Why a Website?

There are people wondering whether their business really needs a website. On the other hand, they say: we do not have a business, or as a non-profit organization: should we have a website? Definitely! I could easily come up with 15 reasons why you need a website:

  1. Promote Your Products
    A website allows you to showcase your products for everyone to see. You can explain the benefits, compare it with other products, or show testimonials of happy customers that already bought the product.
  2. Promote Your Services
    It is hard to showcase services in a store, or office. The web allows you to introduce the service, the professionals providing the service, and how several services can complement each other.
  3. Promote Your Organization
    People buy from people. People support organizations and causes that they believe in. A website is a fantastic tool to promote an organization and build trust - that is, if you do it right... A well-developed website can convey trust and credibility, making people to buy from you, or support you.
  4. Promote Yourself
    Whether you are a professional looking for a job, or an expert in your industry: you can show that to the whole world by having a comprehensive website. The use of an associated email address also increases perceived professionalism: a letter from someone at me-the-expert.com will certainly open more doors than an email from a hotmail account.
  5. Sell Your Events
    Want to take it a step further? You may even want to consider selling (or pre-ordering) tickets for your events on a website. Shorter line-ups, less expenses, it sounds like a good idea to me...
  6. Save Costs
    by integrating systems and automating certain tasks will make you actually save costs. For instance, by integrating your e-commerce website into your inventory and accounting systems, Build extranets to connect with suppliers and clients alike, You can provide downloadable documents on a website rather than mailing them out. The opportunities are endless.
  7. Offer Service 365/24/7
    this may not be of great value to you (it may even be a burden...), but to your customers it is very empowering and important. The Internet puts the web browser in control - and if you are not there, you will be passed over in favor of an online competitor.
  8. Answer Frequently Asked Questions
    answering the same questions over and over again can be a great waste of money and employee morale. A carefully crafted list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), posted on a website, can reduce the stream of repetitive questions, and so your Customer Support department can actually start supporting customers, and your Sales Department can really devote their time to selling!
  9. Reach a Regional Market
    a website is one of the easiest tools to expand your exposure into a wider geographical area. Want to move your business from just Fergus into the whole of Ontario? A website allows you to do that.
  10. Reach an International Market
    If u target specific international markets it may be highly effective to design dedicated websites for them. By targeting your US customers on a ", com" site while servicing your Canadian clients with a ".ca" site you are able to cater to the specific needs and expectations. It allows you to avoid confusion by separating different currencies, taxes, fees and prices onto different websites. You may even want to consider offering websites in different languages, such as a specialized ".nl" website, in Dutch, for your loyal customers in The Netherlands.
  11. Solicit Feedback from Customers
    a contact form on a website can provide you with a lot of valuable information from customers, prospects and other interested people. You may even get them to take an online poll - especially if you say they can win a prize as a reward. In addition, if the stakes are high enough, the free word-of-mouth promotion will start automatically...
  12. Inquiry Marketing: Be Found - Period!
    A major advertising conference mentioned recently "advertising is dead". Interruption marketing does not work as it used to, due to video on demand, TiVo, the Internet... The consumers are more and more difficult to reach. Instead, they are in control; they are searching - on the Internet. It is inquiry marketing. Search and be found, or fail to be found and lose the customer.
  13. Share Basic Business Information
    People use the Internet often trying to find quick answers to basic questions. What are your opening hours? Do you offer payment plans? What is your phone number or email address? These are the days of "Inquiry Marketing"; so get a website if you do not already have one, and make sure that people can actually find it in the search engines and directories.
  14. Communicate with Audiences Worldwide
    the world is your oyster - especially with a website, which allows you to communicate with audiences worldwide (as long as you both understand the same language). Geographical locations or time zones are no longer a problem with the 24/7 availability of a website.
  15. Play With the Big Guys
    many small companies successfully take on the big Guys. Websites can be relatively inexpensive (compared to running a brick-and-mortar store), and with proper usability and search engine optimization your website can be as good as your larger competitors can, or even better!