The Importance of an Online Presence

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Why do you need a website?

Have you ever tried to pay for something at a shop which doesn’t have a card machine, and left due to not having cash? 

As well as leaving empty-handed, you’re left with a feeling of loss… for yourself and for all the opportunities that small business must be missing out on!

Not having an online presence, is the same principle.

If you run a business, small or large, you need a website, simple.

When you’re a small business, you need to build trust with your customer base, and one of the best ways to do this is with a good web presence. The first step most people take before buying from a small business or startup is to Google them.

I cannot stress enough, if you don’t have a website, you are losing out on a HUGE amount of customers. And when I say, have a website, I don’t just mean a ‘coming soon page’ I mean a live, fully-functioning website. If you sell products, your customers should be able to see them online, if you sell a service you should be to showcase case studies or provide evidence and build trust with your clients.

Larger companies like Apple or Amazon already have that trust in place through years of great customer service and trading, and as a small business, you have to fight harder to gain the trust of your potential clients. A good website does a lot of the groundwork for you.

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Do I need a website if I have a good social media presence?

Whilst social channels are a great way to keep your customers up to date on your day to day life and behind the scenes action, it’s doesn’t serve the same functionality as a website. 

Not all of your customer base will have social media, and if they do, they might only have certain social media channels. More so, they’re not always in a ‘business mindset’ when consuming social content. When being used effectively, social media can be another source of revenue or interest for your business.

It would be a bad move to rely solely on social. Plus with the rise of social media comes the fall of social media, a lot of people tend to find keeping up to date with social media a burden so they take a break from it. Consistency and persistence are key with online content. Websites are a constant content portal, without needing daily updates to feel fresh like social media can demand. The best move - is to have both! 

The internet has become an integral element of modern society - brands must have a virtual hub to stay relevant.

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Let’s say you have a website, are you happy with it?

Ok, you’ve got a website, it’s got all the content you think it needs on it, the content is there, but does it look good? Perhaps you’re super happy with your website, in which case, ignore everything I’m about to say. However, an alarming amount of people are ashamed of their website. When they share their website they say ‘oh I’ve got a website but it’s not very good’, or ‘it’s a work in progress.’ - if this is you, you need to revisit your website. 

First of all, you are not alone. The amount of clients that come to us feeling embarrassed by their website is quite high.

If you don’t like your website then you need to do something about it - you should love your website, not be ashamed of it. If you don’t like it or aren’t happy with it, it’s highly likely that your potential customers are not going to be impressed with it either. Your website is your brand’s digital shop window - it's important to feel proud in order to invite customers in.

You want to get your brand across in the best light - it’s key to building trust between you and your client. If you have testimonials (which I encourage every small business to get), this is a fantastic review-based method of building customer trust.

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Why we use Squarespace for our client sites 

Unless you have a very niche business or bespoke digital systems - i.e. booking systems, conditional shopping carts, then we will always recommend using Squarespace to build websites.

Squarespace’s functionality means business owners are able to keep their website updated themselves - allowing businesses more autonomy and creative control. Squarespace includes built-in search engine optimisation (SEO - which enables websites to be found on search engines like Google). On Squarespace, you can edit the SEO for each page to make it super easy for your clients to find you by becoming a search engine magnet.

Squarespace’s styling is fixed in place, which means it’s hard to go off-brand, once you’ve set up your headings, and subheadings. You can also set your colours and imagery to be aligned to your brand guidelines. On top of that, Squarespace now has built-in email templates, making it easy to stay connected to your customers.

All in all, we use Squarespace because we believe it provides the best experience for our customers, so they can create the best experience for theirs. We want to provide a service where business owners are able to feel in control of their brands - and most importantly feel proud. Squarespace’s easy functionality means brands we work with feel part of the website process, and once we’ve done the designing groundwork - they’re able to navigate and update their website themselves.

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Websites have become the first port of call for businesses, so it’s crucial to get it right. As a brand’s digital clone, it’s key that your website is reflecting you in the right light. 

A cracking website sells. It doesn’t leave room for any questions from customers. Ask yourself - ‘am I proud of my website? Is this who my business is?’ and this will inform how your customers see you. Remember - your website is your shop window: make it inviting.

AdviceRuby Lee