Every so often, I talk to potential clients that do not have a website and, much more often, I work with clients that have an awful website and desperately need it fixed. In today’s marketplace, the question “do I need a website?” should never even really be asked – Yes, yes you do!
Even if you do not do any sales over the internet and aren’t interested in taking advantage of the internet as a place to find clientele (this isn’t the right marketing model for everyone by any means) a website still does something very essential – it presents you as a legitimate business.
A March 2010 survey noted that 61% of Americans got their news online rather than from newspapers, television or radio. In 2008, that number as 40% and in 2007 that number was 24%. It’s likely that the true number today – December 2011 – is closer to 80%. Why is this important? Because it means that most Americans trust the internet as a source of data over any other potential secondary source. That means that, assuming they didn’t find you initially on the internet, the likelihood that a potential client will check your website either before or after they have called you because of an ad or a referral from a friend is extremely high. My husband and I, who are both 30, will not even bother with a business that doesn’t have a good web presence – a bad one doesn’t cut it for us. The same is true of almost all of our friends (30s-40s). My younger siblings (24, 18, 17) do all of their searching, comparing and quite a bit of shopping online – they wouldn’t dream of dealing with you if you didn’t have a good website.
A good website does not have to be an elaborate one, depending on your line of business. The key is for potential clientele to be able to quickly process who you are, what you offer, how to get in touch with you, what you stand for and examples of your work (which can come in the form of testimonials from clients, quick how-to videos, client lists and project descriptions or a variety of other clever ways to explain what you do simply and clearly).
Further, a good website should be easy to navigate (information is where people expect it to be and they don’t have to spend much time looking for it) and clean (lots of flash and clutter confuse people and make your site look unprofessional). Of course, there are many, many ways to optimize websites, including the use of blogs, strong SEO, interchangeable content, social media links and feeds, to name a few. However, the basics are essential – Who, What, Where, How, Why. If you don’t have a website or don’t think your website addresses the basics in a clean, easy to navigate way, consider making it your Fall resolution to remedy the situation!