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5 Reasons Why Small Businesses Need a Modern Website to Grow

by BBB Staff BBB Staff | Apr 27, 2022 12:00:00 PM

What is your favorite website?

You probably have several you visit regularly, and guess what? The designs of those sites have a lot to do with how often you drop in.

For anyone running a business, having a modern website should be a top priority, especially when you consider that between 70-80% of people research a company online before making a purchase. Another survey found “30% of consumers saying they won’t patronize an establishment that doesn’t have a website.”

With statistics like these, there’s really no excuse for not having a small business website that goes beyond being just a place for your contact information. Many business owners recognize this, and have used their site to attract customers, communicate and build relationships with them, and ultimately, do business with them.

When customers find a business online, their first impression is a big deal. You want to invite them into your “shop” to check out your products and/or services. The best way to do that is to make sure that your website is top-notch.

And what do we mean by a modern website? It should shine with these features:

  • Speed: Your website should be responsive and load pages fast. Here’s a free speed checker called Pingdom.
  • Accessibility on multiple devices: You want all your users to feel welcome. Most modern web design platforms offer templates that easily translate websites to mobile devices, tablets, laptops, and desktop screens. You can research the pros and cons of different web hosting platforms here.
  • High-quality imagery and videos: Your imagery is a great chance to introduce personality and clarity about all that you do. And for Accredited Businesses, did you know a BBB production team will put together a complimentary profile video of your business?
  • Distinct, consistent typography and branding: Your website design should include a united theme, with branded design elements featured across your site. These elements should be set in your web design platform to keep your site experience cohesive.
  • User-friendly experience: User experience (UX) is crucial in providing your consumers with a site that’s easy to navigate, with fresh content and landing pages that are linked together in a logical way.

Today, having a website is only part of the battle. No website means no presence, and no presence means slowed or stopped customer acquisition. Here are five reasons why your business needs a modern website to grow.

1. Improved credibility

While a presence online builds trust, having an outdated website is like taking two steps forward and one step back; you're making progress, but it's not enough to get ahead.

A modern website instills trust in visitors, confirming to them that you are a credible business with legitimate opportunities to offer. The importance of an up-to-date website is supported by a Stanford study, which found that “75% of users make judgments about a company’s credibility based on its web design.” When you let your page fall behind, your visitors may judge you for it – and consequently, choose your competitors over you.

2. Increased reach

Not all websites are equal, particularly when Google's search practices come into play. When you want potential customers to find you, you need a site that Google deems acceptable.

In order to be visible across as many devices as possible, you need a website that embraces a modern design. In 2016, Google introduced the change now known as Mobilegeddon – an update that changed the way search functions on mobile devices. Sites that don't have either a separate mobile platform or responsive design now rank below those that do, leading to a serious issue in visibility for those not up to par.

Responsive design is the label given to websites that are mobile-ready. Users don’t want to constantly enlarge text and images to understand what they’re looking at. A responsive design adapts the website to a smaller screen, like a mobile device or tablet, to preserve the content and create a better user experience. If your model is too far behind the times to take a responsive approach, you may be costing yourself more than you realize.

3. A competitive advantage

There are some shocking results concerning the web presence of small businesses:

According to a new Digital.com survey of 1,250 small retail business owners in the United States, 23% of small retailers still do not have a website.

Any space a competitor isn’t taking advantage of is an opportunity. As a business owner, you make the choice clear when customers know the merits of your operations and the benefits you have to offer.

Having a website (or for some, updating your website) means you have a better chance of coming out on top in a head-to-head battle with your competitors.

Take the time to create a high-quality, modern web experience that instills trust and reliability while advertising your services. Looking at your competitors’ sites when planning is useful, too, and can give you insights into how others represent themselves online through their services, information, and design elements.

4. Enhanced user experience

You have 50 milliseconds to make an impression with users, so make them count. Keep prioritizing the importance of website engagement by keeping visitors on your site through optimized load times, an enhanced visual presence, and a logical UX flow that feels seamless. From Business.com:

The longer users engage with your content, the more likely they are to invest in your brand and move down the sales funnel.

Regular web users get used to certain features and functions when perusing websites, including locations and formats of drop-down menus, sub-pages, and contact information. When your site is behind the times, has high bounce rates, or sports a clunky layout, you're not providing a good user experience – a consequence that can drive potential customers elsewhere.

5. Compatibility with better tools

Most websites don't stand alone. In order to provide the information visitors need, additions like social media plugins, media players, widgets for popular sites like OpenTable, forums, and even e-commerce platforms are incorporated within a business website.

When you commit to an outdated website, you're essentially shutting the door on better tools and functions your users will appreciate. An old website may not be compatible with newer add-ons or opportunities or may offer a compromised experience. When you want to make the most of what your website can do, you need to stay up to date.

A simple place to start

As mentioned at the start of this article, take your first step by asking yourself what your favorite website is. Then visit that site and really look at what it is that keeps you coming back. Is it informative? Can you find what you’re looking for? Does it feel effortless to use? These are just some of the benefits a modern site design can offer.

Some businesses may do quite well by word of mouth, however, staying analog isn't always a good thing. A website is a must-have (and for some businesses, a must-update) at this moment in time.

What’s more important now more than ever, though, is to build a website that’s slick, responsive, user-friendly, and welcoming to anyone seeking your services online.

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