This article is part of a series sponsored by SiteGround. Thank you for supporting the partners who make SitePoint possible.
In 2017, the reality is that any business that desires new customers or clients needs a website. Almost all of those customers will use the internet to find businesses before they try anything else.
If a person is new to an area and wants to find coffee shops, dentists, doctors, daycares, or mechanics, how will they do so? They’ll search online. Those searches take so little time that a business must be prepared to stand out, and capture the potential customer's attention in the fleeting moments that they have.
A potential customer flipping through Google's mapped results may ignore the first two businesses for not having websites to look at at all. They tap on the third business's website only to find that it does not work well on their phone, so they move on to number four. Just like that, the three businesses closest to the customer have been written off due to their lack of a useful, up-to-date, mobile-friendly website.
The website for any business needs to be professional and practical. It needs to contain the right information to convince potential customers to make an order, call, or come visit. It needs to be consistent with your signage, your elevator pitch, and your brochures, but it also needs to be better than all of those things. It needs to drive traffic to your business, even if you don’t sell anything online. It needs to convince people that this business has the answers to the problem they're trying to solve.
More than being useful, a website is a point of pride for a business. The state of the site's design, mobile friendliness, loading speed, and accuracy of its information may not be an issue to the business owner, employees, or regular customers — but it definitely matters to potential new customers.
Regardless of your situation, you need this virtual signage and information online. Perhaps the entirety of your business is conducted on the Internet as a software startup, or perhaps your mom and pop restaurant serves local clientele from a well-known, rustic location and you have no online services at all. Either way, you still benefit from the traffic and the good reputation that your business can gain from a website done right.
A Good Return on Investment
In many cases, building a good website is a ridi