I wrote about this back in 2018, but I think it’s even more important now to address this. And the issue I am addressing here is why small businesses should have a website. Yet, it is not enough to have “just a site”. To be very honest, I planned this content subject back at the beginning of the year, you know, before the world turned upside down. The pandemic gave this subject a push. If someone can’t come to your store or office, how are you going to do business? Naturally, this has pushed having a website into the spotlight. If you’re going to thrive in this new environment, you need a website. So, end of the story, right? Wrong.
Just having a website is not good enough. At least, not good enough to grow your business. If you are looking just to throw your name out there into the ether of the internet, then having just a website is good enough; but if you want to grow your business, you have to do more. Your website has to be more than just a website.
In order to go further, I feel I need to clarify what I mean by “just a website”. Just a website means you have a homepage that gives a little info about your company, an about page, maybe a service page or two about what your company does and a contact page. Just a website is not optimized for the best mobile experiences. Just a website is also not easily found on search engines.
Now, look at that last couple of sentences again about what “just a website” is. Notice one thing that pops out over and over. You, your blah blah blah. Your website visitors do not really care about you, at least not until they feel you care about them. And that message needs to come across as quickly as possible. Being able to be found on search engines, your site has a good mobile feel, speaking to your intended audience and having them do something on the site (book an appointment, sign up for a newsletter, etc.) are all about the viewer. Having “just a website”, is about the company, not the viewer, and that rarely makes the company the money it should.
What makes a website more than “just a website” is 3 things to begin with. The first thing is you have to provide reasons the viewer should trust you. These are called trust factors. Reviews, association badges, and accreditations are all good trust factors to use. The second thing is your viewers have to find value in your website. If you are wanting them to give you something (an email, book an appointment or even call you,) you have to be willing to give something first. This can be in the form of informative blog content, videos, case studies, whatever fits your field. You want your website built in a way that if they do not contact you the first time, they at least got value out of the website.
The third thing is do you get value out of your website? Examples could be collecting emails to add to a list or getting people to book appointments. You want to be able to tangibly get some value out of your website. Something you can use as a measurement of performance down the road.
You can get our free website optimization checklist that goes into these three key areas here: Website Optimization Checklist
Now, if you’re pressed for time and money, any site is better than no site at all. Just don’t stop there. When time and money allow for it, you will need to decide whether to optimize your current site or design a new website that more matches the criteria and helps grow your business.