Many small businesses still underestimate the importance of a business website. 

The point cannot be overstated, more than 90% of internet users search for products and services online before buying. If they can’t verify your company online via your business website, they most likely will not buy from you.  So whether you are B2B (business to business) or B2C (business to consumer) type of business, your marketing plan should include an online presence strategy to reach your buyers.

It’s crazy to realize that despite all of the recent advances in technology, the enormous success of eCommerce and the penetration of broadband internet connections into homes, businesses, on smartphones and tablets and even on TVs, still up to 40% of small to medium sized businesses still don’t have a website (based on a survey by 1&1 Internet). Your business website is your storefront and should not replaced by other forms of online presence such as creating a profile on a social networking website. Some businesses are taking the route of engaging on networking websites as a substitute for building a website, but this strategy is wrong. A comprehensive business marketing plan should include social networking  as a part of an overall online presence strategy to supplement your business website – not to replace it.

A static website is not enough

Many of you may be thinking or saying to yourself, “I have a business website but it’s not doing anything for me“.  I’m here to tell you that having a business-card static website is certainly not enough, and if your business website looks like a business card, chances are you’re not seeing any benefits. Fancy graphics and paid advertising may look nice but they will also not give you the results your business needs.

Today’s business websites should do much more than just show off your logo and list your basic services or profile your employees. An effective website that can actually produce results for your business needs to be interactive and perform several functions.

Your business website needs to:

  • Attract your visitors
  • Educate and inform them
  • Convince them
  • Convert them

An integration of interactive features can accomplish all that. As you create or update your marketing plan to include a business website design or redesign to improve your online presence you need to consider including features such as search, social networking, compelling content, blogging, ecommerce, ability to post comments or ratings and much more.

Why are websites changing?

The reason today’s business websites are changing is because the technology used to access the internet has changed and the behavior of the online consumer has changed. The consumer, your customer or buyer, wants and needs to feel as though they are in control of the online experience.  Your marketing plan should reflect this change and reflect that the consumer wants to be informed and educated by your online presence, not advertised to.

That is why dynamic and changing website content, such as blogging, podcasts, social networking, etc., have become such an integral part of the business website experience. Users have the ability to reach your website in a multitude of ways and they want to experience content – that is they are looking for your message – in a variety of contexts.  Effective business websites, as a part of a complete online presence strategy in any marketing plan, should embrace these concepts and setup processes to match what their customers are looking for.

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