The importance of having a website to grow your creative business

January 28, 2015

As a start-up or small business, it may seem like there is a never ending list of things that you need to do in order for your business to succeed. Carly Welsh from Glasgow based digital agency, AD looks at why a website should be at the top of your to-do list…

It may come as a surprise that in 2015, there are still a number of businesses that do not have a website or even have any online presence at all. A website is your virtual shop window to the world, providing somewhere for your customers and potential prospects to find information, make a purchase or contact you directly, and without one you put your business at a distinct disadvantage.

Why should you care?

Online presence has taken over as one of the most effective forms of advertising while The Huffington Post claims that many people use websites as their point of reference when deciding on the credibility of a business.

This may be all well and good for big brands, you may think, but as a small start-up or local business, websites play an increasingly important role. There are now more smartphones in the world than there are people and with greater connectivity, more and more consumers are searching for products and services whilst on the go. Consumers are more demanding than ever and expect to gain instant access to information – if this is not available they will simply opt for the nearest alternative offering what they are looking for.

If you don’t have a website or you think your current website could do with some TLC, have a look at our top tips below to boost your online strategy.

One of the biggest advantages of having a website is to increase brand awareness. If people are looking for your service, they will most likely turn to Google and search using keywords. Optimising your website for performance is the first thing you should do to begin growing your creative business as this will increase the likelihood of featuring higher within search engine results pages (SERPs). Taking actions such as increasing site speed, improving meta data and refining the relevance of your content can all ensure you feature higher, thus increasing brand awareness.

Effective use of social media and integration with your website is another key tactic to bolster your online presence. Not only is social media marketing one of the most effective forms of promoting a business, it increases visibility, encourages interaction amongst your audience, boosts referral traffic and reach, and can ultimately enhance lead generation.

If you happen to read tech blogs, you may be familiar with the phrase ‘content is king’. Content marketing should definitely be at the forefront of your marketing efforts. If you haven’t already, it’s definitely time to get on the blogging wagon! Creating and distributing quality content is an excellent way to improve visibility online. Blogging can help to improve your ranking within SERPs, adds to the authority of your website and has the potential to reach a large, relevant audience. Additionally, consistent blogging gives users a reason to return to your website, where you then have the opportunity to upsell and engage whilst also establishing your company as a thought leader in your industry.

If you are providing a service or a product, the main objective of your website may be lead generation, however have you ever taken the time to think of the data you should be collecting? Collecting email addresses is the simplest way to gather user data, however enquiry forms to receive a call back are also very valuable and are proven to be more likely to convert to a sale.

Having a website is all well and good but you must have a strategy for directing traffic to your website in the first place. It’s the equivalent of building a supermarket in the middle of the Australian outback without putting up any signposts and expecting people to stumble across it. A combination of on and off site optimisation (link building, social media, SEO) as well as paid search marketing and other advertising should be considered. Budgets are flexible and the returns can be substantial.

Finally, how do you know if it’s working? Constant measurement and testing is essential to identify the success of your lead generation techniques. Set Key Performance Indicators, and work towards these targets. On a monthly basis, monitor and review what is working well and what is not and make changes. Digital is all about adapting and being agile!

Taking the above into consideration, it is clear that there are key benefits of having a cohesive website strategy in terms of increasing brand awareness, generating leads, enhancing sales and building loyalty. With this in mind, the big question is, if you don’t already have a website for your business, why not?

AD is a strategic digital agency, with offices in Glasgow and London, with over 17 years’ experience in delivering award-winning results.

Are you ready to take Carly’s advice and get on the blogging wagon? Get in touch with your blog idea and you could be published on the Creative Clyde blog.