Some types of businesses do well with word-of-mouth referrals, or with social media. If you have an Instagram feed full of mouth-watering confections, or hundreds of Facebook fans who follow your daily workouts – well, you’ve got it made in the shade.
But it’s hard to control who sees what on social media, and the effort you put into taking fab photos and crafting the perfect wording can often go unseen. Unshared. Unnoticed.
That is an advertiser’s nightmare.
Think of your website as the most important marketing tool available to your business. Because it is.
As you consider designing your website, you’ll want to think about how it impacts your audience. Visitors will judge your website – and therefore your business – within seconds. It’s crucial that you make a good impression right away.
If your website looks outdated, unattractive or is hard to navigate, people will immediately form a negative impression of your business.
They will start making assumptions and associations: if this owner cares so little for their own website, if they’re not trying to put their best foot forward… how much will they care about me as a client? They will click away, and it’s goodbye forever.
Good web design helps you keep your leads on your page. And…
Your customers expect it.
If this were the only reason on the list, it would be enough. Think about it. Would you trust a business that didn’t have a website? If you don’t have a business website, today’s digital-savvy customers will never know you exist.
And once they know you do exist, your website design is an opportunity for you to rise above your competitors. Potential customers will compare your business with others that have the same services and similar pricing. You need that one thing that will make your business stand out from the rest.
Showcase your products and services.
Not only can you display your products or outline your services in detail with beautiful images, but you can provide short video tutorials or downloadable PDF instructions to give hesitant customers no reason to go elsewhere to purchase.
Combining your website with email marketing, helps you reach new customers and generate repeat business.
You’ll show up in Google search results.
Most people do a little online research before making a purchase. Don’t you? I certainly do. When I pull up my Google search bar and type in “roses,” I am interested in learning more. When I type in “rose fertilizer zone 7 organic” you can believe I have my wallet open and am ready to buy.
If you have a business website, you can optimize it for search engines. I can help increase your chances of appearing at the top of Google’s results, which will put you front and center with more potential customers.
Your website provides social proof.
Consumers are influenced by online reviews. You could rely on Google or Yelp for reviews of your brand, but you can kill two birds with one stone on your own website.
Since potential buyers are already looking for you online, including customer testimonials on your site is a great way to impress potential buyers. You get bonus points if you link to an actual person (their social media profile, or their own website) because it makes them “real” people in the eyes of your viewers.
Gotta admit, I am one of these people…
- 90% of people will leave a website if it is badly designed.
- 93% of people will leave a website if it loads too slowly.
- 93% of people will leave if it doesn’t display properly on their device.
You control how your story is told.
You can totally influence public perception by creating your own story and sharing it with the world on your website.
A company or brand blog helps you get your message, mission, and personality in front of your intended audience. And it can be done in a more targeted way, and faster than (cringe) distributing print ads or mailing brochures through the post office.
Additionally, linking to your social media account on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram make sharing your content easier for your visitors who like what they see.
Your competitors all have company websites.
Typically, when people want to buy something or hire someone, they start by asking friends and social media contacts for recommendations.
Once they have an idea of what they want, they go online to find options, reviews and testimonials.
So if you’re not coming up in their search process and your competition is — even if you have a better product or service — you won’t get the sale.
Entrepreneur composed a list of things that your potential customers want on a business website:
- How your business is unique
- A clear sense of what your company offers
- Contact information
- Third-party validation
- Security for their credit card info
- Ease of use and navigation
- Clear guidance on your processes
- Clear calls to action
- Special offers and personalization
How Much Will a New Website Cost?
So, I’ve talked you into the idea of a custom website as a guaranteed way to make a great first impression. Your stunning, eye-catching visuals paired with a fully functional, easy-to-use website will blow your future audience away. Go, me!
Now you’re thinking about the details. How much, exactly, is a new website going to cost? The short answer: It depends.
The slightly more detailed answer: You can get someone from Fiverr or Upwork to build a website for you for as little as $50.
A professional freelance contracted designer/developer will build a custom website for around $500 – $3,000.
An agency, with separate departments for the various aspects of the design & development process, will start in the $3,000 – $10,000 range.
Don’t underestimate this: find someone who has a working style that works well with yours. Interview various designers, and ask about their processes and methods. Some designers demand tight deadlines and dictate how you communicate. Some are laid-back, and you’ll get your website when they get around to it. Find one who will serve you well.
Some of the factors that determine final cost are:
- size and complexity of website (how many pages you have, and how they’re linked together)
- if your website will be used to sell products or services
- how much original copy you require to be written for your website
- if you already have a logo & high-resolution graphics
- number of revisions of design
- length and complexity of the discovery process