India is ranked as the second largest online market in the world. Hence, having an online presence for your business is crucial. However, do you need a website for your business?
69% of Indian consumers make an online search before buying a product.
But, in the present age you can use social media to:
- Create business profiles with basic information about your business
- Get attention through social media posts
- Sell your products
So, do you really need a website for your business?
The short answer is yes. In this article, I will share why you cannot rely on social media alone to start and grow a business in India.
Five reasons you need a website for your business
The internet makes it possible for anyone — even those with restricted finances — to start a business. Here are five reasons why you need a website to make your business succeed today:
1- To control your business in a better way
First on our list of reasons why you need a website for your business is control.
Do you host your party at a friend’s place and call your guests there? No. It is because you don’t own the place, and therefore, too many things are beyond your control.
Having your business on social media is no different. So many things are out of your control and could go wrong. The content you post there — even your profile — is not owned by you.
A few things that can go wrong:
- The social network may start charging money to send you more visitors (like Facebook did)
- The platform can get banned (like TikTok in India)
- It may become obsolete (like MySpace)
In any of these scenarios, whatever following you have built up on that network will disappear overnight.
2- To win the trust of a wary public
Would you work for an organization that doesn’t have an office?
Just like a physical presence, online presence matters too. If you don’t put skin in the game (i.e., invest in a business website), don’t expect people to put their hard-earned money in your game.
There are a lot of untrustworthy ventures out there. People look for signs that your business is legitimate — a website is one of those signs.
Having a website in today’s time is a commitment factor. It shows your seriousness and professionalism.
3- To get found by more customers
With an SEO optimized website, you pave the way for new prospects to find you through search engines.
Because a website has more space for detailed product descriptions and a variety of how-to articles related to your business, there is more opportunity to interlace keywords that will attract Google’s attention.
As mentioned earlier, people search on the internet before buying a product. If your website includes the keywords that people type into Google when looking for products or services like yours, you will get leads automatically.
The best part is if you do the SEO work yourself, this is entirely free.
Apart from this, you can also do search engine marketing where you pay to get in front of people searching for a particular keyword.
4- To avoid paying rent and utilities
You might be counting the bills it costs to have a good website. What if I tell you that having a website, in fact, saves you time and money?
Think about the amount of capital required to open an office or physical store and now compare it with a website’s cost. Your website is your online facility, one that anyone can enter irrespective of their geographic location.
5- To promote your products or services
A website is more than an online brochure of your business. Apart from listing your products, services, location, hours and contact information, it allows you to build authority and nurture the relationship by:
- Publishing blog posts
- Interacting with your website visitors
- Collecting email IDs for later use
A well-structured website allows your visitors to understand how you can help them, easily move through your offerings, and choose the product/service that would serve them best. It’s like having a salesman at work 24×7.
Types of websites
There are numerous ways you can have an online presence. Your objective and purpose determines which one to choose.
Here are some common types of websites and case scenarios of each:
A corporate website helps large organizations build a corporate image, win the trust of prospective partners and customers, and make important announcements like the launch of a new product.
Large corporates like Tata Motors, Sun Pharma, etc. would need a corporate website.
The name itself clarifies the purpose of this type of website: to sell products. The e-commerce functionality allows the customers to choose and purchase products from an online catalog that includes product pictures and descriptions.
If Amazon and Flipkart are coming to your mind as examples you’re right.
Now think of a small business: a restaurant, an accountant, or a small cotton manufacturer.
A small and growing business needs support in almost all areas, and a website does that too.
It helps you in all your business areas, from raising awareness among people who have never heard of you to building trust to providing the product details buyers need to make a decision.
The website above was built using GoDaddy’s Websites + Marketing. Ruchi Indian Cuisine doesn’t sell things online, but it does share Ruchi Indian Cuisine’s menu, photos, reviews and links to the restaurant’s social media pages.
The owner of this website can easily add:
- A blog to share recipes, the history of various dishes, etc.
- Select keywords to bring more local diners to the restaurant
- Great-looking emails sent out to anyone who signs up on their site
Should the owners of Ruchi Indian Cuisine decide to start selling their popular chutney online, they would only need to upgrade to the e-commerce plan of Websites + Marketing plan (additional fee).
A blog website is primarily a collection of long-form articles (each with a word count of 750 words or more) related to your industry. These articles might be instructional or informational, but they must adequately answer your customers’ questions about your products or services.
You can have a blog website on its own or add a blog to an existing business website to draw likely buyers in.
A blog helps you build your authority online by simply sharing your expertise through informational articles and videos. A good example is Neil Patel’s QuickSprout.
Although he has several other businesses (Crazy Egg, Kissmetrics), Quicksprouts is essentially a blog website.
If you’re a freelancer or a solopreneur trying to build your personal brand, then a portfolio website is a great choice.
Artists, photographers, writers and designers can find it challenging to demonstrate their skills, especially if they’re hoping to attract clients outside their geographic area.
But with a portfolio website, they can easily display their samples to get more clients or impress job recruiters.
Getting a website is easier than ever
As an entrepreneur, you are probably juggling many demands. But as we elucidated, you really do need a website. Without one, you are not only losing the credibility and trust of your existing partners and customers and the opportunity to attract new customers.
As Bill Gates says “If your business is not on the internet, then your business will be out of business.”
At the very least, you’ll want to launch a business card website with GoDaddy’s Online Starter Bundle. That way your business will be up and visible to those who search for you. If you decide you need a more robust business or e-commerce website, you can build it later.