Why Websites Still Matter in 2021 for Small Businesses
25 years ago, the only way that users could find information was through the use of search engines. These search engines helped point users directly to websites, whether they were for entertainment, communications or commerce. For many years, independent websites were at the forefront of digital success.
Then came the age of social media and digital marketing. Everything from email marketing campaigns and paid search marketing to social media campaigns changed the narrative and upset the previous dominance of the internet. This ultimately lead to many thinking that direct website maintenance and content was no longer relevant.
However, it is: websites still have a direct, profound role to play for small businesses. You’ll want to keep reading to discover how and why websites matter for small businesses in 2021 and beyond.
Customers Expect It
Even though a wide variety of online platforms now exist for businesses and brands to use, the website is a classic and potentially low-maintenance option customers have come to expect. When shoppers are looking for options online, they generally want to peruse a small business via a simple interface: this is where a website can be of immense value.
Unlike social media platforms that require ample work and often focus on content rather than products and services directly, websites allow businesses the option of pinging links, descriptions and concrete information directly to customers. They value this – and given virtually every brand now has an internet presence, they also expect it.
Brands Maintain Control
Interactive platforms can be very useful at permeating local or global search results associated with your brand, but these platforms can also create complications for branding and consistency. Whether it be negative reviews left by competitors or out-of-date contact information and branding, this is not ideal for small businesses seeking control.
A website allows businesses to keep up-to-date information such as product availability, hours of operation and business policies front and center for customers. Likewise, websites ensure a consistent branding is possible – something that cannot be guaranteed without their use.
Websites Give Credibility to Businesses
The vast majority of people who first look online before purchasing a product or service say that the presence of a website greatly affects whether or not they will buy from a business. Even local small businesses that rely on nearby shoppers can be harmed by not having a website, as some shoppers will give less credibility to these entities.
It is worth mentioning that just having a website isn’t all that matters: shoppers will often evaluate small businesses based on the design of the website. Because of this, having a web design relevant to 2021 and beyond is essential.
Sales & Lead Generation
Last but not least, it is vital to remember that even the most basic of websites can be configured to collect information, generate subscriptions and sell products/services. As such, websites offer a streamlined opportunity for small businesses to generate leads via sign-up processes and sales through an e-commerce interface. Pinging links to audiences for these purposes has never been easier.
While some perceive websites as being outdated, they still have intrinsic value for small businesses. Remember these factors when designing your website: they can dramatically improve long-term performance!