There are so many options for getting your business out there, it may be leaving you wondering, “Do you still need a website in 2021?” The short answer is yes.
As a full-suite digital marketing service, including a builder of websites, you may think we’re biased. Here’s the thing; we are. But we also help more than 28,000 Australian businesses, and year in, year out, we see who does what and who fails and who survives. Today, who survives is the business with the website — amongst other things.
But don’t take our word for it. If you get to the end of this website and at least one point hasn’t been relevant to your business, click away without a doubt in your mind. For those who have been questioning this, but have questions, get in touch. We’re happy to help with a no-obligation, completely free chat.
Now, onto why you need a website in 2021!
A Short History About Websites
The First Website
The European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, invented the World Wide Web (WWW) in 1989. In particular, it was Tim Berners-Lee who invented the WWW to automate the sharing of information between scientists in universities and institutes throughout the world.
However, the first web server and browser were not up and running until the end of 1990, again created by Berners-Lee. The first web page contained details about the WWW project, giving others resources of how to follow suit.
The First Search Engine
Archie Query Form is considered the first search engine. Due to the limited space, only the listing for the websites could be shown and not any of their content. Various other search engines and search facilities came about in the following years, with Yahoo! making its first appearance in 1994.
The founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, began working on the early makings of Google, then called BackRub. It wasn’t until 1998 when Google would actually launch, pre-dated by MSN Search, Ask Jeeves and many more.
Websites in 2020
However, it wasn’t until 2020 until businesses would realise the true importance of a business. The COVID-19 Global Pandemic forced millions of Australians to close their businesses and operate from home, if they could.
For those who had a website, they began selling products or services online, or taking bookings for when they were opened. Those who remained were left scrambling.
Top 7 Reasons You Need a Website in 2021
1. Find and retain customers.
The most obvious reason for a website is to get your business out there — because if you’re not online, where are you? A website is also going to help retain your existing customers, as well as find your new ones.
When you have a good website, you’ll be showing on search engines. Imagine if people search for your business name online and instead of you, they find your competitor. So, not having a website could actually lose your existing customers! You may also be found in searches relevant to the products or services you provide.
This is one of the many scenarios where a website can help find and retain customers for your business. But there are plenty more!
2. Save you time qualifying leads.
Have you ever had someone call your business asking if you do a particular service or sell a certain product you don’t offer? A website can help get those wasted minutes back.
Chances are, if you’re receiving those calls, that person can’t find that information in the ad they’re looking at or online — as where else did they get your number? If you had a website, they’d be able to go online, look at what you do and if you don’t do what they need, they don’t call you.
Your website should also have a live chat enabled. Free live chat software, like the Facebook Chat Plug-In, will allow people to either talk to your customer service team in real-time or respond to an automated sequence. This will help increase leads quicker than over the phone.
3. Provide customer resources.
When you serve a customer — whether it be in a store, completing a job for them, an online transaction — are there things they need to know? Do they need to fill out forms or provide more information? You can streamline this process with your website.
How you facilitate customer resources on your website depends on what you need. For instance, you could have a gated login page with forms they need to complete. Or, maybe you have a simple FAQ and resources page with after-care tips linking to PDF documents.
Either way, this will save you valuable time and money with printing documents, emailing them through every time, files not opening, collecting information, etc.
4. Make sales even when you’re closed.
By having a website, people can find out what you do and contact you at any time of day or night. If you have an eCommerce website, they can make a sale immediately. And, if you have that free live chat software setup, you can take enquiries and leads too.
During the global pandemic in 2020, businesses became very aware of why a website is important for this very reason. Many businesses could not operate and had to close their doors. Those with a website were able to adapt and sell the products they sell in-store online, even just through an order form instead of an eCommerce site. Others with a website used it to keep their customers up to date.
For those who couldn’t sell products, many took pre-bookings for once restrictions ended. And those who didn’t have a website had to either get one fast or shut up shop. A website helps you be prepared.
5. Increase your marketing’s return on investment.
While not all marketing is meant to create leads, much of it will be for a business. In fact, it’s one of the top reasons you need a website in 2021 and beyond.
Whether you’re running organic marketing, like social media, or paid ads, such on Google, Facebook, Instagram, etc. you want something to link your ads to. Providing your website is good quality, having one will help you receive a better return on investment.
For example, when you click on an ad, you want it to take you straight to a page with more information about whatever the ad is about. Ideally, you can buy or enquire straight away. This will be your website.
Having a relevant website to your ad can also help you receive better positioning or spend less per ad. When the linked page to the ad is relevant to the ad content, it helps the ad platform know you’re running a legitimate operation. In turn, they will reward you by putting you higher in ad results or let you pay less per ad view or click. But there are other factors involved too.
6. Because your competitors do.
Did you know anyone can buy the domain name (aka the business name in www.yourbusinessname.com) to your business? It’s 100% legal. Having a website and owning your domain is a way to protect your business and brand image.
Your website is part of your business’s identity, with branding and brand consistency is a very large part of marketing. It takes around 5 to 7 times of seeing your branding for someone to remember you. In fact, studies show having consistent branding online can increase your revenue by up to 23%. It’s such an easy way to help increase sales.
While you can have brand consistency on social media, nothing’s quite as impactful as your website. You have full control over the colours used, the way it looks, the content and more. This means you can pack a punch with your branding, showing off who your brand truly is.
7. It makes planning organic content easier.
Creating regular, engaging content for your various social media accounts can be hard. But having a website can make it easier.
As part of good search engine optimisation practices, you should be regularly updating or adding content to your website. One of the easiest ways to do this is through blogs. The links to each blog can then be shared on social media, as well as the content within them made into infographics, facts and more for your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and more.
1. Website subscriptions.
A website subscription, also known as a rented website, allows you to build and run a website, but pay on a weekly or monthly basis. It’s like a phone plan. Instead of buying the phone outright, you pay it off every month with your phone bill.
How much does a website subscription cost? It depends on who you build with, but they can range from as low as a couple of hundred dollars a year to build your own website or upwards of $10,000 for eCommerce-type websites.
Localsearch website subscriptions start from $29 a week, which includes hosting and website management, design, development and content. It’s all done for you.
2. Single-page websites.
Single-page websites took off in 2020. Many restaurants used single-page websites to act as an online menu to accommodate COVID-safe conditions and the quickly changing conditions. They linked to the menu on tables, shopfronts or front counters using QR codes.
Other businesses also used single-page websites to get a website up and running fast in 2020. They could then add more product, services, blog and other pages as they needed in the future. This is made it particularly easy with a website subscription as you simply upgrade your service.
3. Landing pages.
Landing pages are traditionally used as part of marketing and sales funnels. They tend to work by someone clicking on an ad and being sent to the landing page to buy, submit an enquiry or learn more about a product.
Landing pages typically do not have navigation bars, keeping people on the page. They can be built into a website or some ad platforms or marketing platforms (like Mailchimp) allow you to build one independently.
4. HTML websites.
HTML5 websites are ideal for basic websites. You typically create one using a website builder using a drag-and-drop style, so they don’t tend to need a developer for a basic build.
As HTML5 websites are normally quite simple, the platforms will tend to automatically update and be adaptive. Adaptive or responsive websites ensure the website looks as it should on whatever device the user is browsing on, whether it’s a phone, tablet or computer.
5. WordPress websites.
39% of websites are built on WordPress, so it’s popular. WordPress comes with an in-built blogging platform, and there are endless plug-ins for different features.
When deciding between a WordPress or HTML5 website, more complex builds should be done on WordPress. They allow more customisation and freedom of design, but do need a developer. For a basic website, you can get the results you need for less with HTML5, as you will need a developer for a WordPress website.
6. eCommerce websites.
If you plan on selling things online, you need an eCommerce website. An eCommerce website uses software and plug-ins to allow you to list items, for people to be able to add them to a cart and then pay for those items. This software alerts you to a new sale for you to pack and ship.
Due to the technology and additional design, development and content required for an eCommerce website, they are one of the pricier types available. But, you have to remember, you’re making direct sales from the website, so it pays for itself if marketed well.
7. Directory websites.
A directory website is a site where a consumer can enter their location and a type of business and receive a list of businesses who fit the description. While this is not your own website, having a page on quality directory sites is still highly recommended.
Localsearch.com.au is a reputable directory website, allowing you to create a free business profile to get started. You can upgrade your profile from as little as $1 a day. Create your localsearch.com.au profile or get in touch with us now.