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De-mystifying digital marketing, one article at a time.

Why Do I Need a Website?

We can talk about SEO, Social Media, and Internet Marketing all day. But if you don’t have something to point back to, what’s the point? In many ways, trying to market your business without a website is like trying to play a game of baseball without a home plate. It just doesn’t make sense.

That said . . .

If the idea of building a website has you hanging up your bat, we get it. On paper, creating a website seems complicated and intimidating. So let’s start small and define the concept.

What is a website?

A website is a collection of pictures, code, and content that is stored on a server. Of course, you don’t have to be an expert in any of these concepts to build a website, but it helps to know what makes up the foundation. (Speaking of foundations, read Your Website is Like a House to take a deeper dive into the many moving parts of a website.)

It really does help to gain a better understanding of the makings of a website. But in this article we want to tackle a different question: Why do you need one? After all, you’ve made it this far without a URL. Why start now?

If you’re on the fence about a website, it could be because . . .

You’ve heard that websites are expensive.

Yes. Websites can be expensive. But in 2022, the cost of your website depends on the route you choose. There are cost-effective methods that you can take advantage of, and we’ll cover those later on.

But if the price tag is what’s holding you back, think of the money you spend as an investment. After all, 81% of consumers do an online search before heading to a physical store. If those shoppers can’t find you online, it’s as though you don’t even exist.

You’re already finding success through word of mouth.

We would never try to diminish the power of word-of-mouth marketing. It can be an important part of your brand.

But building an online presence doesn’t diminish this fact. Instead, it gives you the opportunity to capitalize on your word-of-mouth success. After all, what’s the first thing you do after someone recommends a new carpet cleaner/landscaper/yoga instructor to you?

You look them up . . . online.

What’s more, a website gives you more security. Every business has experienced the highs and lows of a turbulent market. Should your industry take an unexpected dip, an established online presence will serve as a virtual anchor, steadying your ship while the storm rages. And you can’t have a legitimate online presence without a website.

You’re intimidated by the prospect/don’t know where to start.

Keep reading, friend. We’ve got you covered.

The truth is, without a website, you could be missing out on an entire world of opportunity. You want your clients—both present and future—to take you seriously. So you need to build a website. And you need to do it the right way.

Getting to the Point: What a Website Should Do

We’ll cover the technical stuff later on. But for now, let’s talk about what your website should actually do.

1. Tell Potential Customers Who You Are

For starters, your website needs to accurately represent your brand. With strong branding, you can set yourself apart from the competition and give customers a reason to buy from you. If you don’t yet have a brand strategy, ask yourself these questions:

  • Who is your ideal customer?
  • What kind of problem is the ideal customer facing?
  • How does your business solve that problem?

Of course, branding is important on every page of your website. But it’s especially important on the home page. Why? Because this is the first page most visitors land on.

A successful home page is a catch-all that covers each of the points on this list. But if you can only commit to one message for now, start with YOU. Tell the reader who you are. Not just your name but your brand. If your business is sassy, be sassy. If your business is straight-laced, be straight-laced.

2. Tell Them What You Do

From there, it’s time to invest in at least one product or service page. That way, you have room to explain what you offer and how it solves a problem for the customer. A brief summary of your offerings is a great place to start. But you should also focus on what’s known as your unique selling proposition, or USP.

Unique selling propositions go beyond the surface level of a product or service. They dive deeper, into the value of the offering.

For example, ToasterTubs could tell you they sell a toaster/hot tub combo. But because they really want to make an impact, they tell you what they’re really selling:

  • Relaxation.
  • Luxury.
  • An immersive experience in which your troubles are massaged away and your nutritional needs are met at the same time.

A good product/service page tells you what’s for sale. A great product/service page tells you what the value is. And by doing so, it sets your business apart from everyone else.

3. Tell Them What Makes You Different

You may be tempted to throw all your energy into your home and services pages. But please, don’t neglect your About page. We have a soft spot for this forum and believe it deserves more love than it usually gets.

Here’s the thing: when a reader makes it to your About page, he’s usually pretty far along the conversion path. (In other words, you’re about to make a sale—if you can seal the deal.) Use this opportunity to make your business shine.

A good about page is more than a list of qualifications; it tells your story. Be genuine and approachable. And tell us why you’re good at what you do.

4. Tell Them How to Reach You

Obviously, none of the above matters if readers don’t know how to get in touch. Keep your contact page short, sweet, and to the point. If they’re visiting the contact page, they’re ready to commit. So give them what they’re looking for (i.e. an email address, phone number, or easy-to-fill-out form.)

Bonus Points If You Include a Testimonials Page

Pack your final punch with a page of glowing testimonials. Why? Because more than 90% of consumers read reviews before they buy a product. If you’re looking to give your readers one final push to convert, this is it.

The truth is, without a website, you could be missing out on an entire world of opportunity. So you need to build a website. And you need to do it the right way.

How to Build Your Website

As with most projects, you have two options for building a website: Do it yourself or hire it out. There are pros and cons to both, so let’s get into it.

Do It Yourself with a Template Site or Site Builder

If we’re looking at the initial sticker price, building your own website can save you hundreds (even thousands) of dollars. And these days, there are many platforms that help people build their own websites. No technical background required. WIX and Squarespace are two popular resources that are beginner-friendly and easy to use.

Another advantage of a DIY website is that no one knows your business as you do. So if you’d prefer to write and design your own website based on your own values, we say more power to you!

But before you jump in, consider the downsides. Without a lot of technical know-how, you’ll have to use design templates. Odds are, the finished product will look similar to dozens of other sites on the internet. This doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker. But if you’re trying to set your business apart, a standard template may not be what gets you there.

Hire a Development Team to Build Your Custom Site

If you want a website that looks pretty, is fast, and is SEO optimized, hiring a development team is the way to go. It’s also the quicker way to go, since you won’t have to spend much of your own time making it happen. (And we all know that in business, time is money.)

Speaking of money, hiring a development team is definitely the more expensive option. At least, it costs more upfront. But when you consider that a quality website can help you attract clients and make more money down the road, you could find that this option pays off in the end. Ultimately, the choice is up to you.

The Bare Minimum You Need in a Website (And Where to Go From There)

You’re here because you want to learn more about internet marketing and how having a website can grow your business. And if you want to start building an online presence, creating a website is the number one step you need to take.

And while it’s harder to take advantage of your SEO opportunities with a one- or two-page website, something is always better than nothing. If all you can muster is a single page with a linking menu, for now, we’ll take it.

Once you’ve got an internet leg to stand on, why not hop over to our SEO and social media articles? That way, you can learn how to direct internet users to your shiny new site.

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