WHY AND HOW DOES A SMALL BUSINESS BUILD THEIR WEBSITE?
Building a website is like setting up a virtual house where a company can sell their products or services, communicate effectively with their customers about them, do branding or get more fans to the business, etc. For many companies, this online platform becomes the only virtual shops for their business. Especially in the time of 4.0 technology and corona virus pandemic time, moving business houses to the online platform has become trendy and obligatory direction of most enterprises all over the world and sometimes it was proven to be the way out of the problematic situations.
According to McKinsey & Company research, the growth of customer purchasing online has been increasing during Covid-19 in many ranges of product categories, like the rate to shop online for medicine, groceries, household supplies, personal care products, alcohol and furnishing and appliances increased between 34- 44% while the rate for food takeout and delivery, fitness and wellness, snack, jewelry, apparel, skincare and makeup, footwear, tobacco, etc increased between 15-28 %.
Another research by Yotpo.com has told that 32.05% of researched people are spending time to browse for things to shop online and 25.35% has made the online purchases. This research tells that there is a shifting of consumers’ habit from shopping at physical stores to shopping in online stores. This data is not so surprising as we learned from our own survey of tea consumption habit in Finland which says over 40% survey respondents feel comfortable shopping tea online.
However, according to thebalancesmb.com, 46% of small businesses did not have a web presence in 2018, and 35% of small business owner feel that their business is too small for a website. This fact leads to a question:
Do small businesses need a website?
Nowadays people are talking a lot about the Internet of Thing (IoT) which means when there are billions physical devices like the computers, cell phones and other technologies all over the world, it can help connect, collect, and share data to each other through the internet power. The action of adding products to an online shopping cart can end with someone who owns the product in the real world. Everything is connected more by internet and there will be only a thin line of real world and virtual world. That is a global trend which may swirl any business builders into the big changing waves of the technology.
Without a website, the small company may lose their potential opportunities to connect with those customers who seem to spend most of their time in the day for some activities on the internet, like for work, for shopping, for communicating with others or for learning new knowledge online, etc. Even there may be some customers looking for the company information from internet. If they could not find any information about the company, how they may think of that business? not professional, bad customer service, bad technological competency or not their best option to shop or to partner with? Moreover, nowadays people consider having the website to be as the legitimacy of the business like they expect the company to have a real physical business address.
Other reason for the small companies to build the website is that the website also plays the role as a marketing channel and can be functioned as the tool to collect customer data and lead generation.
However, if the companies are too small of 3 or 5 employees and they have not much budget to invest in website, which can be the solutions? Deciding on whether to build up the website by themselves or to ask for website designing services is not the only thing to concern, besides the companies must know well how they can optimize this plan.
100 questions to ask before building a business website
George Plumley has written the book called: Website Design and Development: 100 Questions to Ask before Building a Website. This book is a good option to study for those who would like to learn the basic knowledge about website building. 360 pages of this book will answer from A to Z the readers’ inquiries about all relevant topics. Also, this book introduces and explains some web designing terms based on some clear and specific situations. This book does not recommend readers to design and build websites themselves, but to assist them with enough knowledge to confidently work with a web design company, thereby better controlling the whole process when they can perceive and minimize possible risks. Even if the company already has the website, this book can be referenced as a detailed checklist to ensure everything is going well on the website, or to help identify and provide guidance if the web has something that needs fixing.
George Plumley has made it easy for readers to develop IT knowledge by providing a solution to every problem which a website owner may encounter from the very beginning of creating a website domain name, until they implement marketing, advertising or optimize their website, etc. Through the book, he has raised the importance of naming a domain for the business. He mentioned that it is crucial because the domain name should be memorable, catchy, and unique for the customers to remember as most as possible in their mind. Hence, building the story of an online business may only start from the name of website domain.
Having a domain name like putting ‘the first brick’ to build online business house
The world is witnessing how the technology is creeping through every corners of society. Getting familiar with and updating the IT knowledge of people happens through the daily life naturally by media channels like TV, Facebook, YouTube, etc. Therefore, a 70-year-old woman or a 12-year-old boy may already hear somewhere people talk about the domain of website or they would know how to find the information by ‘Google’ using the key words easily. A funny story was told that, by the mistake, the domain name Googol.com has been spelt wrongly into Google.com. At the end, Google becomes one of the most famous domain name in the world. Clearly, Google has become so popular and familiar in the modern life as well as to become a common marketing tools for businesses. To be able to be on the top of Google searching tool requires a big effort of the companies from the building of the website, advertising to its optimization.
In this stage of putting the first brick, the company may have to pay much effort to win a good name for their website domain, but it is not yet the big deal. The most headache issue for the company may happen when they must consider many situations that may possibly happen when they do not have the best strategy for the domain name. For example, if the domain name does not contain any key words which refer to their business field, their customers or Google tool may not recognize them among other businesses or if the competitors try to copy the same popular domain name, then they may create same domain name, but can use different domain extensions, etc. This book also points out many ways to name for the domain when most of the best choices for company-oriented name has been chosen by other companies. This can be a good reference for those who are still confused around how to get the domain name as their expectation and strategy.
Building the website is all about making amazing experiences for customers
Building a website is not simply about making it look good, but to effectively fulfil the company’s targets, for example, a web to communicate well about the company, products or services or the one which can do the tasks: entertainment, selling, convincing customers, and so on. A good website which represents well the brand image, may make the company look professional, leave a good impression of customer friendliness, and can function well as the mainstream business channel to customers or partners.
The steps required for building a website like choosing the website layout, making images used effectively, decorating the website by colours, background, images, animation etc., making the site user-friendly to every browser, or loading speed, and so on, are all crucial to consider. However, it seems to be one of the most crucial things for company to help the visitors to their website stay in touch with them easily. It is good to know the customers’ expectation and how they prefer to interact and communicate on the company site using dialogue box or other tools that the company can offer for the best customer’s experience on site. Then, with the support of AI robot technology which can be coded to work as the virtual 24/7 customer service staff, the website nowadays can upgrade their services to the new professional levels. Furthermore, according to one digital specialist, the online shops should pay more attention to create the best experience to customer, for example, to make the website easy to use and navigate, clear copy, easy to buy, good refund and return policies as well as good shipping and payment options.
Nowadays there is more pressure to have a website because of the huge amount of work and many things to consider. The companies are not only expected by their customers to offer the high-quality products or services, but also have ability to bring up the solutions or better experience of customer services. Therefore, building up the website based on the customers’ expectation, measuring its performance, keep learning to improve and optimize it is highly recommended by the specialists. Finding good partners is always a good choice to go with instead of doing everything alone, especially for small companies.