Your website is not just an advert for business
When I started building websites over fifteen years ago the designs were fairly basic compared to the websites that you see now. There was also less competing websites so it was easier to get ranked on the first page of the big search engines like Google and Bing. I have since built literally hundreds of websites for small businesses, mainly service type businesses such as cleaning companies, roofing companies, plumbing companies, gardeners and driving schools etc., but one thing that still surprises me, is why some business owners only consider having or keeping a website if it generates lots of enquiries.
Now to some business owners, that might be their only concern. They may think that if they are not seeing a regular stream of new enquiries coming in every week or month then the website is not doing its job. But I think this is short sighted, and I'll explain why in this brief article.
I believe that having a website can provide a number of advantages. Not only is it one of the least costly ways to advertise your business online, it can have other benefits as well.
- It can provide a way to showcase your work. Pictures and video tell a thousand words and customers can see your services in action.
- A website can provide a way for customers to pay their bills conveniently online through a customer payment page.
- It makes it easy for customers who know your company name to find you online through search engines like Google and Bing. If they need to get in touch but don't have your number at hand then it's relatively easy to get found on Google and Bing. Your company name has a high chance of coming up on the first page if you have a website.
- Even if your website only attracts a handful of new customers each year it will almost certainly pay for itself over time.
- Your website can be used to keep customers up to date with news and changes to your business, including price changes and new services that you provide.
- It's easy to point people to your website by giving them your website address, and your website can provide all the information they need to know to make an informed decision about your business.
- For regular customers, if someone pays their bills through your website, an icon can be added to their mobile phone home screen which links directly to your website. This is easy to set up and the icon can be designed for little or no cost by your web designer.
So don't just think of your website as a way to attract new customers. It's more than that. A company website can bring prestige and credibility to your business. It shows your existing and potential customers that you run a serious business. Having a business without a website is like having a shop with no windows.
A website can also help your business expand. By adding new pages that target specific locations other than where you are based you can often reach a wider audience. This can also be a useful way to gain more leads. The highest ranking service business websites tend to have multiple pages to increase their online visibility. However, 99% of business websites never appear on the first page of the search engines unless you search for their company name.
But a website address can be used in conjunction with other forms of advertising such as Google Ads and Bing Ads. You must also not forget that your website address can appear on business cards, flyers, posters, and other forms of business stationery that are handed out to people.
Social media also now plays an important part in many people's lives and it's a great way to generate interest in your business. It can provide an easy way to add a link to send visitors to your website to show what your business has to offer. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and other social media platforms can all be used to generate traffic.
The problem is that unless you are pro-active about promoting your business online using the various avenues that are available, is it any wonder why many business websites get so few visitors. Being listed at the top of the page on Google is not the only game in town, and many companies have gone bust by relying solely on high ranking search results. Search results fluctuate and can change dramatically over time so businesses who only rely on getting leads from being on the first page can be suddenly dropped and find themselves with a big dip in new customers. Besides, only big brand names and the fortunate few can appear on the first page of the search results for any given keywords, and competition is growing stronger every day.
I sometimes hear website owners complain that they get no enquiries through their website, usually meaning that they receive no messages though their contact forms. But when a new potential customer calls your business how can you be sure that they didn't find your number from your website?
Not getting any enquiries through your contact form does not mean that you are not getting any website visitors. Most people prefer to call rather than fill in a website form. For this reason its always a good idea to have a call button that displays in the top visible half of the phone screen, which makes it easy for someone to get in touch straight away. Mobile users now count for the vast majority of internet searches, especially when looking for a service business.
Sometimes people may visit your website and see what you have to offer, then maybe take a look at some other similar services before they decide who to contact. For this reason it's important to make it as easy as possible to find the information they want on your site, and an easy way to contact you. Comparing or looking for a price of a service is usually an important aspect of an online search, so a price guide and details of the services you provide, plus any other essential information, especially contact details, should be visible on the homepage or another top level page of your website. Don't make it difficult for visitors to find this information on your website.
If your site provides the information they need in a way that is easier and better than competing websites then visitors, even though they may also look elsewhere, are more likely to come back to your website to make the call.