Written by: David Bay, Unicorn Digital Services

Many small businesses don’t think they need a website. Many startups tell us they will just use Facebook, whilst many operating businesses see a website as an unnecessary distraction. For example, successful trades businesses with ample clients often don’t see the need for the additional cost or time. But these businesses can often get caught off guard; when they want to win a big tender, if they lose some key customers or decide to grow. At other times when the business is seeking finance and they want to approach a lender, communicating their business and professionalism is much harder without a website; a Facebook page won’t cut it. Even if new customers don’t find you via your website, they always verify you: it’s an essential part of the sales process. Trying to find out information about a business without a website is harder work and deters new customers. Have you tried to find a restaurant menu if they don’t have a website?

In the 2018 Telstra Small Business Intelligence Report, they claim that “62% of customers will stop considering a business if they can’t find information about it online”, and yet 50% of the businesses surveyed didn’t have a website. Broken down that means customers are using websites to rate the businesses’ credibility and will choose those that have a web presence, without a website that won’t include yours.

A current trend that adds to the need to have a web presence, is the increasing use of mobile phones to find services. If you don’t have a mobile presence, those customers are simply not seeing you. Yet why then do 43% of businesses surveyed not want a website? These same businesses will often spend thousands of dollars using outdated advertising methods simply because they might have worked in the past.

New startups particularly, will often have no customers and urgently need to show to the market their service or product, and for this purpose a clean, quick loading and secure website is the answer. Although there are some reasonably good DIY services, their long-term flexibility and adaptability is doubtful and they can be very time consuming. The process involved in getting a website up and running is quite long and, in many cases, involves a team of people.

Getting online and making an impact typically involves the following steps:

  • Register a domain (this is the name for your website.)
  • Choose a hosting service (this is where the files that make the website run are stored)
  • Choose a design (often a theme run using Wordpress)
  • Choose colours and fonts – the look is important and must reflect your business and brand
  • Choose licensed images – yes, you may get sued if you use images that are not correctly licensed
  • Develop content – who you are and what you do
  • Connect with social media
  • Add regular content depending on the business you have you may post a regular blog or run price offers
  • Make the site secure (you may have noticed the little padlocks that appear on some sites)
  • Provide backup and maintenance services (each time programmes alter, and they do very regularly, there are updates to run)
  • Keep the site secure
  • Optionally drive a social media presence and SEO and advertising.
  • Get help!

Perhaps, this is why many small business owners toss their hands in the air and say too hard. Many digital agencies will charge thousands of dollars to do this and rightly so. Their work is fantastic, but there is an army of people coordinating all of the various aspects and often they are not necessarily in tune with the smaller end of town. It’s worth shopping around for services targeted to small business but make sure a bundled package includes all of the essentials.

Unicorn Digital Services is a new venture launched by David Bay, a Senior Business Planner with the Business Plan Company, designed for small business and startups. He offers a one stop shop, including all of the services mentioned above at a very affordable price, aimed at making it easy for you to get online.