Why you still need a business website in 2024

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26 Apr 2024

Why you still need a business website in 2024

At a time when social media seems increasingly dominant, small business owners can be forgiven for wondering one thing. If it’s still really worth sinking time and resources into maintaining a dedicated website?

Yes, social media is important for engagement and branding purposes. And can provide real time interaction with customers in ways that websites typically can’t. But when it comes to establishing an authoritative online presence for a business, a dedicated site can do things no other form of online presence can.

Here are a few points to help explain why every business should invest in their ‘digital store front’ now and for the foreseeable future.

First impressions count

A business’s credibility is often judged by its online presence. A professional and well-maintained website provides a crucial first impression. Signalling reliability and seriousness to potential customers. By contrast, a business that relies solely on, say, a Facebook page loses out in a few important ways. The first is that they may suffer lower visibility in search engine results. And the second is that social media has to be updated regularly to have value.

An outdated social media page can deter customer engagement significantly. As first impressions are critical and form within milliseconds of visiting a website. As many as 88 per cent of people use the internet to research products and services before buying and 75 per cent of people base their first impressions of a business on its website.

Visibility matters

Having a website significantly enhances a business's visibility. A staggering 97 per cent of people use search engines like Google to find local businesses. Without a website, your business could miss out on this visibility.

Unlike social media, which excels in fostering existing connections. A website is indispensable for capturing new leads through organic search.

Scale to your budget

The complexity of websites can vary greatly to suit different business needs and budgets. From simple brochure-ware sites using platforms like WordPress or Squarespace to more complex bespoke solutions with dedicated content management systems (CMS). There's a huge spectrum of options available.

Each offers different levels of customisation and functionality to match a business’s size, scope and sector. Some only need relatively static sites that serve purely as online repositories of basic information. Such as physical address, opening hours, products and services etc. Others may want much more richly featured sites. With ecommerce functions, customer service resources and deep integration with real world activities.

You decide the small stuff

If your primary interaction with customers is through your website. You control the user experience and content presentation. By contrast, with social media platforms. You are constrained by the platform's design and functionality limits.

Websites can also be optimised specifically for search engines. Improving your business's chances of appearing in top search results. They allow for the integration of various functionalities. Such as e-commerce, detailed analytics and customer service tools. Which can provide deep insights into customer behaviour and preferences.

Stand on your own two feet

Building a business that depends on a large social media platform isn’t without risk. If you spend time and energy building a large following on one platform. You run the risk of seeing your business decline if that platform goes out of fashion.

Meanwhile, the economic impact of an online presence in the form of a website is clear. In Ireland, small businesses constitute a massive 99.8 per cent of the business landscape, significantly contributing to employment and turnover. The digital engagement of these businesses through websites plays a crucial role in their ability to reach and serve a broader market efficiently.

Understanding SEO

One of the most significant advantages of having a website is the ability to implement search engine optimisation (SEO) strategies. These enhance your visibility in search engine results. Making it easier for potential customers to find you.

The only way to do anything similar to make yourself more discoverable on social media is to pay for advertising. This can quickly become expensive. Moreover, with a website. You can appear more effectively in local search results. Which is crucial as many consumers look for local businesses online first.

Knowledge is power

Websites serve as the cornerstone of digital marketing strategies because they provide a platform where you can publish original content. Content such as blogs, videos and product descriptions, which can attract and engage customers. They don’t ‘date’ in the same way as other online resources.

So while social media is indispensable for modern digital strategies, it works best in conjunction with a strong, well-designed website. That anchors your online presence. The ideal solution is to make use of both, leveraging social media for engagement and branding. And using your website to provide insights into customer behaviour and preferences. Which are critical for strategic decision-making and growth.

If you would like to discuss building your online presence, book a call with one of our V-Hub Digital advisors who can talk you through the steps needed to create a strong business website.

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