First Impressions matter in the business world. When an individual is on their phone or desktop and wanting to find more information on a service or product, they will inevitably head to the search tab and seek further information.
In the rare occasion that a company has no domain to speak of or one that fails to provide the necessary details, the business is lost. There is no time to enquire about why this is the case or ponder the oversight. The client quickly turns back and continues their online endeavour until they find a brand that suits their circumstance.
Now there are niches out there where the argument will be made: why do you need a snazzy website that will take time and money?
There is any number of responses that could be used to answer this frustration, but the most obvious comes down to business – do you want it or don’t you? A quality online portal opens up a series of benefits where the call to action (CTA) can be garnered automatically.
Rather than fishing on traditional media outlets or networking between organisations to get your brand out there, a fully functioning and optimised website conducts much of the heavy lifting.
So why does your business need to tick this box exactly? Shouldn’t a simple and cost-effective URL link be enough? How much time and money should be invested on a domain?
Let us analyse the competitive advantages you will receive if you craft a website that goes beyond the bare minimum.
Builds local rapport
The field of search engine optimisation (SEO) places an added emphasis on locality and what postcode your business happens to operate in. Prospective customers won’t automatically know your brand name when it comes to the niche/service – from plumbers to accountants or clothing designers. Believing that is the case is incredibly self indulgent, naïve and completely overlooking the facts.
Search engines will condense an online enquiry for “Blacktown restaurants” down to the top hits that have earned their visibility:
- Hog’s Australia’s Steakhouse Blacktown
- Cucina Locale Revolving Restaurant Blacktown
- Coco Cubano
There is a series of metrics that have to be achieved to earn this standing, but the first facet that they all manage is an optimised website presence. It is the central hub of their profile that boosts all their external endeavours, ensuring that their rapport within the Blacktown area is maximised.
There are older demographics who won’t engage their mobile phone to find the nearest outlet they are searching for, but that trend is shifting. Cater to the local mobile market and tap into this storefront traffic by utilising a webpage that garners a lot of attention.
Increases search engine visibility
Local search engine visibility happens to be one factor at play and will be most prevalent for operations that need to compete based on their location. For those enterprises that have the potential to be a global market leader, then a wider broadcast on search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing is vital.
An optimised website will work to feature the following:
- Social media icons
- Contact details
Each one of these elements are tools to boost your standing in the eyes of the search engine. They become individual signals for web crawlers to understand firstly what niche you are operating in before judging the quality and merit of content.
The last phase is simple – your ranking. This part is never static and can shift at a given moment according to the algorithms occurring behind the scenes. What will remain a constant is the need to have this home site up and running at all times.
Integrates into social media landscape
Social media is a thriving hub of daily activity. Every hour, every minute and every second there is a community of millions engaging with platforms like Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Google+ all searching, sharing, liking and commenting on pages and brands that they have an affiliation with.
An optimised website can channel the power of this phenomenon by opening a network and leveraging this popularity. The 15 million active monthly Facebook users in Australia stand as just the tip of the iceberg as brands like Reddit, Snapchat, Pinterest and Foursquare all cater to a unique market of people who are accessing their own social experience.
Each one of these social accounts requires a website to complete a profile. That is merely a starting point as calls to action that direct traffic to a designed landing page on the website score the best return. The process is efficient and the overheads are minimal as social media integration into a web format becomes seamless.
Fills in those smaller details
Frustrated that your complete array of products or services can’t be fitted onto a business card or promotional flyer? Want the opportunity to answer some FAQs so the customer is well educated on what your brand has to offer before they contact you? Well this is where a good website steps into the breach.
Your domain allows a complete listing of every element that forms the brand, giving space for PDF files, opinion articles, audio interviews, YouTube how-to videos, news feeds, product details and so much more.
A brand that is perhaps slightly vague as to their service or offering a simplified broadcast message can waste time and energy answering customer questions that could otherwise be understood earlier in the piece.
Upload a comprehensive menu, product guide or information booklet that walks the potential consumer through what can be purchased, ordered or subscribed to and use the website as a “fill in the blanks” exercise.
When resources become stretched and owners do not have the man hours to respond to queries one-on-one, these individuals can be pointed to the website. In this respect, it stands as its own customer service portal.
Offers a boost to sales
One of those small details that will really matter in the long run is the ability to boost sales through an effective landing and contact page. Online consumers don’t need much convincing to change their mind on a purchase if an avenue suddenly becomes too difficult, such as signing up as a subscriber, building an account or processing a payment.
An optimised website that is simple, clean and efficient will channel this active traffic to the correct domain. There does not have to be any bells and whistles, just a user experience that should be as effective from start to finish without any hassle.
Check out a brand such as Wix whose range of landing page templates offers a quality guide to implementing a page that removes the red tape and ensures that the sales come through. It is a dereliction of duty to see a poor conversion rate left to falter by the wayside as consumers head over to the competition.
Personal PR machine
Unhappy at some local press or the image in which some of your competitors have classified your brand? Well a website for an enterprise can be thought of as a refuge from this type of negativity where a company can essentially run an in-house media operation from their domain.
The website is central to pushing your agenda and outlining why your enterprise happens to be an authoritative voice on a given subject.
Take the Australian DIY giant Bunnings as a case study. Their site is packed full of videos that explores the servicing, fixing and re-tooling of hundreds of items to showcase that their organisation is a market leader on niches ranging from hardware to outdoor living.
Other brands might challenge them on the specifics of their individual expertise, yet that won’t be questioned on their website. Bunnings have the autonomy and freedom to produce whatever content they please and in doing so, craft their own image that can be controlled and switched at a given’s notice.
This is one of the true benefits of running an optimised website – control. All customisation techniques and navigation is yours to play with where the editorial and messaging becomes a subjective exercise. There are very few locations where that is the case.
Showcases business profile
Brand messaging is a theme that marketers will be all too aware of in 2018. It essentially boils down to this: what do you stand for?
Your enterprise might be a shoe manufacturer, but where do you source your materials? If you are a barista, do you grind your own coffee or purchase from a third party? Do you network with the local community? What elements form your philosophy and business profile? The website should be a friendly user guide that answers all of these questions.
Of course some of the presentation can be superficial as organisations strive to accentuate the positives at every turn, but the domain will communicate a number of very important points.
The greatest factor is care – does the brand care enough about their consumers to have an optimised site that is easy to reach, understand and navigate?
The website is a reflection into the ethics and operating model of a business where priorities are illustrated to the rest of the world. What matters more – the online experience, the aesthetics, the details or driving SEO visibility?
The saying often goes that you can tell a lot about a person by the way they dress. Well a website works as a shop window to the public. A poorly run domain tells potential clients that they have no knowledge how to run one or don’t care enough to operate one.
Don’t expect people to invest in your business if you’re not willing to do so yourself!
Kieran is the Social Media Manager and SEO Expert at SEO Shark. He is an expert in Social Media, link building, PPC and of course SEO. In his time off work Kieran enjoys reading and playing rugby, as well as following all kinds of sports! You can read some more of his articles here.