The COVID-19 pandemic has been a trying time in so many ways. However, even with so much change to contend with, people could still access the internet as usual. This created a clear advantage for business owners with a website or invested in a web designer to create one, versus those without one.
But if you are yet to create a website for your business, or if it's been some time since yours was updated, here are just some of the reasons why the pandemic proved the importance of having a functional website to tell you more.
The upward trend in online sales was strong even before COVID-19
There is no escaping the convenience of the internet, especially if your website is ecommerce based. Over the last decade, online sales have been sharply rising worldwide. By 2024, it is predicted that online sales will amount to 6.3 trillion dollars globally, up from 1.3 trillion in 2014.
The pandemic didn't derail these upward trajectories. In fact, since many physical stores and even services experienced disruption during COVID-19, more people than ever made their purchases online.
But not all websites are created equal. Undoubtedly, the user experience of any ecommerce website is paramount. Your customers want to be able to find exactly what they are looking for and have a secure checkout experience. Therefore, nailing both the niche and the technical elements of your website design is what's going to help set it apart from your competitors - pandemic or not.
Websites don't require physical contact
COVID-19 saw government leaders around the world impose lockdowns banning certain businesses from being able to open. As a concept that would have been considered absolutely unheard of before the pandemic, it left a lot of businesses vulnerable, especially those that only trade in person.
Plus, many people continue to feel apprehensive about going into busy locations, turning to online methods to reach their requirements, whether that be for shopping or even government services. So if there isn't an alternative way of contacting you or finding out more about your services, then your customers could be slipping through the net.
Pandemic aside, your customers aren't always going to be able to visit you in the flesh anyway, especially if your website is accessed internationally. Instead, practically every industry type can benefit from having a website in which its products or services can be ordered or at least enquired about online.
Websites can easily be adapted to suit the needs of your customers
You only have to look at the rise in restaurants that now offer home delivery to see just what a lifeline the technology has been during the pandemic. Having a website means you aren't putting your eggs in one basket as a business, since there are multiple ways people can purchase from you when they can't do so through regular means.
At the very least, you can use your website as a way of keeping your customers informed about how to access your services or any changes they need to be aware of. Some businesses such as beauty salons even sold vouchers for when they reopened through their website. This is a savvy way of keeping the business afloat when they were prohibited from opening their physical store.
Your business is open 24/7
If your website has been set up correctly and has a fast load time, then it can be viewed instantly on any device. Your customers can even place orders in the middle of the night if they want to! But this isn't the case if your website is outdated or doesn't exist at all.
Let's don't forget that being open 24/7 can be an excellent source of passive income too. For example, if your website earns revenue through advertising or affiliate links, you'll be earning that income regardless of what the time of day is. So it's definitely worth paying attention to your website to make sure it's reaching its potential, regardless of how you make money through it.
Social media pages are not the same as having a website
Sure, your business may be on social media, but did you know that the ownership of your pages actually belongs to someone else? If the platform decided they wanted to close your business page, it would be well within their rights. They also own all of the content you post on there. Plus, you don't get a say over the form or function of how your social media pages look.
Therefore, a website is the only online space that allows you to call the shots, including the ability to add features that will facilitate conversions. Everything from the design to the privacy of a website is in your hands, which is why a website is a valuable asset for any business or cause alike.
In such uncertain times like we experienced with COVID-19, being able to remain in control matters. So while it's always great to have lots of followers, post interaction etc - just remember social media is still no replacement for having your own website.
To sum up
Nobody knows what the future holds, which is why you must cover all bases where your business is concerned. Despite all the doom and gloom, many businesses who traded online thrived during the pandemic including various start-ups. Apart from pure grit and determination, having a fully functional website is undoubtedly the key to their success.