Why your business will need a website
While having a website may seem like an unnecessary cost if
you're not a prolific internet user yourself, a recent survey
showed around 70% of the UK's population now has access to an
internet connection - that's a big business opportunity you'll be
missing out on if you don't have a web presence. Even if your
business' website lists little more than your address and opening
hours, maintaining a web presence could give you the edge over more
Why you need a website
- If you get it right, your website will be the best tool
you have for promoting your business. Your website will
essentially become an online shop-window, accessible to customers
all over the world, which means the better it looks and more and
up-to-date it is, the better impression it will make on
- Whether it's three o'clock in the morning or Christmas day, the
internet never closes - which means your business is open all
the time, without any extra effort from you. If you choose
to have an online store, your customers will be able to dictate
when they want to buy, rather than limiting themselves to your
- If you are locally based, having a web presence will open
your business up to new markets outside your local area,
giving people from across the world the chance to browse your
products or services.
- A well-designed website will make your business appear
more professional. In fact, a well-considered website can
fool customers into thinking your business is larger than it is and
could even level the playing-field between your business and its
more established competitors.
- If you're starting a business on a shoestring, the costs of
putting together a website will be cheaper than buying or
renting premises, and could attract business from further
afield than a high-street based business would.
- Feedback is often a difficult thing to attain and more often
than not, feedback on your business will be limited to the
negative. The internet allows you to enter into a dialogue
with your customers, though: use surveys, questionnaires and
feedback forms on your website to do market research and find out
exactly what your customers' expectations are.
What your website needs to do
- Your website needs to give an idea of exactly what your
business does. The look and feel of the website, the images
you choose and the text will all contribute to this - but avoid
baffling language or words such as 'solution' which don't really
mean anything : if customers can't work out what you do, it's
unlikely they'll stick around to find out.
- It might sound obvious, but many business owners forget to
include information about the business, such as
contact details or opening hours, on their websites. For many
customers, your website will be their first port of call to find
out where your business is located - so make sure you include
detailed information, including a map.
- If you find you're being asked the same questions over and over
again, include a 'frequently asked questions' (FAQ)
section on your website. Giving your customers quick access
to the answers will improve your customer service, as well as
saving you time answering the same question again and again.
- Including an online shop on your website is a
cheap and easy way to target new markets without the hassle - or
cost - of opening a store in a new location. As long as you're
happy to send the items, customers from across the world can
purchase items without being limited to your opening times or
- It's important to keep your website's content fresh. One easy
way of keeping your site up-to-date is by including a
blog. Write short articles every few days on news and
announcements from your industry to show your customers the site is
current and to help you get to the top of Google rankings.
- Use your website to promote your business
- A website does away with geographical and time constraints
- A professional website can level the playing-field between your
business and its competitors
- It's cheaper to set up a website than buying or renting
- The internet allows you to enter into a dialogue with your
- Include an FAQ to improve your customer service
- Include a blog to show your website is up-to-date
How important is the design of my website?
Very. For many of your customers, your website will be
their first impression of your business. Your website gives your
customers an idea of what the business is about, who it is for and
who runs it. You wouldn't go to a business meeting without looking
your best - and your website should be exactly the same.
How much should I be looking to spend on a website?
There's no simple answer to this - the functionality of
websites can vary enormously. You can get packages such as Mr Site
which allow you to design and produce your own website for around
£100, while a well-designed, basic site could cost you up to
£5,000. See our guide on how to build a website for more
Hosting: When you create a website, it needs to be
'hosted' on a web server so people can access it. Hosting packages
usually come as part of the bundle when you buy your web space.
Domain name: A website's domain name is its address
- anything which comes after the 'www'. This can be any combination
or letters, numbers, hyphens and underscores, and usually ends with
something like '.com' or '.co.uk'.
Blog: A blog, or 'weblog', is a sort of online
journal with entries chronicling the user's experiences or opinions
on news or current affairs. Blogs are easy to create and maintain -
because of this, many businesses opt to make the blog the main
component of their website.
Smarta Business Builder
To help you on your business journey, we've created Smarta Business Builder, the complete online
tools package for growing your business. Website
Documents and Email - all in one place
- from just £20 per month with no contract! Try it out today.