I would not think that in 2014 I would still be answering the now age-old question, “do I even need a web presence?”, but sadly, I still get asked this at least once a week, and have a hard time explaining it every single time. For me, it’s a pretty common sense answer to a pretty redundant question. If you have a smart phone, then you not only need a web presence of your own, you should also have a mobile application.
Your Web Presence is your Digital Office/Shop/Store Front
Do you have a physical place of address for your business? If yes, then you should also have a digital one too. Your core internet presence is your digital brick-and-mortar, and should be treated as such. I’m certain you wouldn’t open a retail shop and say you are open for business but when customers walk in, there are no staff to help you, no cashiers, no warm bodies; so why would you do this for your website? Many businesses suffer from the syndrome of believing a web presence is of no importance, but it is. With everything becoming so advanced as the days go by, you need to have an up-to-date, fresh, clean, digital store front, with someone there who can help potential consumers if they need assistance. Having your own domain is also very important. It’s not just about having a Facebook page anymore.. which leads me to my next point…
Why you NEED your own domain
Would you rent a space for your store front but brand it as the landlord’s real estate business? Of course you won’t: you would get a sign, and throw up some paint and make it your own, right? So why would you put up a Facebook page, and not have a web presence that is your own. Everything on the internet now is about ownership, and if you own your domain, you can start making use of it, and helping your search engine rank. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: if you’re not on the first page of a search engine, you might as well be an invisible man. You need all the help you can get out there these days, and your own branded domain will help with that. You see, you can make that yours, and by making that one place the home of all your digital efforts, you’d soon realise some conversions. Granted, if you have a website with an ugly interface, your conversions would be as high as that of a shop that had never been cleaned. So you’ll need a tidy, modern interface, with new content to show off your products, as you would in your brick-and-mortar.
Mobile Applications are the Future of Web
I love mobile applications, not because they are fun, but because they are a direct link to your consumers. With a mobile application, you are literally in the hands of everyone who downloaded your app; so if you make an app which is relevant to your business and has something they need, then you’re in good shape. You can actually send push notifications to your mobile apps which the users will then see; can you imagine the ROI on pushing a 20% OFF sale when a consumer gets within 40 yards of your shoe shop? I don’t understand why people haven’t done this yet.
You would have noticed that I called your domain a web presence, and not just a website. Well the reason for that is, you don’t have to have a standard website any more, you can have an application instead of a traditional website, if you want to be on the cutting-edge of course. Basically, you can have a demo homepage of your product instead of a boring WordPress business front. The level of interaction is incredible, and if you throw in an e-commerce element, you have instant sales. There is nothing to lose with having a web presence, NOTHING, but you have every sale to gain.
Post Script : It’s a scary thought to think that soon, we don’t be saying these things are online, they won’t be referred to as on the internet, it would just be natural and normal. Cloud storage is growing as physical backup passport drives are declining. Websites and social networking is rising far beyond expectations five years ago.