Welcome to this series of articles on websites and websites localization. They have been prompted by recent threads on forums where business owners were wondering whether they should have a website and if it was worth it to localize it.
Here is the first article of the series:

 

Why is it important for your business that you have a website?

 

Whether you are just starting or already established as a business owner, you probably asked yourself “do I need to have a website?”. Then, you created one to follow the trend. Or you decided that you don’t need one as you currently has a constant flow of work.

Here are 3 main points as why it is important to have one.

Internet Presence

Internet presence

A website helps you to have an Internet presence. Consider it as your virtual office as if it was an office on a street, with a nice sign and a door that customers would push.

You can’t ignore that technology has exponentially increased. In 2000, 360 million of people had access to the Internet. In 2014, it represents 3 billion, which means +760% in less than 15 years.

In Europe, there is about 1.5 mobile device per person. Our phones are now “smart” and give us access to the Internet. The Internet itself has become an important part of our lives.

When I was young, I used to look for a word or an information in a dictionary or an encyclopedia. Now, I look for it on the Internet. So does almost everyone.

Back to your website. If a customer is looking for an English to French translator, chances are high that she would use her phone or her computer and type “English French translator” in Google. Every company that fits this description will be displayed for the customer to choose from.

If you are not there, well the customer will never now you exist and never look for you.

Having a website will allow customers that need your services to find you.

 
 
Marketing Hub

Marketing hub

Your website is your virtual office, but it is also your marketing hub. On your website, you will present your services and your company to help your customer decide if you are the person they need. Like a brochure.

You will also display your contact details so they can call you or send you an email if they have any questions, if they want a quote or if they want to hire you. Like a visit card.

With the help of a communication agency or freelance graphic designer or webmaster, you will craft an identity your company, your brand. You will choose a logo, a name, colors, typo, how you want things to be displayed.

A website with a professional look will make a good impression on your potential customer. Just like a well-crafted brochure or a well-presented shop front. It is a kind of virtual avatar of your company on the Internet.

 
 
websites vs social network profiles

Website vs. Social Network profiles

Do you have social profiles? You probably have a Proz profile, maybe a LinkedIn one, even Facebook or Twitter. Maybe you have an About.me page too.

While it is a very good start, there are a few issues:

  • The profiles are not homogenous: different colors, different display. You must ensure that everything is similar on every platform: profile picture, cover picture, presentation text, etc.
  • One day, they may disappear, so will your profile. Imagine that suddenly, Facebook is shut down. If you relied only on it, you will loose everything.
  • You actually may use only one or two of them and did not update the others for month. If someone find one of your abandoned profile, they will think that you are probably not there anymore, so they will look for someone on that same platform that has an up to date profile.

With your website, you can centralize all your communication and then dispatch it on all your social profiles. Provided you put a link to your website on your profile, the customer may click on it to find more information.

If you mentioned other social networks on your website, they may check them too. If the information is up to date at least on your website and your most use social network, your customer will know that you are still there, which is a good sign.

Due to the uncertainty of their longevity, you must see social profiles as a net to attract customers to your website where all the information you want them to know is, instead of relying on them to act as your website.

A company that only have social profiles and no other proof of existence, such as a website, does not inspire trust.

Social profiles ae free while you have to pay a host service provider for your website to exist online.

It is the same has using a free Gmail address for your business communications and using an e-mail address with your company’s name as domain name (e.g. contact@mycompanysname.com).

 
 
Have a website

So, why is it important to have a website?

A website gives a more “solid” and tangible proof that your company really exists. It allows you to manage all your communication and brand identity in one place.

Social networks are only used as tools to attract and to get in touch with the right customers. See them as road signs that show your customers what road they must follow to find you (the shorter the better).

In a world more connected to virtuality than ever, it allows you to exist in that virtuality. Because that’s where your customers will look for you.

In the next blog post, I will talk about the best multilingual plugins for your website, and those to avoid at all cost!

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