The Public Liability Insurance Blog

6 reasons why your company needs a website

Last week we published a piece about 10 reasons why businesses fail and carried the discussion over to LinkedIn. Several of the comments quite rightly pointed out that a poor web presence can also do wonders to sink a business.

laptopEveryone is on the internet. If you are reading this and you’re not on the internet, it’s because someone has very kindly printed it out for you, and if you are in fact not on the internet, you are missing out. Actually, that’s probably why your friend has printed this out and is giving it to you to read – it’s because they don’t want you to miss out.

The widespread growth of the worldwide web has meant that absolutely anyone can become a publisher of content. You have the option of putting your own message forward and publishing information about yourself without having to go through the rigmarole of getting media coverage from a traditional newspaper or magazine and without buying ad space. What’s more, whatever you say can be accessed by practically anyone in the world.

If you haven’t already got a website for your small company, you need to fix that straight away and here’s why.

1. A virtual storefront

Having a presence on a high street is expensive but very necessary for many businesses. Think of the internet as a global high street that anyone, anywhere in the world, can walk down. Not only this, but they can do this without leaving the comfort of their own home.

Even if you are a business that sells things from a physical location, think how much of your trading you could also be doing online and start thinking of ways to implement that. Some companies exist on a purely virtual basis, but there is absolutely no reason why you can’t do both online and offline sales and reap the benefits of both.

2. Free marketing

websitesIf you can afford large and fancy marketing campaigns across multiple forms of media including large billboards on the M4 heading into London, you probably shouldn’t be reading this and YOUR Insurance probably can’t help you either. For most people, large-scale marketing campaigns are simply out of their reach financially and marketing can get incredibly expensive.

A website can go a long way to address that. Through the use of free social media tools and a certain amount of strategic thinking, you can boost your presence gradually over time. It’s not going to be instant, but it can be effective and you get complete control over what you share with people as well as a space to showcase the excellent work that you do.

With a website, you really do get total control over what you publish and share with the world. You could even set your dog up as a guest blogger (Although I’ve seen it done and wouldn’t recommend it).

3. Helping customers find your company

As well as reaching out to new customers, existing customers will be able to find your company more easily and remind themselves of exactly what you do.

A website is a brilliant way of publicising a phone number, an address, directions on how to get to your business, email addresses, opening hours, what you have in stock or anything else your customers might want to know. The internet is single-handedly demolishing the business model of Yellow Pages by letting companies and customers connect with each other without the need of an awkward-to-navigate yellow brick of fragile thin pages.

4. Building an online voice

LaptopYou can share your own unique perspective on your industry if you want. A good way of doing this is setting up a blog on your site. This has several benefits to your business such as giving you a leg up in search rankings and encouraging people to stay on your site for longer. All sorts of companies find blogging useful – like specialist small business insurance companies that start blogs to talk about specific products like public liability insurance.

Posting your opinions on current events and issues in your industry can provide helpful content for clients and potential customers. Not only this, but it can also help you network with other companies and organisations, gradually building up a support network for your business.

5. As much or as little maintenance as you like

You’ll need to check in with your site every now and then to make sure everything is ok, but if you’re not up for blogging or making regular updates, you can largely forget about it once it’s up and running.

It’s a bad idea to keep out-of-date information live on your site and maintaining it on a regular basis will definitely yield you more rewards, but keeping it up to date does not have to take up a huge amount of your time, nor does it need to eat up any of your financial resources. If it is the worry of keeping it running that is putting you off, then you shouldn’t let this stop you.

6. It’s cheap and easy

Web space is inexpensive, especially if you’re only starting out. Once you start building a large amount of traffic, you might need to pay a little more for better web space, but this will scale with how much more money you’ll be making as a result of that traffic.

Several sites also let you build a site using easily customisable templates, and that’s easy defined as “easy for someone that doesn’t know a huge amount about computers”. A little experimentation and tinkering will get something professional looking up and running in very little time.

You should never do something just because it’s cheap and easy, but in this case the fact that getting a website up and running won’t cost you that much should be the final deciding factor for anyone that’s still unsure about doing this.

Short version: do it now!

You don’t have to spend huge amounts on design agencies and a lot of the basic technological know-how is easy to pick up, even for the technologically cautious. More importantly, you don’t have to get everything perfect all at once so if the idea of not having everything just right is putting you off, don’t let it. Start now and make it perfect as you go along. A place on the global high street is yours for the taking.

Written by David Hing for YOUR Insurance, a specialist in public liability insurance for small and medium sized businesses involved in several trades and professions.