Website Design, Strategy, Social Networking, SEO, Susan Pomeroy, Ph.D.

19 Reasons Why Your Your New Business Needs a Web Site

by Susan Pomeroy

why your business needs a website

There’s rumor floating around that your new business doesn’t really need a website. After all, Yelp, Google Places and a slew of other listings exist to point people to your business. There’s Facebook and Linked In, Tumblr and Blogger and Posterous. Isn’t a website just a needless expense, a 20th century relic? 

The truth is, these free or public listing/review sites and the social media feeds that go with them can stand in for a website quite well, at least for an older established business that is locally based and already has a local reputation: a restaurant, bar, a spa.

But for most new businesses, particularly service businesses, a website is the main tool at our disposal as we move potential customers along the path from acquaintanceship towards purchase. It’s a marketing tool that helps establish credibility, trust, and knowlege. In fact it performs functions that can’t be duplicated anywhere else.

Here are 19 essential functions that a standalone website—still!—can perform for your business. Even if you never make a single services sale directly from to your web site (although with a well-designed site that’s highly unlikely), a good website is helping you and your business day and night.

Your website…

1. Enables potential clients find you—exactly as you choose to present yourself—when they’re searching online. And they’ll find you, not a random, un-vetted collection of reviews.

2. Gives you complete control over how you express and present yourself online.

3. Establishes your credibility and professionalism to new clients and prospects. Shows that you take your business and your clients seriously.

4. Offers an easy, no-risk way for people to begin to get acquainted with you. It allows people to bring themselves into relationship with you with no risk—by perusing your content, informing themselves about your services and products, connecting with you on social media, downloading your free product(s), and signing up for your email list.

5. Is an unparalleled tool for assembling a mailing (marketing) list.

6. Lets you “automate” part of your spiel or client introductions by offering online articles, questionnaires and downloads.

7. Helps you screen potential clients and separate the truly interested from the browsers.

8. Gives you somewhere to send people with whom you connect via social media or forums, or at networking events or conferences, or who find you on Yelp, Google Places, or search engines and are curious about you. And why send them anywhere? So that you can begin the process of connecting with them… see Nos. 4 and 5.

9. The process of creating a site helps you define who you are, what you’re selling, and to whom.

10. A site can make you sales of products, workshops, services and teleseminars.

11. Allows you to automate functions including sales, donations, event registration, appointment bookings, property rentals, memberships, etc.

12. Gives you a platform with which to express yourself with words, audio, video and images in one, easily accessible place.

13. Gives you a place to feature colleagues (guest blogs, videos).

14. Enables you to actively and effectively promote it via SEO and other methods to reach brand-new markets. (Social networking and other free sites are notoriously challenging to search-engine optimize, and make it difficult if not impossible for you to capture a keyword niche the way you can with your own site.)

15. Can make you advertising and affiliate revenue.

16. Lets you form and host your own community.

17. Could be the basis for a book (like Seth Godin’s many books, or Julie and Julia).

18. A well-designed site with good traffic stats can help you get a loan or investment.

19. Your site analytics can help you test, tweak, and improve your own marketing and sales.

Most importantly, a website allows a potential client to take the first step in getting to know you by clicking a link or typing in a URL or finding you in a search—and then lets you complete the circuit by contacting them in return. You might do this via autoresponders, a free article or download, a video, and/or your ongoing ezine. Whatever method you choose, this is how your website helps you move people from being namelessly “out there” to becoming happy clients.

The social sites are great for making connections. But once you’ve connected, how do you move further  cultivating a steady stream of business? For most new enterprises, their own website is a huge part of the answer.

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