The internet has radically changed the way consumers interact with businesses. Many of us can remember the days before internet access was widespread, when we were dependent upon more traditional methods for identifying and making contact with businesses. If we were looking to buy a guitar, for example, then our first stop would be the Yellow Pages or a local business directory. From there we would look for a suitable business nearby and place a phone call to them to enquire about their stock.
Nowadays, when we want to find a nearby business we simply turn to Google. Not only does Google allow us to find out what businesses are nearby, it can direct us to those businesses websites. This is something that we have all done at one point or another, and there is no denying the usefulness or the convenience of such a simple process. However, most of us will have also experienced the frustration that comes from landing on a business’ website, only to discover that it doesn’t provide us with the basic information that we require.
As consumers, this deters us from using services and buying products. After all, if a company’s website seems lazy and unprofessional then might we not assume that this reflects their general attitude? Therefore, the importance should be quite clear to any business owner of maintaining a well-designed and easy-to-use website. Still not convinced? Read on to discover exactly why any modern business should be striving for a professional looking website.
Stand Out from the Competition
No matter what field your business is operating in, competition has never been fiercer. As we mentioned earlier, the internet has made it trivially easy for users to see all the businesses, online and offline, that operate in their area. When your business is just one on a list of many, you need to take advantage of every opportunity that you can to make yours stand out from the rest of the herd.
To this end, a professionally designed website can go a long way. If you live in the Farnham area, for example, then by simply searching for ‘web design Farnham’, you can identify locally-based businesses such as designbypelling.co.uk. Some businesses will benefit greatly from outsourcing their web design to a local business like this one. This is something that you can mention on the website, and in doing so give visitors another incentive to choose your business over your competitors.
Create a Strong First Impression
First impressions are everything in business. Companies live and die by their reputations, but in order to build a reputation you have to entice customers in to begin with. If your business maintains a presence on the high street in the form of a brick and mortar shop, then you will (hopefully) make the effort to keep it tidy and to ensure that any window displays are as attractive as possible. The same principles should apply to your business’ website.
Whether you are an online only business, or your website supplements a physical outlet, you want to make the best possible impression on any visitors to your website. If visitors land on a clunky, poorly designed, or low effort website, then their first impression of you as a business owner will be of someone who doesn’t really care.
If yours is a business with strong local ties, perhaps you sell local produce or other locally sourced goods, then you will want a website that reflects this. Consider an organic food shop that has a competitor over the road. When deciding which business to use, a customer could well be swayed by a small message on your website that informs them ‘This website was designed by a local, Surrey based designer’. You can try searching for ‘web design Surrey’ to find a local designer you can use.
Define Your Business
If your business doesn’t have its own dedicated website, then when users search for your business they may well be faced with a generic page, an entry on Google Maps for example. Usually this is better than nothing, but you have only limited control over what appears under your businesses profile. If just one irate customer decides to leave a negative, one-star review there, then that is all other viewers will see. By building a dedicated website you can control the image that you project.
If you are also seeking to create a strong brand associated with your business, then you should look for web designers who offer this service. Searching for location based phrases like ‘branding Farnham’ will return a list of relevant businesses. It is worth investigating each potential business further to establish which have the strongest credentials in this area.
Again, working with local businesses is a great USP (unique selling point). Consider engaging the services of graphic design companies to work alongside web designers. Some businesses will offer both of these services, but you might find that by considering graphic design and web design separately you are able to achieve better results.
A professionally developed website is an essential tool for any modern business. Having such an asset in place will greatly raise the appeal of your business against the rest of the competition.