How to increase revenue for your small business
Your business needs a website. Here’s why.
Nearly half of small businesses do not have a website, and the majority claim that they do not have a website because it is not relevant to their business or because it’s too expensive.
Websites are no longer a luxury item; they’re a necessity.
According to Moz, there are approximately 7 billion unique local searches per month on Google in the United States alone. It’s no wonder businesses that are online grow 40 percent faster than those that aren’t.
Google found that 92 percent of smartphone owners in the US seek local (offline) information via their mobile devices, and that 89 percent of those people took some form of action after such a lookup. Beyond this Google said that 25 percent of people in the U.S. made a purchase after a local lookup. In addition, in the U.S., 51 percent called a business and 48 percent actually went to the business location.
Still don’t believe you need a website? Think again, after you read my reasons why.
Local search has a direct impact on in-store traffic.
Fifty percent of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day, and 34 percent who searched on computer/tablet did the same.
According to Google, local searchers are ready to act. Many visit a nearby location within a day and complete purchases at a higher rate than consumers who conduct non-local searches.
Websites help you generate more revenue.
Eighteen percent of local mobile searches lead to a sale within one day.
Google also found that one in three smartphone searches occurred immediately before a consumer visited a store and that 15% of in-store activity involved product or price comparison searches.
“In other words, capturing the local search market means first dibs for consumers who are in the final stages of the buying cycle, wallets out, ready to buy. Try enticing these consumers to spend money in your store through the use of mobile coupon campaigns.” (Source)
A website buries bad reviews.
Eighty-eight percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
If a business has a bad review(s), having a website with pages (or links) means more chances to bury the link to the second page of Google.
Websites are a competitive necessity today.
One in three searches on smartphones occur right before consumers visit a store. Fifteen percent of in-store activities involve conducting smartphone searches about a product or for price comparison.
Thirty percent of consumers would buy in-store instead of online knowing they are close to a store. Thirty-five percent of consumers would buy in-store instead of online knowing they can get the product quickly. And 31 percent of consumers would buy in-store instead of online knowing they can get better pricing.
Customers expect businesses to be online.
Consumers use search engines to find local businesses. They expect you to have a website today, and they want information immediately.
Fifty-four percent of people search on their smartphones for business hours. Fifty-three percent search for directions to a local store. And 50 percent search for local store addresses.
An online presence helps you penetrate new markets.
Think about all the prospects you could be missing out on who are searching for exactly what you do or provide better than anyone else online and off.
What platform should I use to build my website?
One word: WordPress.
In 2016, content management systems (CMS) like WordPress have made creating and managing a website accessible to everyone. It’s extremely beginner friendly.
“If you know how to use Microsoft Word, you already know how to add your own content. WordPress can be expanded with free plugins to handle just about any site you can imagine — from gorgeous business pages to social networking sites. With “plugins” you’ll be able to add contact forms, subscription forms, image galleries and so on for your website — pretty simple, huh?” (Source)
Launched in 2003, WordPress began as a personal blogging platform.
I first learned about WordPress around 2009, when my professor made us create a blog for a class assignment. I chose WordPress because the company I interned for used WordPress so I was familiar with it.
Today, it’s is the world’s most popular CMS.
“To put simply, a content management system (or website building platform) is a user-friendly platform for building websites and managing your own online content, instead of using a bunch of loose HTML pages.” — (Source)
Drupal and Joomla are two examples of CMS, but I hate them both for two reasons.
The first is that they’re much harder to use; and therefore, manage. Second, there’s a lot less talent and support for these platforms.
You can read more about those platforms here.
WordPress is just the best choice for nearly all businesses. It’s certainly the easiest platform I’ve ever used (and that’s coming from a non-coder). It’s flexible enough to suit your needs if you want add more features in the future, and it’s the most popular CMS today.
Everyone (small and big; simple and complex) uses WordPress.
As of February 2016, WordPress was used by 59.1 percent of all the websites whose CMS we know. This is 25.8 percent of all websites. And as of January 2015, more than 23.3 percent of the top 10 million websites on the Internet use WordPress.
Users produce about 56 million new posts and 46.5 million new comments each month.
If sites as large as Mashable, TechCrunch and New York Times use WordPress, then it’s good enough for you and me to use.
It’s easy to use.
WordPress is ridiculously easy to familiarize yourself with.
While you may not need a lot of features now, you may need/want them in the future, which is another reason why I love WordPress — because it allows you to scale rapidly.
There’s massive support for WordPress.
Because WordPress is massively popular, it has significantly more plugins, themes and talent readily available to help you if you get stuck on something. Seriously, just join a Slack group with technical people (here’s another list of Slack groups and one more), and anyone will be able to help you.
“There’s a HUGE support community. WordPress isn’t just a software, it has become a community. Some might even say a movement. In fact, WordCamps (1–3 day training sessions) have sprung up from grassroots efforts.
They are informal, community-organized events put together by other WordPress users just like you. You’ll meet people of all backgrounds, ages, and nationalities at WordCamps. Plus, there are thousands of people and hundreds of resource and tutorial sites set up just to help you with your WordPress site.” (Source)
WordPress is free to install and use for anyone who wants to use it. The cost comes in when you want your own domain name, which only comes out to around $24/year with hosting!
Just about every WordPress theme on the market today is “responsive,” meaning the site adjusts to site visitors’ screens, making it easily viewable based on their device (tablet, Mac, laptop, etc). This is vital in such a mobile world.
It’s easily manageable.
Because it’s easily manageable, it’s easy to make changes to the site without having to call a programmer.
SEO (search engine optimization) friendly means that search engines like WordPress. Search engines, or Google, love sites that are easy to index, and WordPress is super easy to index.
How do I increase revenue for my local, small business?
A few years ago, my father asked me how he could generate more revenue for his local business. He’s owned two dry cleaners in south Florida for more than 30–40 years (I can’t remember) and he has plenty of loyal customers, which is great, but how does he expand his reach?
My suggestion: Get online.
I firmly believe that every business should have an online presence.
For a small business owner, figuring out where to begin creating an online presence can be a daunting task. Here is a short list of tips and suggestions to help make the process a bit easier.
Note: Here’s a quick quiz Moz created to help small business owners figure out how to prioritize gaining an online presence.
Create a website.
Many small business owners do not have website because it was not seen as a necessity, and they were outrageously expensive until recently.
A website is no longer a luxury item, it is a necessity.
The great news is that resources such as WordPress have made it possible for tech-savvy individuals to build affordable AND beautiful websites for small businesses.
Create listings on free, local directories.
Red, green, yellow and blue is the new yellow. Simply put: Google is the new Yellow Pages.
A local business listing is an online profile that contains your business name, address, phone number, and other details. There are thousands of websites and directories on which local business owners are allowed to create free business listings. Some you may already have heard about include Google+ Local, Yelp, Bing Places, Internet Yellow Pages, and Yahoo! Local. (Source)
The more profiles (aka links) you have on the Internet, the more chances you have to show up on the front page of Google, whenever a searcher types in something like, “dry cleaners near me” or whatever they’re searching for your particular business.
More links means more chances to OWN the front page of Google — not just show up on it once.
Host social media contests.
You could do anything with social media. It just requires you to think creatively.
For example, I’ll tell you what I suggested to my father, who has a vehicle wrap on his dry cleaning delivery truck. Remember a little game called I Spy? Play it with your customers. The first customer to take a picture of the van, and post it to his Facebook wall receives ______. This drives engagement, which in turn drives brand awareness and influences consumers’ buying decisions.
I cannot stress this enough. Your local business needs good reviews to stand out online.
Where can I find a good AND affordable website designer and/or marketer?
Assuming there are no complex features, a beautiful, user-friendly, SEO-optimized and fully functional site will cost around $500, and it can be done in a week or two.
There’s the additional cost of ~$30 / year for your domain name and hosting provider (hosting providers are like Internet landlords).
While I no longer design websites myself, I do manage loads of website projects for small businesses and startups. Please feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you’re interested in getting your website built. I’d love to speak with you.