More often than not, people are turning to the internet for their consumer needs. It is obvious now more than ever that business that have a website do better than those that don’t.
Here are five reasons your small business needs a website.
1. Customers Expect A Website
According the the American Marketing Association six out of ten people expect a business to have an online presence. It is estimated that at least 50% of consumers use websites to gain information about a company. In today’s marketplace, customers are much more inclined to overlook a company if the website is out of date, not user-friendly, or easily accessible.
2. You Will Show Up on Google Search Results
The fact that more than 80% of consumers conduct online research before a purchase demonstrates the vital necessity of having an effective website to display your company’s products. The prospect of a business operating without a website means that the chance they will appear on the search engine results page (SERP) is close to none. Luckily, there are many avenues businesses can travel down to optimize an existing website to bring it up to date. You can customize your site with titles, meta descriptions, and keywords to make sure you are showing up at the top of Googles results.
3. It’s Always Up and Working
A business can only be open so many hours a day, but people are online at all hours of the day and an effective website that is easily accessible can connect you with customers constantly. Not only can your website increase sales dramatically because now you are open 24/7, but it can also reach people who are restricted by geography. The ability of a website to connect with customers you never knew you had is a tremendous advantage.
4. Become More Competitive
It may go without saying, but the modern marketplace is fiercely competitive which makes having a website undoubtedly vital to your companies continued existence. By not optimizing your website there is a huge risk, if not a certain degree of certainty that you are disadvantaging yourself immensely and giving your competitors a huge edge. Today’s consumer tends to shop primarily online which means they will not be buying from a company whose website is years behind other competing brands let alone take them seriously. If you want people to take your company seriously then it’s a good idea to hop on the website bandwagon.
Your website is your domain and this provides a company the luxury of having absolute control and autonomy over their public image and their interactions with customers. Control is something that a company rarely finds itself having, but a website can offer that which is a valuable luxury that can be leveraged to connect with customers on a much deeper level. There are many ways to leverage this control such as having a blog on the site to create a sense of community on your page between customers and yourself which allows for an in-depth understanding of your target market. Your website is a constant presence on the web, this allows a company to constantly try and dial in your effectiveness in reaching customers and improving your service. By leveraging your control over your website and your company’s public image you are also giving the user the chance to be as connected and informed as they would be shopping at a store.
Office spaces are slowly, but surely, moving away from the typical boring white walls. These days more companies are heading in the direction of colorful decor that brightens up company moral and makes a statement about one’s business. Companies like Google and Facebook inspire visual effectiveness when it comes to office decor and a sure fire way to do that is getting creative with art installations.
The Benefits of an Office or Retail Art Installation
Art Installations boost moral.
In general, visual elements create an exciting atmosphere in the workplace. Colorful custom installations create a new boost of energy and can positively impact employee performances. In addition to that, it influences productivity levels, moods, and employee behavior. They also become an instant eye-catcher for new and existing customers.
Art Installations work anywhere.
We’ve discussed office spaces and installations on office walls but that doesn’t necessarily restrict your creativity to just that. You can spruce up outside walls that can attract the attention of an entire community in addition to your office space. Think big!
Art Installations can send a message.
Installations are always custom and unique and can provide a statement about your company and what your brand represents. As a design company, the Bright Light office art sends the message of “Create Your Future” as we create productions and solutions for companies that ensure the opportunity for businesses to grow and evolve. Depending on what your brand stands for, there’s always a creative outlet that will allow you to stand out.
Check out some photos of art installations we’ve done below.
Your website is your greatest asset for attaining new business. Especially in this day in age where people walk around with the internet in their pockets, constantly thinking of what businesses they can use for their needs and necessities, having a fully-functioning website puts the ball easily in your court. But not any website will do. Having a website that is outdated, or poorly designed, or isn’t responsive, works against your more now then it ever did. If this is the case for your, it’s time for a new website.
But my website is just fine! I don’t need a new one. Yes, you do.
If you’re on the fence, ask yourself these questions:
Is my website servicing my current needs?
Businesses continue to grow over time and that means you could easily be outgrowing your current website. Does it have features you need to showcase your brand new call-to-action? Does it showcase your up-to-date portfolio? Technology also grows and evolves in addition to your business, and it happens that things that were “super awesome” and “flashy” back in 2011 are just not ideal in 2016.
A new website just might be the thing you need to grow and evolve with the future.
Is there functionality I’m looking to have that my current website does not provide?
It’s 2016, if you’re website isn’t optimized for mobile aka Responsive Web Design, then you’re doing it wrong. In the last year, mobile searches have already surpassed desktop search, so if you’re website isn’t mobile-ready, you are missing out on a huge market of potential customers on the prowl for you business.
Are you selling products physical or digital? Why not sell them online with your own easy-to-manage online store? It’s easier than ever to incorporate a an e-commerce store like Woocommerce into your website. Take orders, make customize your product, manage stock — there’s an array of flexibility without the hassle of an actual store.
Have my marketing efforts changed?
As your company ages, so can your branding and marketing efforts. If you’ve changed either of these things, it’s also probably time you redesign your website too. As said previously, your website is one of (if not the most) important business assets. If your current brand isn’t lining up with your website, your audience isn’t going to connect. It’s time to update.
Why can’t I make changes and updates to my website?
There’s no excuse to not be using a content management system (CMS) to manage your website. Systems like WordPress have come a long way in making it so much easier for you to be in control of what goes in and out of your website. Long gone are the days of having to edit lines of code to make a simple text edit, or upload some new photos.
Circling back to outdated and poorly designed sites, it’s time to redevelop your site to a fully-functioning and easy to use CMS that will allow you to keep up with the times and keep your website looking fresh.
If any or all of these apply to you, it’s time for a new website.
When it comes to your new website or marketing materials, choosing the right images to visually entice your potential clients can be a little difficult. Do you use stock photography? Do you have a professional photographer shoot photos for you? What if you don’t have the money to splurge on a professional photoshoot? These are just a few of the questions that can run through a clients mind when choosing the imagery that best represents your company and the services and products you offer.
Custom photography is usually the way to go and is worth it in the long run.
Custom Team Photo vs. Stock Team Photo
Custom photos positively impact websites because it shows you’ve taken the time to provide a vision of what your company has to offer in comparison to your competitors who are using common stock photos shared with so many others on the internet. Stock photos were shot with another person’s vision in mind, which means you’re now attempting to fit someone else’s vision into your puzzle. With custom photography, you’re in control of the vision and what your company’s message is trying to convey. It also allows you to use your photos whenever and wherever you like. When it comes to photos of your employees, custom wins all the way. Potential clients are able to put legitimate faces to the company instead of bland stock photos of strangers who you would never meet in your dealings with a company. It’ll always make a client feel at ease if they feel like they know you better.
Stock photos options can be great! Stick to high-quality stock images
That being said, stock photos aren’t entirely bad if used correctly. There are always pros and cons. While it can be the cheaper option in a short-term situation, you can run into some issues. Depending on what your company does, your competition could easily be checking out similar stock photos or in some cases, the same exact photo as as you. That quickly brings you into the situation of your website or materials going from completely original to ordinary and template looking. This destroys your ability to separate yourself from the crowd. There is clearly a difference between using beautiful shots of a city location and using the same familiar, generic stock personality that everyone else uses. If anything, stick to high quality stock images. Places likeistockphoto,dollarphotoclub, and Getty Images (although Getty can get costly itself) can provide very nice photos that can easily be the missing piece to enhancing your site or advertisement.
Final word: You can use both when it comes to your marketing materials and needs, but it ultimately comes down to how you use them. You just need to find the right fit and balance to keep your brand unique to you.
A few weeks ago we took a lunch break to head over to Bloomingdale, in Washington, DC to visit our clients at Boundary Stone. During our visit we conducted a photo shoot while enjoying a wonderful lunch provided by them. We are currently redoing their marketing materials, as well as their website and needed new photography for both of these projects. From food to signature drinks, we took photos capturing the feel and atmosphere that has crowned Boundary Stone as one of “DC’s Best.”
Take a look at some of the photos from the shoot below.