No doubt having a website has become a big part of being successful in business. However, many small business owners are still without one.
A website is usually the first point of contact between a business and potential customers, so a website's design must reflect the business's professionalism and make an excellent first impression. Understandably, many business owners are cautious about spending time, money and resources on website design because they don't see a direct return on investment. It's not good enough to just have a website these days. It is essential to have a website that works for you - and one that will return you a profit.
As time goes on, return on investment (ROI) from websites becomes more concrete and measurable in small business terms. The return comes from visitors who convert into paying customers - which is essentially what every small business wants.
Read on to find out why it's worthwhile to invest in professional web design for your small business, even if there isn't an immediate return on investment.
Why is a website essential for a small business?
Having a website is vital for small businesses today, more than ever, because it can help a business grow on many levels:
#1 - A website will improve your brand value
Having an online presence (a website) raises your credibility as a professional company/brand. When potential customers are looking for a product or service to buy, they want to see that you are a credible company and professional. Relying solely on social media for your online presence doesn't demonstrate to potential customers that you are reliable or credible. Particularly those looking for something serious - like legal advice, for example.
People will see who you are and how long you have been in business with your own website - first impressions count. You want to ensure that what people see when they visit your website will instil confidence in you as a professional small business owner.
Having a professionally designed website is also likely to entice return visitors. It will enable them to find what they are looking for quickly, saving time when researching before buying.
#2 - Having a website will bring you new clients and customers
Having a professional-looking website that shows you are the real deal is an excellent way to attract potential customers. Potential clients or customers like to see what they're getting themselves into when hiring someone (for their legal services, for example). When they can see your credentials, testimonials, portfolio work etc., they have more confidence in engaging with your company and becoming a return client or customer.
#3 - Your website will help you increase sales
A professional web design is one of the first impressions potential customers have with your brand/company. This impression will lead them to decide whether they want to buy from you or not, which significantly improves chances for return business, referrals, or additional sales. Investing in a high-quality web design (from a reputable web designer) shows consumers that you are professional and serious about growing your business online.
#4 - Customers will have an easier time finding you on search engines
These days, most people start their research online using a search engine to locate the products or services they're looking for and narrow down their choices. Websites are indexed and ranked by Google and other search engines in order of most authoritative. A professionally designed website with high-quality content/information is crucial for determining authority and appearing as high in search engine rankings as possible.
Your website may not appear at the top of these search results if it isn't designed to make potential customers choose you over your competitors. The site content must be written and structured in such a way as to convince search engines that your products/services are superior to those of your competitors.
#5 - Having a modern and professionally designed website can give you the upper hand against competitors
Consumers expect businesses to have a website these days. Suppose your website doesn't look high-quality and professional. It will likely be overshadowed in search engine results, even with better products or services than your competitors, if your competitors' sites are more user-friendly.
Ultimately though, any website will give you an advantage over a competitor who doesn't have a website at all, and therefore definitely won't be appearing on Google when customers are searching!
It all comes down to return on investment and return on engagement...
If a potential customer is serious about buying what your company offers (i.e., they do their research online), the probability of buying from you will increase significantly. They will find you have a professional website compared to other businesses around town that carry similar products/services but don't invest anything into their own site.
This is why investing in good web design matters.
A good website design is essential
The content and structure of a website can help customers make buying decisions. A visitor planning to return to your website several times needs to easily navigate your site each time they return. You want to make it as easy as possible for potential customers to find what they're looking for on your site. If so, they will likely return when they need a similar product or service again in the future. Visitors shouldn't have to struggle with clicking tiny links that are hard to find or trying to remember where things are located on your site.
Including high-quality images of products or services can improve customer experience, making the website more professional and easy to use. For example, suppose you want customers to find information on your website quickly and easily. With a straightforward navigation menu, potential customers will know where to find the products or services they're looking for.
Websites with simple navigation structures allow visitors to find more about your services and products, how much they cost and most importantly, whether or not it's right for them. The website will also be where customers engage directly with you by asking questions and getting advice through phone or email contact points on your website. If your website isn't professional-looking, then this could put off potential customers before they have even engaged with you at all.
The importance of SEO in web design
When customers are looking for a product or service, they'll search on Google, Bing, etc. It's common knowledge to think that they will then generally click on one of the top 3 search results. If your website isn't in one of those positions, you will miss out on lots of business. Having a website that isn't optimised could cost you serious money.
Good web designers use SEO (search engine optimisation) and website development techniques to help boost your position. The higher your website appears in the SERPs (search engine results pages) for relevant search terms, the more hits/visitors you'll get. Having these extra visitors coming through is what will drive traffic to your site and increase sales.
Business owners with a website understand how important it is to be easily found online by potential customers when searching for a product/service like yours. You want to be discovered by customers in your local area so that they can return to you as their preferred supplier if they need anything else in the future. Having an optimised professional-looking site is essential and is going to help increase your return on investment.
Professional website designers should help with basic onsite SEO because this is their expertise. Still, when hiring a designer, ensure they can offer both web design and SEO before you make a decision.
At Technical Merritt, we build websites for small businesses and organisations. All sites we build are optimised for search engines.
It's worth noting, however; SEO is a long game, and it takes time for your site to rank organically. It's more than just putting elements on the page and hoping Google will rank it highly in the results. The search engines know what a good website looks like, and they are very good at picking up bad web design. Ongoing SEO can cost a lot of money - it all depends on the quality of the competition.
How much does professional web design cost?
Having an optimised professional looking website is crucial. Having a website that is easy to find online increases your return on investment in multiple ways. There is no one-size-fits-all pricing structure when it comes to web design, and there are a lot of web designers out there. If you want to find out how much a website will cost, it's worth getting a few quotes from web designers.
The return on investment increases when your website is visible in the top rankings of Google and other search engines. Having an SEO-friendly web design will help increase sales revenue over time. The return on investment can be considered passive income rather than earned income - but if you're a business owner, that return will add up with time!
In today's digital world, a website is crucial for every business. If you are a small business owner and have not yet started to think about your digital marketing strategy, now is the time:
A website will improve your brand value and bring new clients and customers.
A website will help you increase sales as customers will have an easier time finding you on search engines.
A modern, professionally designed website can give you the upper hand against competitors.
What's more - while it may seem expensive at first glance - hiring a professional web designer could be one of the wisest investments a company makes for their future success.
If you would like more information about our web services or want to talk to us about having a new site designed, please click here.