A decade ago when I bought my first domain – www.nikhilchawla.com, people laughed at me and asked me why do you need a website? 10 years later I have built India’s leading website – The Unbiased Blog and now my personal website is my virtual Business Card, my Media Kit, and a lead generation system for me.
Owning corporate website helps small and medium businesses garner new customers, drive revenue and manage brand reputation. Having said that, many small and medium business owners today are forgoing the effort of building a traditional business website and are simply relying on the power of social media to do the job. It is true for today’s day and age that social media’s reach is immense and social activity has percolated every facet of a consumer’s daily life. However, it still remains to be seen if social media is ready just yet, to take on the mantel from traditional business websites. Social media can and will always only complement a traditional website.
As with most free online services like Gmail and WordPress, social media seems like an attractive proposition to small business owners due to its easy, quick and free nature. Without the need for technical expertise, with social media, a small business can create a decent online presence within minutes. For small businesses, social media is an easy way to make their contact and address details known to consumers and also reach out to them. Social media is also more feasible for cash-strapped businesses needing an online presence, as it is free.
Now, it may be true that social media is very useful for sharing product information and advertising, for a business. However, an integrated approach where businesses use social media and a branded domain web presence is more powerful. Typically, this works well for online marketing and e-commerce. While a business can take advantage of social media connections, it should definitely have a focused relationship with customers on its corporate website.
So, while small and medium businesses continue to utilize social media as an online marketing channel, is it wise for them to leave the traditional .com website behind? Not really. Here are a few reasons why it’s important for SMBs to own a traditional business website:
- Credibility – For a small business, a website is a key to building trust and credibility. Setting up a website involves purchasing a domain name and putting relevant content that accurately describes the business. Through the website, new clients and prospects can understand business history, expertise, and specialization; and attain a comfort level with the business.
- Identity – A website helps a business establish a unique space and an identity online. An online identity can help a business grow into a brand with a loyal customer base. These customers become advocates for the brand and help bring in prospective ones. An established website with traffic, leads, a blog, and inbound links are effective in building brand identity.
- Marketing– A website serves as an owned, online marketing hub, a single place to which business prospects and leads are driven for information and transactions. It allows a business total control of online marketing, unlike social media where a business needs to rent space and be controlled by the specific platform’s rules of online marketing.
- Sales – Having a website makes it easy to sell goods online or collect sales leads from interested visitors. Trying to perform these activities on a social media platform is challenging, and requires the business to follow that specific platform’s rules. Also, leads on a website are more genuine as compared to social media leads.
- SEO – A brand can ensure a good reach with the intended audience by incorporating search engine optimization (SEO) techniques. This helps customers easily find the website when searching online on search engines.
In the digital world of today, consumers are heavily influenced by what they see online. For this reason, having a robust website that represents you, your business and your product, has never been more important.
Do let us know your thoughts on the importance of a website in the comments section below or tweet to us @theunbiasedblog