In this day and age, is there any business serious about its growth that doesn’t have an online presence of some sort? A website should be the starting point of every company’s marketing and business development plan, although an increasing number of small businesses, particularly side ventures of stay at home mums or those who already have a full time job, are opting for a Facebook page these days instead of going to the trouble of creating a once-requisite website.
From a business and professional perspective, a good website is simply a must have if you’re serious about your product or service. There are a number of reasons why a good website matters for a business, but the two key points are:
Your website reflects on your business and on you as a professional.
Your website is potentially a valuable source of business for you, both locally and perhaps even internationally.
For the following companies, the decision to pour time, money and effort into their websites turned out to be the right one. In addition to improving the image of the company and their respective brands, it also, most importantly, led to increased business sales. Whether you’re a new entrepreneur or someone who’s been around for a while, these companies are great examples for you to emulate.
Bring your products and services to the attention of a national audience
Pink Frosting launched in Australia as a business in 2006, selling wedding goods, party supplies and decorations. The reason they became one of the fastest growing businesses in their industry is simple: they got it right from the very beginning when it came to their website. Their online party shop, which offers an enormous range of goods and products to suit parties for people of all ages, is a user friendly and interactive site that keeps on attracting customers.
At the click (or two) of a mouse, Pink Frosting’s website was able to introduce a nation of shoppers – via their web browsers – to a collection of products that hadn’t been seen before in Australia. Their regularly updated blogs with up to date news, current party trends and links to Pink Frosting party events and themes opened up for their customers a whole new way of organising parties. It meant that every customer could easily organise their own event, complete with supplies and decorations that were tailor made for their theme. Even more importantly, whatever customers ordered could be processed efficiently and delivered quickly, thus saving the customer/organiser a lot of hard work.
As one of the pioneering businesses in the Australian online retail space, particularly for their industry, Pink Frosting certainly had its share of challenges when they first started out. But, over time, the company’s investment into developing their website has paid off: the site’s success and massive online traffic figures earned Pink Frosting a coveted spot on the Business Review Weekly Fast 100 list in 2012, as well as a place on the 2013 Crowe-Horwath Smart Company Smart50 Awards, which honours Australia’s most innovative and fastest growing small to medium businesses.
The importance of having a mobile friendly website
Nowadays online shopping has become a quintessential part of many consumers’ everyday lives. Shopping from your computer or laptop is as normal as having your morning coffee, and, with technology and smartphones continuing to develop and evolve, it’s no surprise that people are moving on to shopping from their mobile devices.
If your website is not mobile friendly, then you are almost certain to be left behind. Not only are you missing out on potential new customers, you might even start to lose your existing ones.
One of the fastest growing companies in the food and beverage industry is the global online company Just Eat. Launched in Denmark in 2001 by businessman Jesper Buch, Just Eat is an online service that acts as a web based intermediary between independent food takeaway outlets and their customers, allowing customers to search for local takeaway restaurants, place their orders with the outlets online, and even choose their pick-up or delivery option.
With their headquarters in the UK, Just Eat currently operates in 15 countries worldwide. And even though the company was experiencing a lot of growth, it was the launch of their mobile friendly website that gave them that extra boost, as customers discovered how easy it was to order food via the website on their mobile devices.
Make sure your website is easy to navigate
This might seem like a no-brainer, but in the rush to put out a fancy, impressive looking and stylish website, sometimes ease of navigation does get overlooked, believe it or not.
Needless to say, a website that’s easy to navigate, particularly if you’re an e-commerce website, is absolutely crucial to attracting and retaining customers. You need to have the right balance between simplicity (read: not overloading your site’s visitors with unnecessary information or elements) and detail (i.e. customers are able to easily find all the information they need about your product or service).
Online clothing retail giant ASOS is a good example of an easy to navigate website, as is Graze, which delivers handpicked healthy snacks to your door, whether you are at home or at work, and which has been rated one of the fastest growing businesses in the UK.
Both ASOS and Graze are based in the UK but are available locally and overseas, and their websites allow customers to easily switch between different currencies and countries, depending on where they are. Clothing sizes, weights and measures, currency conversions, etc. are all instantly done with the simple click of a mouse, while all other relevant information is neatly organised and easy to find.
At a time when a lot of businesses are trying to cut costs, building or improving your website might not be top on your list of priorities, but the fact is a good website is a worthy and important investment if you’re looking to take your business to the next level. Even if you’re not in the e-commerce industry, your website is the first thing potential customers see when they check you out, and how it looks, if it is mobile friendly and how easy it is to navigate will determine whether or not they pick up that telephone and give you a ring.
About the author
Dave Thomas is an Art & Digital Manager at Dirty Chook, a full service media, advertising and digital communications agency based in Brisbane, Australia. He is passionate about digital strategy, both from an advertising and business operations perspective, and loves the challenge of finding the right balance between embracing the latest technologies and meeting the traditional requests of clients.