With so many marketing choices, it can be difficult to know where to allocate your budget. However, a strong argument can be made for spending first – and wisely – on your website. In 2019, your company’s website is perhaps the most important marketing tool that you have at your disposal. In many ways, your online presence is more important than your business card and other print materials.

All of your marketing efforts lead back to your website. Traditional advertising, social media marketing, and emails often drive traffic to your website. Content marketing, SEO and PPC cannot work effectively without a quality website.

Customers Start Online

According to the eCommerce Foundation88% of consumers do online research before making a purchase. As soon as a visitor gets to your website, he or she is forming opinions about your company and your products or services. Before they read anything, just based on appearance alone, customers are trying to decide if your company is trustworthy. A Stanford research study found that 75% of website users make judgments about a company’s credibility based on website design. Furthermore, it takes users less than two tenths of a second to form a first impression of your website.

Customers want to find the information they’re seeking, and they want your website to be easy to use. Once they reach your website homepage, 86% of visitors want to see a company’s products or services and 64% want to see contact information (KoMarketing Usability Report). According to Adobe39% of visitors will stop engaging with a website if the image takes too long to load (or don’t load at all), and 38% will stop engaging if the content or layout is unattractive.

And if these statistics aren’t convincing enough, consider this: 88% of online consumers say they are less likely to return to a website after a bad experience (gomez whitepaper).

Speak Directly to Your Customers

Your website legitimizes your existence. This is not to say that all of your other marketing efforts aren’t important. Your business still needs things like social media, content marketing, email marketing, traditional advertising and more, but all of these initiatives drive traffic to your website. Customers use websites to learn more about companies and their products and services, to make purchases and to find contact information.

One of the best things about your website is that it gives you a chance to speak to a captive audience. Here is a visitor that’s essentially saying, “I’m interested in your services and what you have to say.” (Contrast this with traditional advertising where you’re trying to capture someone’s attention.) Your website should make the best impression as quickly as possible while you have each visitor’s attention.

Get to Know your Customers Through Analytics

Once you’ve got visitors to your website, you want to keep them around and turn them from interested readers to actual customers. Your website should have definable (and measurable) goals revolving around customer interactions with your business. These goals can include opting in to receive additional information, contacting your company and making a purchase.

You can use analytics and data to better serve your customers. Keep an eye on statistics like average time on page and bounce rate. Learn about your customers, their behavior and how to get them to convert at a higher rate.

Your Website is a Worthy Investment, Don’t Skimp on it!

Trying to get a cheap website will get you just that – a cheap website. You may get your website up and running quickly, but you’re likely to sacrifice quality and functionality. Then, when you find that your website isn’t attracting customers as you expected, you may have to pay to have your website redone sooner rather than later. You need a reliable website that works properly, loads quickly, conveys the correct information, looks great and lends credibility to your brand.

According to a comScore study, mobile devices account for two out of every three minutes spent online. Not online do you want to make sure your website looks great and functions across a variety of browsers, you’ll want to optimize its design and function for smartphones and tablets as well. This can cost more in the web design and development process, but it is a worthwhile investment that sometimes gets overlooked.

You’re not just building a website; your website is an ongoing moneymaker. Think about how valuable your website is to your business. If you invest $5,000 in your website and you get five new customers, that might be enough to fulfill your return on investment, and you’ll get ongoing revenue after that!

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