We are always amazed when small business owners and service professionals believe that they can be found and that they don’t need a website. We have heard from small restaurants, “My customers find me on instagram”. Doctors have informed us that their practices rely on referrals through insurance and physician groups and not on a web presence.
Well, we usually like to be sweet with our words and choose them carefully, but…they are wrong. Not just somewhat wrong, but all the way wrong.
While it is true that Instagram is a great platform for quick communication and lots of images, and this works well for small retail establishments, including restaurants, Instagram cannot be your only internet address. The same is true of Facebook and Twitter. Twitter works great for quick fun posts and for gathering a community around hashtags and for spreading instantaneous buzz. Facebook offers up a wonderful amalgamation of ideas, posts, sharings and images and is important for nearly every business venture. And there are great qualities of all sorts of other social media outlets, including Pinterest, Snapchat, and on and on.
Yet, none of these social media “channels” is like a website. A website shows the stability of your business. It has your contact information. It shows either through inclusion or omission what you are all about. It tells people about your services, your products, your hours.
One size does not fit all. Don’t be sucked into believing that every website needs 45 pages of content, a new blog post every week and hundreds of images.
So, what does every website need?
- Functionality: it should “work” well, be easy to navigate and not feel clunky.
- Working contact information including an email address that gets checked regularly.
- Useful content: not only what you provide and sell, but information about your area of expertise. So every dentist provides dental surgery, but not every dentist has information about what to expect after surgery on their website.
- Thoughtful images: Choosing images is time-consuming but bad images make a (lousy) lasting impression. Finding images that are clear but not overused enhances the look of your website and indicates that you are not a copycat or a fly by night operation.
- Indications that the website is “fresh” and updated. If you have a blog section, it’s not great if the last blog post was more than a year ago. Calendars should be current and any banners should also refer only to what’s happening today or in the near future.