Is the small business website doomed?
As we depart 2019 and prepare to head into 2020, the uptake of social media in all its forms shows no sign of abating. Usage of all the major social media platforms is on the increase and the ubiquitous cellphone also shows no sign of becoming yesterday's fad.
From a business point of view it is absolutely necessary to exploit every avenue available to get your business name out and promote your business. The great thing is with social media sites is that they are often free to use and it can be easy to build up a good following.
For any small business it is important to promote themselves on Facebook, Google My Business, Yelp, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram etc.
After all, why wouldn't you?
Here's some stats....
Social Media Top Sites
Now has 2.414 Billion (yes Billion!) active users spending on average 10-12 minutes on the site per day.[Expandedramblings]
88% of all Facebook users access the site via a mobile device. [HootSuite]
Over a billion users world-wide but the US only represents about 20% of the usage. [Statista]
There are 95 million new posts per day [Reuters]
4.5 Billion posts are 'liked' every day [Time]
Teenagers are major users with 72% using Instagram daily. [Business Insider]
Over 1 billion videos viewed every day [Statistic Brain]
According to some YouTube is the World's second largest search engine. [Pulse Marketing]
165 Million users in the US [Business of Apps]
Biggest social network for professional users [Business of Apps]
130,000 articles posted weekly. [Business of Apps]
The Question Is.....
What does this mean for the small business website?
Are small business websites relevant in 2019 going on 2020?
Is a small business website a worthwhile use of business funds?
How do I compete for people's attention?
First of all, let us look at what a website is .... or what it should be anyway...
A Shop Window
A small business website is a window through which people can learn all about your business, your company, your offerings, services, products, expertise and many other possible things.
A small business website gives you a broad canvas upon which you can display your wears and give people a chance to get to know you.
Let's face it, a well designed website is a promotional tool that demonstrates your ethos and image, your professionalism and your values, your availability and location and a means to contact you.
For e-commerce businesses, it is a way to deal directly with your customers, to allow them to buy and give your feedback. It is also a means to communicate your latest products.
If you run a professional services business like a Doctor's Clinic or Dental Surgery, the website allows to potential patient to assess you and your staff, allows them to see what you look like and allows them to determine whether they would wish to become a patient of yours.
Say you run a car workshop, the website can explain the types of motors you service and repair. Which type of specializations you deal with, allow bookings and offer discounts.
Perhaps the website is about designing websites!
It's All About Image
A website represents your business and shows you mean business! A properly designed website is a showcase for you and your business.
Image matters! An ugly, poorly designed website will be a complete turn-off for potential customers. Remember, people buy with their eyes!
A website demonstrates that you are serious about your business, are proud of your business and allows you to project your image onto your customers.
Having a personal domain allows you to have a professional email address.....Look, using Gmail or Yahoo or whatever mail system you like is ok but don't advertise that fact! No, use a proper business email address which has your domain and then (if you must!) have the emails forwarded to whatever email provider you use.
Email is still important!
A business email address on a business card is a must have.
Social media sites cannot fully portray your business. Social media is designed for quick hits and minimal detail. If you really want to immerse your prospective customers in your business then a website is essential.
Your Marketing Hub
The notion that there is social media and there are websites but these are somehow separate is not good.
A small business website has to be at the core of everything you do in terms of marketing, promotion, attracting new business and keeping customers informed.
Social media sites are there to be exploited. What do I mean by this?
Social media sites have lots and lots of users and traffic. People are on social media sites everyday! The goal therefore is to drive that traffic to the website where you can fully engage with them.
Let's face it, a Facebook page, a Yelp listing, an Instagram posting doesn't showcase your business. But all these things can be, indeed must be used to get traffic to your website.
Business advertising and promotion on social media platforms will help you speedily attract an audience. Will help promote your brand and get you some loyal followers. Blog posting on your website will (when reposted onto social media) will link the social media traffic to your site. More traffic means better Search Engine rankings - better rankings means more customers finding you.
The website is the hub, social media sites are the supplier of much of your traffic.
For a comprehensive marketing campaign, social media and websites need to be viewed as two essential conjoined entities that must be mercilessly exploited.