As the digital age progresses, there is an increasing need for user-friendly business websites. People are relying less and less on newspaper ads and Yellow Book listings. The ease of the Internet has made these forms of advertising virtually obsolete. Why flip through pages, or comb through newspaper ads when you can enter specific keywords into Google, and receive instantaneous, accurate responses? Additionally, Google results lead straight to company websites, so you can peruse their website from the comfort of your own home. Yellow Book listings often list phone numbers and addresses, but they don’t always list websites. Companies who do rely on phone book listings most likely have an obscure or incomplete website, or they don’t have one at all. Thus, a consumer who sees a bland ad in the Yellow Pages will resist calling because he/she only has a sheet of paper with a number in front of him/her. Consumers who spend time on a company’s website can see company products or projects, they can often read testimonials from other clients, and they can appraise the professionalism of the company within a matter of minutes. Companies that only advertise through print eventually take a back seat to those companies with use-friendly, professional-looking websites.
When a business creates a website, that business has the potential to reach people all over the world, thus increasing their prospective client base. But what if the company is a local company? Is maintaining a website really necessary for the success of, say, a local company whose target audience is next door as opposed to across the world? Yes, a user-friendly website with interactive plug-ins can be especially advantageous for the small business owner.
Small businesses like (for example) independent restaurants are often masked by conspicuous larger businesses (i.e. chain restaurants). These chain restaurants have an advantage because they have an established name in multiple states, cities, and even countries. A small, independently owned restaurant may have difficulty competing with these national chains, especially if they do not have a website. A website for this hypothetical restaurant can drastically increase the restaurant’s business. Business employees, when utilizing user-friendly platforms like WordPress, can make immediate updates once they get a feel for the platform. This is particularly beneficial for small businesses with frequent, daily changes. Again, the restaurant business comes to mind—employees can update the menu on a daily basis with user-friendly websites. Schools and other businesses that need to make frequent changes would also benefit from a user-friendly website on both ends: it needs to be user-friendly so the employees can make frequent changes, and the website needs to be well-organized, concise and informative for the potential customers.
Too many websites are either too convoluted to navigate, or they often appear incomplete, because not everyone knows how to balance aesthetics, content, and marketing tools (like social media plug-ins).
Social media sites like Facebook allow people to “check-in” at different places, and to post messages to the businesses’ Facebook page. These posts and check-ins help create buzz, buzz that has the ability to spread in ways beyond the web.
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According to businessknowhow.com, however, the web remains the most significant way to advertise. Business Know How, perhaps states the obvious, saying that the percentage of people who have Internet access is steadily climbing, and that all businesses must create a website if they wish to be successful. What’s also important, as we’ve already stressed, is the quality of the website. Business Know How states:
Remember, if you don’t have a website, you’ll most likely be
losing business to those that do. And make sure that website
makes your business look good, not bad — you want to
increase revenues, not decrease them.
And while having a website is important, it is more important that you have an easy-to-use website that is visually appealing. You want customers to immerse themselves in your website. Consumer immersion will likely lead to higher sales rates. If the website is convoluted or if it has minimal content, users may be discouraged, decreasing the time they spend on your website, inevitably decreasing your sales.
Depending on the business, websites with plug-ins can be particularly advantageous. Certain plug-ins, like contact forms, give customers an easy way to directly contact a business from their website. Social media plug-ins are also beneficial to the small business owner. A privately owned restaurant, one type of business that especially benefits from social media buzz, can have links to and from Facebook.
Facebook users are privy to other people’s wall posts and status updates. Thus, if one of the original user’s friends “likes” (on Facebook) the particular restaurant in question, the original user will most likely also visit the restaurant’s Facebook page, which may have a whole slew of posts and likes from countless other users, thus grasping the original user’s interest even more. Then, this domino effect culminates when the original Facebook user (first introduced to this small restaurant by his/her Facebook friend) ends up visiting the restaurant’s website, and then in person to see just what the “buzz” is about.
Thus, a successful website translates to people both directly on the web, and to those who are indirectly influenced by the web, whereas print advertising is often overlooked, especially in an age where more and more people are reading online editions of newspapers.
- Cara from HSM
Hide & Seek Media is a digital marketing firm assisting business, organizations, athletes, and many other groups with their digital marketing campaigns. If you’re interested in learning more about a new and engaging website design, our search engine optimization services, social media marketing, or simply developing your own creative marketing strategy, shoot us an email and tell us about your business and current marketing goals.