A web presence is a virtually indisputable element of doing business, providing a valuable way for companies to showcase their skills and abilities and connect with customers. However, despite the evidence supporting a fast, relevant, and quality site, many small operations neglect the importance of a website, choosing instead to focus attention elsewhere. Nearly 30 percent of small U.S. businesses don't have a website at all, while 21 percent have a site that's non-responsive and out of date.
Some businesses seem to do quite well by word of mouth, however, staying analog isn't always a good thing. No website means no presence, and no presence means slowed or stopped customer acquisition. In fact, one survey found that 55 percent of consumers don't trust companies without a website.
Today, having a website is only part of the battle. It's also necessary to have a site that aligns with current capabilities and technological innovations. Here are five reasons why your business needs a modern website to grow.
While a presence online builds trust, having an outdated website is like taking two steps forward and one step back: you're making progress, but it's not enough to get ahead.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. A study by Stanford found that website design is the number one criterion in determining credibility for 46 percent of web users, indicating the importance of an up-to-date website. When you let your page fall behind, your visitors may judge you for it – and consequently, choose your competitors over you.
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. If your model is too far behind the times to take a responsive approach, you may be costing yourself more than you realize.
A Competitive Advantage
As a business owner, you know the merits of your operations and the benefits you have to offer that your competitors can't touch. However, unless you're making your advantages clear, a potential customer weighing local options won't necessarily realize that you're the right choice. When your website is years behind the competition, you're not going to come out on top in a head to head battle.
Instead of assuming your services will speak for themselves, take time to create a high-quality, modern web experience that instills trust and reliability while advertising your services. A competitor analysis can help here, giving you insight into how you stack up against the others in your field on the web.
Enhanced User Experience
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 or has a clunky layout, you're not providing a good user experience – a consequence that can drive potential customers elsewhere.
Providing a positive UX is virtually essential in modern web design and companies that can't keep up risk losing big. One study found that a well-designed user interface can increase conversions up to 200 percent, while a focus on great user experience can see a boost up to 400 percent.
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 website is a must-have for your small business, but if you don't have a modern website, you're still behind the curve. With the ability to improve credibility, reach, competitive advantage, and user experience, an updated site has a lot to offer your operations.