Around 10 years ago, there were no such things as smart phones. 40 years ago a computer would barely fit in your house. Nowadays, 2 out of every 3 Americans now own a smartphone. It seems now that technology is moving faster than ever. The internet is moving in tandem so it’s important to keep up. Believe it or not, the internet is still very much in it’s infancy. In ten years time, we could be living in very different times thanks to this addictive element of modern day life. Most of us use the internet every day. Checking social media, ordering your food shopping, booking medical appointments. It’s impossible to ignore it so we need to embrace it.
Over 2.5 billion people use the internet every day. 90% of those have purchased something that day. See where I’m going? Don’t think because you don’t use a computer, your customer base doesn’t. If you need an audience to listen, your audience is online. Whether you are looking to start a blog or sell online, your online presence is vital.
It’s vital to position yourself online with a strong, professional destination that gives customers the impression you mean business and the motivation to want to engage more with your business.
Can’t I just use Facebook or Twitter?
The short answer is yes, you can. The advantage of this is you don’t need to look after the site, it belongs to someone else. You reach any target audience at the desired time. When you opt to participate in social media you can pick and choose individuals whose likes and dislikes are similar to yours and build your network around those commonalities.
Here’s the longer answer. When it comes to running a business through social media however, it does have it’s limitations. Social media channels are good but if your entire business base is built on someone else real estate, you’re on shaky ground. If someone sees your presence on Twitter and want to look deeper but you have no web site or it links to another social channel, even though you look established, thats going to affect whether or not they’ll stick around to consume your content and your brand.
The next step is having your own website. There are as many website solutions out there to meet every need. It’s a low barrier of entry to set up. You can have a basic single page site that requires no coding ability, or you can have a fully bespoke, glossy site with managed content, custom functionality and specialist technical support. How do you know what will meet your needs? Talk to a Web Designer and they can give you the right advice you need regardless of your market. You’ll find there is authority with a website. Everyone can launch a website but designing and crafting a website positions your as an authority in the market. People will ask themselves, “Are you a go to person?”. No website means losing business regardless of whether you are a sole trader or have 100 staff members.
What does my website need to say about me?
It takes 0.05 seconds to develop a first impression about a website which will determine whether they will stay or leave. It’s vital to establish your values as fast as possible. Make it clear what you offer. This can be in the title, the logo, the first bit of content or the tagline. The user has to see what’s in it for them. Your website should also appear as if you have a team dedicated exclusively to keeping your online presence strong and noteworthy.
How much does it cost?
A website will cost as much as you are prepared to invest in it. When speccing a car or a kitchen, decisions need to be made before you ask for a quote. For a website, you need to consider what you want the website to do and what information you have available already to bring to the process of developing it. The visual appeal or aesthetics of a website sometimes gives you the impression that it costs more than other websites in the market. This is not the case if the other sites have a lot of custom functionality. The bottom line is – you get what you pay for. You can pay a monthly subscription and have the ability to move things around on screen or you can pay a Web Designer to create something that strengthens your brand and has created the site with your users and customers and the forefront of their mind. Most designers are happy to offer a free opinion and offer the best solution for your business. If you aren’t prepared to pay the designers fee, they can point you in the direction of a DIY web builder that may offer you a solution for a cheaper price.
There’s a lot more to think about when it comes to your online presence. Running a business through social media will only take you so far, a website will take your so much further. My advice to you is to take your time, think carefully about what you want and buy right, buy once.
NB – On an unrelated topic, I’m available for web projects. If you would like to have a conversation about starting your next online project, get in touch!