It is strange to think that in this day and age there are still some organisations which do not have an online presence.
For small businesses especially, not having a website or some sort of presence in place is detrimental, as GoDaddy VP for EMEA, Stefano Maruzzi, explains.
“South Africans who have not yet invested in a digital home to call their own stand to gain significant benefits from creating a website,” he says.
The VP also notes that a social media platform is good, but only part of the puzzle.
“Sure, social media accounts give you a digital presence of sorts. However, a well-established and up-to-date website where you control what people learn about you and your company, and can easily contact your company, is a powerful way to engage customers and inspire confidence,” Maruzzi adds.
With that in mind, the GoDaddy exec has unpacked six reasons as to why a small business needs to have a website, along with the benefits doing so holds (outside the obvious ones of course).
A modern directory
On average it’s estimated that South Africans spend upwards of eight hours a day on the internet, which of course leaves little time to turn to the newspaper or the Yellow Pages in order to find the details of a business.
To that end, your business not showing up when a potential customer searches for a service online means you lose out.
“If you have a website of your own, you can track your search engine optimisation (SEO) ranking and actively work to increase your relevance by making small improvements on your website. This will help you rank higher in search results when someone is looking online for a company in your line of business,” notes Maruzzi.
As eluded to earlier, there is an expectation that your business has an online presence at the very least. Not having one makes your business look neglected and unprofessional, explains Maruzzi, and therefore lacking in credibility, which is essential for any thriving business.
“If people can’t contact you directly through a website or find your phone number easily online, they may simply not bother to find your details,” he adds.
“By contrast, an informative, attractive and well-designed website gives your business credibility and makes it accessible. It gives the impression that you are a pro with a well-established business and an eye for detail,” says Maruzzi.
Powerful branding tool
With a website comes control, according to the GoDaddy VP.
Having your own website means you’re in control of the business’ brand, and ultimately the environment in which you interact with customers. Being able to choose your own domain name also makes it possible to project a particular message to consumers, as well as make it easier for them to find you online.
“Often the first impression you create online can help convert a visitor into a customer based purely on how professional your website appears. The digital impression you leave online may help win business, even if you are a solo-preneur or merely starting out,” enthuses Maruzzi.
One of the more immediate benefits of a website is the ability to set up a way for customers to contact you 24/7, especially if your small business only operates from nine to five or weekdays.
“While you’re sleeping or going to meetings, your website can be working for you, selling your company to customers and giving them a place where they can find any information they need,” Maruzzi points out.
Picking up again on the idea of social media vs. a website, Maruzzi explains that while social media allows you to engage with customers, having a website offers a more engaging platform on which to do so.
“You can, for example, gather e-mail addresses via your website and get consent from customers to send them personalised marketing e-mails. You can also set up a blog where you can post business updates, how-to guides, professional opinions and other content to start conversations with prospects and existing customers,” adds Maruzzi.
Far less expensive
The final point Maruzzi has to deal more directly with what GoDaddy offers, as it’s become far less expensive to get a website up and running for your business.
“A recent GoDaddy survey of 300 small South African businesses indicates that time, budget and online knowledge still represent significant barriers to getting online for small business owners and side hustlers,” he notes.
To that end there’s the GoDaddy Website Builder, which offers the ability to create your own site in less than an hour for less than R200 per month.
“You can always start small to see how it works out; you may be pleasantly surprised by the difference it makes to your business,” ends Maruzzi.[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]