If you are a small business owner you might wonder why you should invest time and money in having a website. Why not just opt for a Facebook page or a Google Plus page? And whilst you should definitely also have those – having your own website is crucial. A website is yours. It is for you to do with as you please (within reason and the law of course) whilst Google and Facebook can change their layout, and even more importantly, their terms of use just as they please.

Trust is key

Think of Facebook and Google as landlords – at any given time your rent could go up, or the promised extension on your contract could go down the drain. Online, as in real estate, owning your own property is the safest way to go. Facebook and Google is where you should rent your ad space – not your home.

Another reason why you should have a website is trust. Most of us check everything online these days – whenever we plan to have any kind of transaction we tend to go to our trusted friend Google and look for advice: Who should I contact? Can this person or business be trusted? How easy are they to find?

Whenever someone isn’t online we start to suspect that something is up. What are these people hiding? Why won’t they let me find them? And if they only have a Facebook page – why don’t they have a website? So make sure your presence is solid and your message is transparent.

It is crucial to remember that we’re a society hungry for information. We like to research before we purchase, but we’re also a society with a short attention span. We want to find the information we need, fast and easy.

The online experience

Just having a website isn’t enough though – you need to make sure you have a great website. Looks are subjective (although if you haven’t changed the look of your website since the early 2000’s it might be time for an update) and one persons beautiful website, might be another persons digital nightmare – but great user experiences are universal. Making sure your visitors can easily understand what it is that you’re selling and also be able to contact you and trade with you is crucial to succeed these days.

If you’re selling a product online, make sure the check-out process is as simple and intuitive as it can be. If the main goal of your online business is to get people to contact you – then make sure your website provide your visitors with all the necessary means to do so.

A recent article in the Telegraph said that only 34% of British SMEs accept online payment, and sixth of all SMEs don’t currently have a website. If you fall within these categories, it is probably hurting your business. But you can start turning this around – today.

And you should. Because these days investing in a solid web-presence shouldn’t just be one priority of many, it is a necessity if you want to succeed.

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