14 Oct Yes, Your Small Business Needs a Website
Everything is online these days, and it’s not only big businesses that can benefit from having a website. A website is the best way to connect with your audience anywhere, anytime through the internet. Your customers are online, and your small business should be, too! Without a website, it can be nearly impossible for your business to rise above your competitors — whether they be other local small businesses or large corporations.
Without a doubt, your small business needs a website in order to find success both online and offline. Let us take you through why you need a website, how a website can help you sell products online, and how you can connect with your local customers and on mobile devices.
Look Professional and Establish Authority
There are many reasons why your small business can benefit from a website — but two of the strongest reasons are that having a website makes your business look more professional and establishes your authority in your industry.
When it comes to looking professional, the physical appearance of your business matters, and your website is an extension of that appearance online. Not having a website is like not having a sign outside your business or anything to indicate that your business is what you say it is. Customers place their trust in businesses that make it easy to know that it’s legitimate. A website puts your business on the digital map and shows your customers that you are serious, even more than social media profiles. Additionally, you can create a business email address associated with your website name, which also increases professionalism when emailing customers and business partners.
Not only does a website make your business look professional to your customers, but it also establishes the authority of your business in your industry. Many of your competitors likely already have websites, and the ones that don’t soon will. You can stay ahead and stand out from the competition with a modern, functional website. This will show customers and even competitors that your business is one to look up to and is leading the way in your industry both online and offline. Compare the existing websites of your competitors who have them, and see both what features you could incorporate into your website design, as well as what features seem to be lacking that you would like to include to provide a better user experience.
Sell Your Products Online
Consumers conduct research online before making purchases, whether those purchases end up being in-store or directly off company websites. This is especially true in today’s world, with consumers shopping online from home due to pandemic concerns and safety. Selling products online is known as e-commerce, and having a website for your small business allows you to incorporate e-commerce options to directly sell your products online.
Setting up an online shop for your products makes it easier for customers to support your local small business, even if they aren’t able to make it to your store in person. Other benefits of creating an e-commerce website include:
- Quicker buying and check-out processes.
- Customers can make purchases 24/7, even when your physical store is closed
- The possibility for cost-effective business expansion.
- Customers from anywhere can make purchases if you are able to ship to them.
- Easily include product information or terms and conditions with product listings.
There are many easy options for setting up an e-commerce website for small businesses or for integrating e-commerce functionality into your current website. Examples include eZnet Stores from Virtual Stacks Systems UK, Shopify and WooCommerce.
Connect with Local Customers and on Mobile
Creating a website for your small business makes it easier for local customers to find your business online, especially if they are looking for your address, your contact information or your products and services. Local SEO and mobile optimization methods will help make sure local customers can find your business online in the first place.
Local SEO is a more specific form of search engine optimization, and it requires frequent updating of your on-page SEO to match local search queries and to make sure local customers are finding your website first in search engine results. This is especially important for Google and Google Maps, where customers search for business directly based on location.
So, what factors affect local SEO for small businesses?
- Relevance — Google and other search engines strive to provide the best results to what users are searching for. Therefore, it’s crucial to accurately provide all your business information on your website and your Google My Business listing, if you have one. This will make Google’s algorithm more likely to display your website higher up in search results.
- Proximity — Often, customers will not directly include the location of interest in their search query. Google steps in to provide relevant local search results based on websites and businesses tagged as being in close proximity to the user’s location. Your website should include local information alongside product/service information for this reason.
- Reputation — Having a good-quality website improves your business’s digital reputation according to Google’s algorithm. Once again, Google wants to provide the best results to users, and high-quality websites are one indicator of a business with a good reputation. Positive reviews and number of overall reviews also influence reputation.
Other than the above, you also need to improve on-page optimization to rank higher on Google’s local search results. Some of the most important on-page optimization methods for local SEO include:
- Title tags and header optimization — Google’s algorithm places special emphasis on the information obtained through title tags and headers on web pages. Therefore, it’s important to include both your business name and your location in your title tag. On-page headings should also incorporate keywords and phrases relevant to your business, industry and location — but make sure to use some variety to avoid a negative SEO concept known as keyword stuffing.
- Clear NAP display — Your “NAP” stands for your business name, physical address and phone number. These crucial pieces of information should be clearly displayed on your website so that Google and users can easily find them. Your NAP should also be included in your Google My Business listing, and it should be exactly the same as on your website. Including business hours is another bonus to your NAP optimization.
- Write clear CTAs — Another acronym, CTA stands for “call to action.” These are the words and phrases you use to encourage visitors to your website to make a conversion by clicking on a specific link or taking a specific action. Making your CTAs clear can improve your SEO and boost your website activity, thus improving your search ranking — not to mention improving your sales, too!
- Include a map — Not just any old map, what you need is to embed a Google map into your website. This makes your location easier to access for users who can view the map within your website, or they click on the map and access your location listing on Google Maps. The more views your business gets on Google Maps, the better it is for your ranking. Popular options for map embedding include always having the map at the bottom of your website or simply including it on your contact page.
- Encourage testimonials and reviews — Positive reviews are a key element to SEO, especially for local small businesses. Be sure to encourage past and current customers to leave their honest reviews of your business, products and services on your website, Google and any other relevant review websites like Yelp. For local businesses, nothing stands out more against the competition of big corporations like unparalleled customer service and dedication to quality to your local customers.
We want to emphasize one more area that your website simply can’t go without — mobile optimization. Customers today are using their mobile phones far more often than computers to search for businesses and products online. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile, then your search engine ranking will decrease, and customers who do visit your website will not have a user-friendly experience. Optimizing your website for mobile devices is non-negotiable for modern SEO. Your website needs to be mobile responsive, which means the layout automatically adapts to a user’s device, and it needs to be easy to navigate in mobile mode.
How to Create Your UK Small Business Website
If you are a small business owner in the UK, you might not have the knowledge or skills to create a website, let alone a high-quality and fully optimized website. That’s where Virtual Stacks Systems UK can help! As a website design and digital marketing agency, we design, develop and optimize stellar websites for small business owners and organizations of all sizes. From user experience design to local SEO, your website will have everything it needs to start better reaching your customers and growing your business online. Contact us today to discuss your website and digital marketing needs!