These are challenging times in light of rising inflation and the threat of a recession looming. Understandably, companies are taking cost-cutting measures. What’s more, brands today can easily connect with people worldwide and build an audience without a website. So, let’s cut to the chase: Do brands still need a website in 2024?
The short answer is yes. Websites remain not only relevant but are possibly more valuable than ever. These are 15 reasons why I think so:
1. Showcasing Your Brand
Expressing Your Unique Brand Identity
Your website provides the perfect stage to express your unique brand personality and identity.
But that’s not all. On your website, you have absolute control over the narrative. You can influence how people see your brand by communicating your brand story or the personal journey behind your business.
Creating Branded Experiences
Unlike print or social media, websites are dynamic and flexible. Through featuring engaging messaging and visuals, you can create an immersive brand experience for your visitors that reflects your brand’s mission, values, and overall culture.
And the best is that the website can quickly adapt as your brand grows and evolves.
2. Growing Your Audience and Boosting Brand Awareness
Enduring Content for Greater Reach
Your website helps to grow your audience and give your brand the recognition it deserves.
Unlike the constant flow of content on social media, where posts are quickly forgotten, the content on your website is long-lasting.
Google encourages high-quality content. So, when you blog about topics relevant to your audience and industry, you can increase your reach and draw in new visitors.
But remember: quality is the key to the game of search engine optimisation (SEO).
Building Trust Through User Engagement
Attracting people to your site is just the first step.
With the right design, engaging content and user-friendly navigation, you can pique your visitors’ curiosity, direct their behaviour on your website and make them return repeatedly.
This is how you gradually increase your reach and build trust in your brand.
3. Projecting Professionalism
Signalling Your Dedication and Credibility
Now, let’s talk about signalling. A professionally designed website sends a clear message: your business is dedicated, serious and professional.
Our brains are wired to take shortcuts (cognitive biases and heuristics), meaning we conclude quickly.
How your website is presented—its navigation, usability, content, look and feel—significantly influences the overall perception of your capabilities (known as the Halo Effect).
Here are a few ways your website can underscore your company’s capabilities:
- Social Proof: You can feature social proof on your website in the form of testimonials and reviews to build trust among potential buyers.
- Industry Alignment: When your website’s tone and design align with the expectations of your niche, it demonstrates your brand’s relevance within its industry.
- Authority: A well-designed website that maintains a consistent and professional appearance while offering valuable information can establish your business as an authority in your industry.
Did you know that 84% of consumers consider a website essential for a business’s credibility compared to those with social media profiles only?
The fact is that your competitors are likely investing in their websites, making having one essential for staying competitive.
4. Putting the Customer Experience in Your Control
Enhancing the User Experience
Your website puts you in charge of how customers experience your brand.
Unlike social media, where algorithms and restrictions dictate the rules, you decide how your content is presented on your website.
It’s your call how you want users to engage with your site, where they navigate, and the actions you want them to take.
Similarly, you have full authority over how your content is presented. By blending text, images, videos, 3D graphics, and more, you can craft immersive experiences for your audience.
What’s more, by combining user behaviour data and testing, you can continually improve the experience. You can even tailor the content to individual visitors. We get to that in a minute.
Features such as blog posts, newsletters, and interactive elements like forms and live chats help you to connect with your audience. This means communication can flow both ways, even when you’re unavailable.
Implementing AI for a Better Experience
The rise of AI can further boost the customer experience. According to a Boston Consulting Group survey, 95% of customer service leaders expect AI bots will have a role in serving customers within the next three years.
In the future, this could translate, for example, to integrating chatbots that provide personalised solutions to common issues, enabling your customers or prospects to receive quick service 24/7.
5. Trusted Resource and Information Hub
Another advantage of a corporate website is that it can become a central hub for all your company information. Whether it’s product features, thought leadership, contact details or press links—your website is where it all comes together.
97% of people use the Internet to learn more about local businesses. This highlights the role of your website in your brand communication, even when not operating globally.
Guiding Visitors to Take Action
With all the opportunities like Instagram, Facebook ads, SEO and others, it’s easy to lose track of your goals.
Your website can be the go-to place where all your online traffic lands. Once on your site, you can seamlessly direct visitors to specific actions, such as buying or contacting you.
Becoming an Industry Authority
Ultimately, your website can evolve into a one-stop shop for industry-related information—a trusted source for those seeking answers in your field.
6. Gaining Consumer Insights
We touched on this before. Your website provides a great opportunity to gain insights into your target audience. Thanks to analytics and data collection methods, you can understand your customers like never before.
Here are a few ways to achieve this:
Tools like Google Analytics provide in-depth data about your website visitors. You can learn about their age, location, the devices they use, and which pages they visit. This data helps you create content that matches your interests.
User Behaviour Tracking
Heatmaps and session recordings can show how people interact with your website. You can see where they click, how far they scroll, and where they leave. This helps you organise your website for a better user experience.
Keywords and SEO
Analysing the words people use to find your site gives you insight into what they search for. Knowing this, you can create content and products that meet their needs.
Adding forms and surveys to your site lets you collect direct user feedback. This information reveals issues, suggestions for improvement, and what your customers prefer.
A/B testing means trying different versions of your website elements, such as headlines, images, or buttons, to see what works best for your audience. This process helps you fine-tune your site for better results.
7. Automating Your Business
Thanks to the wealth of data, your website can streamline and automate some of your business operations. This is how:
Chatbots and AI
Intelligent chatbots can handle common customer questions, provide instant support, and even manage orders or bookings. This frees up your team for other tasks and provides support around the clock.
Your website can automatically tailor content and product suggestions to individual visitors. This enhances the user experience and increases the chances of turning visitors into customers because they feel understood.
Your website can seamlessly connect with tools like customer relationship management (CRM). This automation can handle tasks like sending follow-up emails, saving time and reducing mistakes.
If you run an online store, your website can automate inventory management, order processing, and payment handling.
Simplifying Content Management
Automation can simplify tasks like scheduling blog posts and optimising content for search engines.
8. Cutting Operating Costs
A Cost-Effective Solution
An optimised website can be a game-changer in saving your business money.
Traditional marketing methods like print ads, brochures, and direct mail can be expensive.
In contrast, a website offers a more cost-effective way to reach a broader audience. Online marketing tactics, like email marketing and social media advertising, tend to be budget-friendly and may deliver better results.
Streamlining Customer Service
As talked about before, websites can also streamline customer service processes, reducing the need for customer support staff.
Features like chatbots and FAQs can quickly address common questions, providing immediate help to users.
Efficiency in Product-Based Businesses
For product-based businesses, e-commerce websites offer the advantage of selling products and services directly to customers.
This might reduce the need for brick-and-mortar locations, resulting in lower overhead costs like rent, utilities, and maintenance.
Scalability at Low Cost
What’s more, adding more products, services, or content is relatively easy. This means your website stays a cost-effective solution as your business grows.
9. Attracting New Talent
Your website doesn’t just have to be a customer-facing platform. It can also help you draw in top talent to your organisation. Here’s how:
Online Job Listings
A dedicated careers section offers potential candidates the opportunity to discover jobs and apply.
Conveying Professionalism and Stability
A well-maintained website can convey your company’s stability and professionalism, making it attractive for job seekers.
Showcasing Company Culture
Your website can bring across your company’s vision, values, work environment and employer benefits to attract people who align with your overall brand culture.
Engaging with Potential Candidates
You can incorporate interactive elements like contact forms or chatbots that allow potential candidates to reach out with inquiries or submit their resumes through your website.
Sharing Employee Success Stories
The website can also show the stories and achievements of current employees to show prospects what’s possible.
10. Helping Train Staff
Once you’ve successfully attracted new staff, your website can take on another role: helping with onboarding new employees.
Dedicated Training Section
Consider creating a dedicated section on your website that houses training materials, providing easy access to crucial resources from anywhere. This approach ensures that everyone has access to the same information without the need for third-party platforms.
Accessibility and Flexibility
This approach also offers the advantage of allowing employees to access training materials wherever they are.
To make the training engaging and effective, you can incorporate interactive elements, such as videos, quizzes, webinars, and written content, accommodating diverse learning styles.
Having all your training materials on your website allows for easy updates as your business evolves.
11. Security and Resilience
At a time of constant change and online threats on the rise, your website offers a level of security.
Secure and Resilient Platform
The decentralised nature of your website ensures a direct and secure connection to your customers. For example, it can shield your business from risks like cyber-attacks and data breaches. It also provides a tool to quickly react to economic uncertainties or global crises.
Responding to Uncertainties
As we have to deal with international conflicts and pandemics, businesses need to adapt to change quickly.
The future of Social Media is also uncertain.
In 2018, people spent 50 million fewer hours on Facebook than in the previous year, small businesses keep getting locked out of their Instagram accounts, and former Twitter (X) is considering charging users.
Your website remains a stable and reliable platform under your control, ensuring that your audience can always find and interact with your business. A platform that can change when needed.
Websites are adaptable and versatile brand assets. You have the flexibility to easily modify your website’s content, features, and offerings to ensure you stay relevant and competitive.
Whether you need to introduce new products, update information, or experiment with different strategies, websites make it all feasible.
Once your website is built, it effortlessly scales with your business as it grows.
One of the reasons I’m so drawn to designing websites is their eco-friendliness.
Reducing the Need for Printed Materials
One way websites can do this is by reducing the need for printed materials. Instead of creating brochures, catalogues, and manuals on paper, you can make everything available online. This saves you money and contributes to environmental conservation by reducing paper and ink usage.
Environmentally Friendly Hosting Options
However, it‘s important to note that website hosting can also be energy-intensive.
The good news is providers are working towards “greener” hosting solutions. So, you can choose eco-friendly hosting options that use renewable energy sources and implement energy-efficient practices to reduce your carbon footprint.
14. Global Reach
Let’s keep this section short, as we already talked about it.
Your website gives your brand a global presence. It works around the clock, adapts to different languages and reaches an international audience.
15. Ease of Build
Building and maintaining a website is now easier today than ever. Thanks to the many user-friendly website builders, templates and content management systems, you don’t need a lot of technical knowledge to get started.
Tools like WordPress Elementor, Squarespace, Webflow and others offer intuitive interfaces that allow you to design and customise your website without any coding skills. Additionally, there’s a wealth of online resources, tutorials, themes and support communities to help you.
Whether you’re a small startup or a large enterprise, these tools make creating and managing a website a manageable task.
If you need help getting started with your website, let’s talk.
As you see, brands still need a website in 2024.
But simply having a website is not enough. It must be well-designed, user-friendly, and optimised for search engines and your specific business needs to truly make a difference.
Here’s a quick checklist to ensure your website serves its purpose effectively:
- Mobile-First Design: Use a design that seamlessly adapts to different screen sizes, especially mobile devices.
- Storytelling: Use the flexibility your website offers to tell your brand story.
- Engaging Content: Make the most of your website by including rich content, such as copy, images, videos or 3D graphics to showcase your products, services, and behind-the-scenes insights.
- All-in-One Solutions: Consider optimising your web presence with integrated tools that combine website design, personalisation, automation, SEO, social media, email marketing and more.
- Regular Updates: Keep your website updated. Regularly verify information, fix broken links or errors, update plugins and optimise your copy and design.
- Performance Monitoring: Continuously monitor your website’s performance. Make necessary adjustments to improve the functionality and user experience.
- Maintenance Protocols: Implement regular backups, security updates, and testing to ensure your website runs smoothly and remains protected.
Title image by Kaboompics