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4 Reasons Your Business Needs a Website

In the last year, I’ve moved a lot for various reasons. Each time I get settled into a new city something dawns on me – during the busy move, I’ve completely neglected to shave or get a haircut. Here I am, without my usual barber and my safety razor hidden in a box somewhere. My search begins.

  • First I go to Google and type in “classic barbershops near me”
  • Then I click on the first few websites and peruse the prices and services
  • I know I’m looking for a haircut for around $20 dollars but am willing to go a little higher for a nicer shop. Maybe it has a pool table. Maybe it has TVs in the waiting area. It’s definitely not a chain. It might even offer me a water or beer when I get there. Hopefully, they’ll have an option to add a straight razor shave.
  • Maybe none of these websites fit the bill, if so I’ll type in “best barbershops {insert city name}” and start over.

Does any of this sound familiar? You probably haven’t moved as recently or frequently as I have of late but you may have decided you needed a larger tv for the living room or that your old vacuum just isn’t cutting it anymore. Maybe you decided to finally build that chicken coop in the backyard and want to know who has all the supplies in one place. Either way, the majority of people begin the purchasing decisions in the palm of their hand. Let’s explore a few other reasons your business needs a website and not just a few good yelp reviews.

#1. Your customers want to hear from you, not just other customers.


Don’t get me wrong, services like Yelp, google reviews, Angie’s list, etc are great. They provide social proof and show what others think of you, but I want to know what you offer me. I want to see your store, see your prices, read your story. I also expect any legitimate, reasonable, 21st-century business to have a website. If you don’t have a website I don’t know that you’re still open honestly. Even if your website is terrible, I will check to see when your most recent update was. If that’s rather old, I’ll check for a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, anything and see if those have been updated recently. I’ve found a great old store with wonderful reviews and driven across town more than once to find their hours weren’t updated or they’ve closed down. So before I get in my car, I want to know you’ll be there and what to expect. Calling to ask is my last resort if I really like what I see, but don’t make me do that. There are plenty of customers who don’t see your hours, updates, contact form, or don’t see a website at all and so you never see them walk through your doors.

#2. You are your story


Like to my first point, I want to hear about you from you. It’s like when you were in elementary school and your teacher asked you to bring in a shoebox filled with things about you. Do you think they haven’t already spoken to your teacher last year? They didn’t get a form from your parents talking about you? They’ve read your file. They’ve seen your work last year. They know if you’re behind or ahead, what sports teams your on, if you’re in any clubs, all of it. But what they want to know is how you view you. This is equally important for your business. Maybe you’ve had a recent management change, some unpleasant customers in the past, are starting a new capital campaign, decided it’s time to go in a different direction. Don’t wait for that to spread through word of mouth, tell people. Let them know about your new service, why you’re here, what you do, and how they’ll be treated.

#3 Your competition has a website


Like I’ve said, most searches begin in the palm of the customer’s hand. If your competition is there, you should be too. You may be saying “we are so different from them, we’re not competitors, they’re a totally different service.” Sure. That’s probably true. But you might be competing for the same customers. Maybe they just cut hair while you are a full-service barber. Maybe you offer a hot towel, neck massage, shave, haircut, and a soda while you wait. That’s all well and good. You might be what I’m looking for but if I can’t find you then I went to them because I found them and that makes them your competition. So please, let me know about you because I want to visit you. It’s just I’m not going to stop in when I see your sign and ask about what you do so I can pencil an appointment in 4 weeks from now.

#4. It’s not hard


DIY

If you wanted to, you could go to WordPress right now and set up a website in about 30 minutes. You could even do it with Wix. For around $16 dollars a month you could use Squarespace. The possibilities are limitless. With these DIY options, your website is a direct product of your skill and eye for design. Maybe you wanted more customers but created an educational site. Now I know everything you know about cutting hair but still can’t find out how to schedule an appointment. You can easily build your own website but it may not be everything you hoped it could be unless you do ample research and learn the skills necessary to create a great one. The important piece of this step is research. If you want to do it yourself, be prepared to spend a lot of time to get a great site. Read up on user experience, color and font choice, what makes a good logo, how to track your traffic, whatever your search engine says is a related search – read that.

Hire Someone

Maybe you used an even easier option and paid someone but alas, it still looks bad because they were using that same DIY option and claiming to have more skill because they read a book and watched a few youtube videos. The world is full of hucksters ranging from $500 for a website build to $10,000. They may even continue to charge this per month in the management of multiple services, which can sometimes be worth its’ weight in gold.  If you choose to hire a company, do your due diligence. Ask who they’ve worked for, ask for samples of their work, compare their prices with the competition. Will they manage your domain? What about your social media? After all, if you’re going to be producing content or running specials, you might as well use what’s available to share that message. What about email marketing? How many revisions do you get? What services don’t they offer that you’ll still have to DIY or hire somewhere else? Be sure to ask these things and anything else that pops into your head before you sign anything. Understand what you’re signing up for and hopefully, they’ll more than pay for themselves.

What’s Your Hourly Rate?

When deciding whether to build and maintain your own website or have someone do it for you, I find it’s best to think of things in terms of your hourly rate. Let’s say it’s going to take you 20 hours to build your website and ongoing maintenance of 10 hours a week. Plus your content creation and managing social media but we’ll leave that out for simple napkin math. So far we’ve got 60 hours in the first month, and 40 in the recurring month. If a company’s monthly fee is $4000 a month to manage all your services, are you able to spend that time generating at least $100 an hour? If you’re a lawyer or doctor, quite possibly. This isn’t the only piece of the equation though. Is your website or their services more likely to bring in that much additional revenue? Maybe you’re a restaurant and having an easy to navigate menu online will bring in an additional 400 customers a month at 10 dollars a piece, that’s break even at $4000 a month. When choosing which way to go, consider your own skill, the skill of the company you’re considering, your time, your hourly rate, and your needs. A careful decision will most likely be a profitable one in the long run.

Does your business need a new website? Not sure if you should build it yourself or hire someone?

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