We write a lot about websites because we genuinely believe that your website can make or break your business in the digital and social age. In fact, depending on your industry, it could be the difference between boom and gloom.
If we are to believe a 2016 report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (IT Use and Innovation in Australian Business), a lot of business owners don’t share our faith in websites. The report surveyed 6,640 businesses regarding the importance of having a website and found only 47.1 percent of Australian businesses have an online presence. This percentage is almost unchanged from the prior year.
So why don’t business owners have a website?
Surveys suggest the main reason is that business owners don’t think they are relevant to their industry. Another 30% say they don’t have one because of the cost and 12% say they have a social media profile instead of a website. The survey results show a large percentage of micro businesses with four staff or less (63 percent) and small businesses with between five and 19 staff (41.9 percent) don’t have a web presence. Around 19 percent of larger enterprises with between 20 and 199 employees don’t have a website. Incredible numbers.
On an industry level, there is a significant variation in the website statistics. In agriculture, forestry and fishing, a mere 13.3 percent of businesses have a web presence. In the logistics industry (transport, postal and warehousing) only 20.1 percent of businesses have a website while only 37.9 percent of construction businesses have a website. Ironically, in the information, media and telecommunications industry more than a quarter (25.6 percent) of businesses surveyed do not have a web presence.
While these statistics are disturbing there are also concerns around businesses that do have a website.
Unfortunately, most SME websites are best described as electronic brochures that simply list the who, what and where of the business. They neglect design, website copy and lack other key ingredients like videos, relevant content, a blog and social media channels. Close to one third of businesses with websites say their sites are not mobile-friendly. In other words, their websites are not responsive to mobile devices and don’t automatically resize based on the device you are viewing it from. With the majority of Google searches now conducted via mobile devices this is a disaster. Back in April 2015, Google released a major algorithm update that had a significant impact on mobile search results and the update improved rankings for websites that provide a mobile-friendly experience. Unresponsive sites were demoted and they are now almost invisible on Google searches done on mobile devices.
Your website should effectively be an educational hub where you house all your content. All your marketing channels should steer potential customers back to your website where they can learn about your business, what you offer, your point of difference and how you can solve their pains and problems. Your social proof including testimonials can demonstrate how you’ve helped people with similar problems and your downloadable educational content can bring your website to life and turn it from a static brochure into a lead generation machine.
Your website communicates with your prospects and customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Even when you’re not at work, your website is. Your prospects can get to know you and your products at their convenience and you can gather feedback through forms, email and social media. Most importantly, it gets your business found and when you combine it with search engine optimization techniques and an email marketing system you have an effective digital marketing strategy that distinguishes you from your competitors.
Consumer behaviour has changed and the search for products and services more often than not starts with the internet. While many business owners view their website as an expense, we view it as an investment and our message to clients is if your website isn't generating leads for your business, then you've got the wrong website. It could be time for a makeover or a full rebuild and we can help you develop your website and identify the key features and functionality you require in your industry. A great starting point is download our e-Book, 'The 1 Simple Secret to Growing Your Business' from our website. It includes the 'winning website formula' that we use when helping our clients build their lead generation websites and covers things like lead magnets, calls to action and the need for videos and social proof.
Click HERE to download the full edition of The Business Accelerator Magazine for March 2017.