I have been a big fan of Dr. Jakob Nielsen since I started designing websites back in 1999. And I have always found his tips and comments on web design very useful.
Recently, he released the “10 High-Profit Redesign Priorities” which clearly outline every reason to think about your current and future web presence and how to market your business.
Several usability findings lead directly to higher sales and increased customer loyalty. These design tactics should be your first priority when updating your website.
But I want to take it further and outline some of the reasons I think a web presence is so important.
In Today’s Market, You Customers Expect It
In today’s business world, the Internet is the fastest growing source for information. Without a web presence, your business risks never being found by prospective customers.
With a Web Presence, Your Business Stay Open 24/7
A brick and mortar business can be expensive to open, operate and maintain. Comparitively, a basic web site is very quick, easy, and inexpensive to start. Operating costs are miniscule and, unlike a physical business, a website is open and available to customers around the globe 24/7! With a website, customers are able to view your products and services long after your normal operating hours. If you decide to sell products online, the sky is the limit. With automated shopping carts and purchasing systems you can accept orders from any part of the world at any time.
Your Competitor Most Likely Has One
If your competitor has one and you do not then they have an advantage. If he/she does not have a site yet, then get ahead by having one first.
Email Address – Your Most Critical Contact and Networking Tool.
Emails are quickly replacing phone calls and letters as a businesses most common tool for communication, and rightly so. Are you currently using an email address from your ISP or a free email account for business contacts? Has anyone ever asked for your business email address? The status and branding for your business can be raised with an email address that includes your company name or services. For example: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, etc.
Find Out What Your Customers Really Want (Survey)
People visit your website for a purpose and/or an interest in your products, services or information. But you want to find out exactly why they came or what they’re looking for? Unlike brick and mortar business online transactions, visits, and activity are easily gathered and can be quickly referenced when making a customer oriented decision.
Increase Net Sale by Selling Your Products and Services Online
Have you seen or heard about some of the most successful online stores like eBay.com or Amazon.com or Half.com. Although these companies have huge infrastructures and massive marketing programs to drive their online business, it is possible to set up an online store in much the same way. If you have a retail product that can be shipped via UPS or FedEx then you’re a great candidate for an online store.
Unlimited Marketplace (International Markets Open)
A website is accessible 24 hours a day from anywhere on Earth with an Internet connection. Soon after the launching of your site, you can start doing business all over the globe, at any time of day.
Use Search Engines to Attract New Business
Search Engines have changed the way we gather information. Today most researches for business and/or services are done online. By having your website listed on the top search engines, customers from anywhere will be able to access your website. For example, if you’re selling running equipment and someone searches for “running watch” your site could be the first selection listed under the results. You guess it right. He/she will most likely to click on your link from the search result.
Instant Contact Information to Prospective Clients
With a website, you give customers instant access to some of the most important part of doing business. It helps deliver details about your business to anyone with an Internet connection. It gives customer directions to your business; tell people your hours or which product lines you carry. This frees up time to focus on what you do best, running your business.
Easy to Interact with Customers
One of the best ways to keep customers coming back is to keep in touch with them. Through a website you can interact with clients via online newsletters, message board (forum), polls, chat rooms, and special deals. When you keep in contact it shows customers that you care.
There can be many more reasons why you need a new a website and need it now, but these reasons above should give you an idea of where you stand with you business in a technological prospective.