“Do I need a website?”
You may think a website is a waste of time, especially if your business isn’t especially complex or large. You may think that Google Business and a Facebook Page are enough. But you’d be wrong. A website is absolutely essential no matter what you do, and here’s why.
First, a website is a place for you to set out who you are. You can introduce yourself, so customers know who they’re hiring, and list your services, so they know what they’re getting from you.
It goes without saying that your contact details should be displayed prominently, alongside testimonials from satisfied customers, examples of your work, and the best photos that you’ve uploaded to Google and Facebook (or Instagram, or Pinterest). The difference is that this time, you’re not working to a standard social media template, which is why you can be more creative.
In other words, your website is your online brochure, the perfect place for you to show off. Once a potential customer has decided to investigate you, they’ll be far more likely to pick up the phone if they’re impressed with what they see.
A website has other advantages too. For one thing, it saves you time answering the same questions over and over again. If you have an FAQ that states your working hours, your services and even your prices, you won’t have to repeatedly explain them yourself.
Websites are also available 24 hours a day. Even if you work exceptionally long hours, you will sometimes need to turn your phone off and rest. With a website, you can always be there for your customers.
Finally, it makes you look professional and credible. A web presence is what distinguishes a businessman from a chancer. If your company has its own domain (e.g., joebloggs.biz), and email address (email@example.com), it sets you apart from the crowd. Google and Facebook are important, as we’ve seen. But they can only get you so far. You need a website, and you need it to look good.
Easier than ever
Fortunately, having a sleek, stylish business website is easier than ever. Long gone is the era when you had to build one from scratch, or pay an expert to do it for you. These days, you have your pick of attractive templates, many of which cost very little, or nothing at all.
Wix is one option, a fantastically easy-to-use website builder that offers dozens of templates for free, including ones designed for house painters, carpenters, plumbers, and handymen. New tools are constantly being added, and tech support is very good.
Weebly is another one to check out. It’s also free in its basic form, it’s even more user-friendly than Wix, and you can probably build your website in its entirety in just a few hours, even if you’re a technophobe. It doesn’t have as many features as its rivals, but if you don’t think you need too many bells and whistles, it’s definitely worth considering.
Another possibility is Squarespace. Squarespace templates look the most sophisticated and expensive, but the options may be overwhelming if you’re not that comfortable with technology. Squarespace is the perfect option if design is your main concern. If it’s not, it’s probably more than you need.
Whichever one you pick, though, you should be careful of hidden add-ons. You have to pay to get access to the best tools for business, and if you want to remove ads, get extra storage, or have a personalised domain, your free template may start costing you £3, £5, or even £10 a month.
But while that might not be as good as £0 per month, it’s still a real bargain, considering how important a high-quality website is for building up your business. And you don’t even have to learn to code.