If you find yourself asking, “Do I even need a website?” The answer, in a word, is “Yes”. Sorry, but it is 2011. Your customers use the World Wide Web every day, and most probably have websites of their own. It’s where people expect to find you nowadays. Don’t rely on traditional forms of advertising, such as the Yellow Pages. Think about it–when was the last time you used one?
Keep the following points in mind when contemplating whether or not to have a website for your organization:
- Cost effective – A typical website costs roughly the same as a large advertisement in a daily newspaper. A newspaper has a limited lifetime, whereas a website is longer term.
- Publish once, then publish again – By using a Content Management System, you take control of your website’s content. With print advertising, you publish once. With the web, publish once, edit and add later. Your website grows and changes with your needs.
- Measure yourself – Using website analytic software, you have on-demand reports on visitor traffic to your website, where they click, how long they stay, etc. How would you measure this with a print ad?
- Websites are social – Regularly engage your customers, users, visitors with your website by implementing social media tools to build a vibrant community around your brand.
- You’re not online? – As mentioned above, it is 2011. The assumption now is that your organization has some sort of online presence. Not having a website in this age is like to not having a telephone.
- It’s the Internet, after all – The web is global. You can sell to your town or city, or you can use the web to sell globally. No extra cost.
- Your website works 24/7 – Having a website means exposure to everyone, everywhere. Having that global audience means different time zones. You may close shop at 5 PM EST, but your website stays open.
- Online advantage – I’d be willing to bet that the company down the street has a website. Why let them have the advantage? In the odd chance that they don’t, then you automatically have a leg up on your competition.
Do my customers even use the Internet?
Yes, absolutely. In fact, well over 70% of Americans have access to and use the Internet on a regular basis. A 2009 Gallup poll indicates that nearly half of all Americans are Internet users. Are all of those people potential customers? Maybe, maybe not, but even if a fraction were that is still a considerable amount of potential business.