In March of 2019, we celebrated the 30th anniversary of the internet. From it’s adolescence in the usenet of the 80’s, the dot-com boom of the 90’s, all the way to our social-media dominated millenium, the web has become inseparable from 21st Century society.
The best time to get a website might have been a long time ago, but the second best time is always now.
Here are our ABC’s of exactly what a website can do for you:
As younger generations grow up not knowing a world without the internet, the pressure has never been greater for businesses to have a strong online presence. It’s not just youth: the internet generation has matured into the next wave of working professionals and home-owners.
It’s become common to treat Google (and alternatives) as the modern-day yellow pages; in a consumer study performed in 2018, they found 54% of consumers aged 18-34 used the internet to find businesses every day , with over 50% of all people finding businesses at minimum once a week . Only a sliver, 8%, have never used the web in that way, the majority of which were responses from 55+ ages .
For most prospective customers, not showing up in a search might as well mean you don’t exist. A website is more than a marketing tool, more than a place to list your menu, more than a contact page: it’s your businesses storefront to an entire generation. No matter how traditional your business is, by having a website you send the message that you respect the public forum whatever shape it takes.
The silver lining of our internet-mad culture is the willingness to invest time to find and research stores before shopping. For a curious mind, a website represents everything known about a business and people are willing to spend their valuable time if it means finding the perfect fit for a need.
Consider the limitations of traditional marketing: you either have a tiny physical space (as in print media) or a tiny amount of time (as in a radio/video commercial) to fit your entire message. Do you try and sell your companies identity, or focus on the sales pull? No matter what you decide, you’ll have to prioritize carefully or risk becoming an irritating intrusion on someone’s day.
With a website, you don’t have to compromise: show who you are and what you do, without limit. Knowing the face behind a business, with your unique experiences and history, can build customer interest and loyalty before a single sale. Only a website gives you a place to build the kind of buy-in that customers are actively looking for.
Our connected world has given a new meaning to competition: it’s not enough to offer the best product at the best price with the best service. People have to know it, and trust has shifted from word-of-mouth to online.
As much as people use google to find businesses, they use reviews and ratings just as heavily. In 2018, 86% of consumers read online reviews for businesses , with 91% of people aged 18-34 trusting online reviews as much as personal recommendations . In fact, 46% of people will only visit businesses rated ⅘ stars or higher .
By extending your brand to be seamless between web-searches, website, in-store and marketing media, you create a consistent experience for customers that builds a sense of trustworthiness. In fact, this is one of the red-flags for internet-savvy users: a lack of cohesion or a sense of being ‘off’ is a hallmark of scam and phishing sites, and consumers have learnt how to avoid risk online.
A website acts as a foundation: the place to spread awareness and your own narrative. It’s the face behind the google listing, and together they create a cohesive message of credibility to consumers.
No matter your business, you need to be online. Whether you’re trying to turn the next generation of consumers into loyal customers or simply grow your market, a website represents a fundamental part of operating a business. No single effort can match the return of investment in awareness, buy-in and credibility as a website will.
Not sure where to start?
Infuse I.T. Inc. has small-business friendly packages to get you online, quick.
Brightlocal - 2018 Local Consumer Review Survey
, ,  “How many times have you used the internet to find a local business in the last year?” https://www.brightlocal.com/research/local-consumer-review-survey/#Q1
 Do you read online reviews for businesses? https://www.brightlocal.com/research/local-consumer-review-survey/#Q2
 Do you trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations? https://www.brightlocal.com/research/local-consumer-review-survey/#Q7
 What’s the minimum star rating a business must have for you to use them? https://www.brightlocal.com/research/local-consumer-review-survey/#Q10