In today’s marketplace, you have to have a website. Even ten year old Sally Sue down the street has her own website, if your company doesn’t have one, you are in serious trouble. However, beyond just having a website, it has to be functional and professional. You don’t want a jankety webpage that kind of works, takes two hours to load, and gives your customers a virus when they look at it. While there are many reasons to have a company website, here are five of the most basic and crucial.

1. Manage your image –

When a potential client is researching your company, one of the first places they are going to look is your website. Is it professional looking? Does it have information about the company? Does this contractor look like he is who he claims to be? Or, worst of the worst, this company doesn’t even have a website! While you may be a sole proprietor working out of your garage, you don’t have to look like it!

With so many templates and website builders out there, there is absolutely no excuse for not having a company website. Even if you are completely computer illiterate, you can hire somebody to build you a basic, professional looking website for a couple hundred dollars. Then, put it on your business cards and tell people to look you up. If you only sold one more job because you had a nice website, it would pay for itself.

2. Provide up to date company information

If you don’t currently have a website, than there are very limited ways for a customer to find your information. They can look in the phone book, (Does anybody even have a paper phone book anymore??), they can ask their friend who referred you, and that’s about it. So what happens when you change offices, or phone numbers, or email addresses? When the new phone book gets printed next year, you can have it updated. Until then, you have lost your entire client base. Having a website allows you to instantly update the most basic of information that is crucial to your business.

3. Keep your clients engaged

When you have an online presence, you have the capability to capture your customer’s information, and use that to keep them engaged in the future. For example, you own a drain cleaning company. Your customer goes online and schedules an appointment, giving you their email address and telephone number. In six months, you decide to put out a special coupon for previous customers. You could spend two weeks going through your old invoices trying to find customer’s addresses so you can mail them a coupon. Or, you could use the data that you collected via your website, type of a quick coupon, and instantly send it out to all of your previous customers. I know which way I’d rather go!

4. Generate leads

One of the more lucrative aspects of your website, lead generation! Granted, if you want to try this yourself, it will take a little bit of time and research to understand how to rank a website, increase SEO, and a bunch of other techy words that you don’t need to know right now. Basically, continuously add content to your website, and then when people go onto Google and search ‘drain cleaning’, your website will pop up. Post pictures of your jobs, talk about challenges that you faced with certain jobs, give customers advice, that sort of thing. You can get much more in depth with this if you want to buy online advertising, but that is a whole separate topic.

5. Sell your product

A lot of people assume that you can’t sell a service through your website. Wrong! While it is a little different than selling a physical product online, you can still do it. Let’s say you want to sell your drain cleaning service online. Your normal pricing is $175 to snake a drain, but you are going to offer an online special for $125. You can set up your website to sell your drain cleaning service for $125 if people buy it online. You get an email about the sale, they get a confirmation of their purchase, you go out and clean their drain and voila! One more happy customer. There are a few benefits to selling this was as opposed to selling in person. For starters, you get paid up front. That means that you don’t get finished with the job only to have a customer tell you that they will mail you a check, decide they don’t want to pay, or any of the other complications that often happen. Second, a customer commits to buying your service on the spot, before you drive out to their home. They know the price, they paid, and they are ready for the service. You don’t drive out to somebody’s house, give them the price, they change their mind, and you drive home with empty pockets.