They are trying to rank for the same search terms your website does, so people find their business and buy something from them. Those search terms are called keywords, or the phrases people use to search and find what they need online.
The other websites out there, trying to be found for the same keywords you want your business found for, are known as your search competitors.
The number of websites trying to rank for those terms are used in part to determine your overall competition to be found for keywords that could lead to sales for your business.
How SEO Leads To Sales
When you make a dedicated effort to compete for organic traffic by optimizing your site for search engines, there is a better chance that more potential customers will find your business, learn about what you do, and complete a transaction.
Now, we just mentioned organic traffic. That’s the number of visitors you get from search engines that don’t arrive through paid ads. So if you went to Google and bought some ads, you might get some traffic but you’d be paying for every click.
On the other hand, by using SEO to get your site ranked high organically in the results below the ads that nobody can pay to be in, you still get traffic that can turn into leads or sales but you don’t have to pay for it.
SEO Is Your Competitive Advantage But It Doesn’t Happen By Accident
TL/DR: SEO is worth doing, but like anything worth doing it takes work. When it’s done well, it can be the difference between success and failure.
When your site uses SEO to outrank your competition, that ultimately means more traffic and hopefully sales for your business versus your competitors.
It would be great if SEO could be a happy accident, that one day you woke up and suddenly four million new customers visited your website overnight.
Because it’s a competition to rank highly in search engines for keywords that apply to your business, and there’s a financial incentive for doing so, most people are going to try to make their website’s SEO better than the competition so they get the traffic and the sales you had hoped for when you had your website built.
So while having a business website is a great start, you need to keep SEO in mind as well. There’s two ways you can go about improving your SEO once your site is ready.
The first is reading our SEO Beginner’s Guide For Cleveland Businesses, learning how it works, and trying to do some of it yourself. It takes effort, but the basics are pretty easy to learn and even if you don’t end up doing it yourself, after reading that guide you’ll know what people are talking about when you have someone do it for you.
The second, as you might have guessed, is paying someone to help you do it. If you asked, we might just know a person who could help with that.
The Advantages Of Higher SEO Professionals
TLDR: If you ever tried to fix something, only to have to pay someone even more to undo what you did and do it the right way later, then you already know that sometimes using a seasoned, knowledgeable professional with expertise pays off in big ways.
Unfortunately, when SEO isn’t done properly, it can not only fail to help you but hurt you if not get you completely banned from search engines. Unlike trying to fix your car and then taking it to a mechanic later, if you get SEO wrong there may be no car left to work on at all.
On the other hand, when you hire real professionals to handle your website’s SEO that can mean:
Reduced Advertising Expenses
If you are getting more traffic from SEO, you can spend less on advertising elsewhere.
Maximize PPC Value
If you are running PPC ads, and someone doesn’t complete a transaction when they click through the first time, they will more easily find your site later to complete that transaction.
Improves Website Usability For Everyone
Part of SEO is making your site faster, easier to use, and easier to find the information someone is looking for. It doesn’t matter how someone gets to your site, everyone benefits from that, and your customers feel like they’ve had a more favorable experience with your brand.
Improved User Engagement
When your website is faster, and easier to use, people will more easily be able to engage with your brand and your messaging. When someone thinks about visiting your site to find information they need, they won’t be annoyed with how frustrating your site is to use, but instead their focus will be on completing a sale, or submitting a lead form.
Get Quantifiable Results
Unlike other forms of advertising where you may not know what it has done for you, with SEO you can easily look at traffic reports any time to see how your search visibility is improving and where.
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