This is the first of 3 posts we are writing on the benefits of, and the necessity for, websites for Irish businesses today, and how to get one. It is more important than ever for all types businesses to have a clear strategy for their digital assets, and to know what improvements can be made.
Based on the 2017 Irish Total Retail Survey 30% of Irish consumers expect their mobile device to be their main shopping tool in the future. The Irish e-commerce industry is expected to double in value to €14.1 billion in the next four years.
Websites for Irish businesses and why, especially a mobile website
The graph below shows Internet usage in Ireland from 2010 – 2016. Currently, 87% of households have access to the internet. One of the main activities of Internet users in Ireland was finding information about goods and services (82% of total individuals). Searching for information online about products or services they need is now the first action people take when they begin their search. When Irish consumers are trying to find information about products or services, 90% look online first. 85% of Irish consumers surveyed would prefer to buy from Irish sellers.
The below graph shows internet use by device across age groups. We can see that mobile devices are incredibly important across all age groups.
With this number of people engaged online, it is very clear that all businesses need to have an active online presence that makes it easy for customers and clients to find the information they need.
What does that mean for you and your business today?
An online presence can be broken down into a number of key aspects. A website, social media profiles and local listings. If you manage all of these well, over time your business will rank higher and higher in search results. Having a great functioning website attracts international customers and reminds local customers that you are open for business.
- Websites for Irish businesses should be mobile responsive – this is a website that looks great on all devices. If you want to see if your current website is mobile friendly, check here: Google Website Test. This will give you an indication of the standard of your website.
- Make sure it is fast – speed is everything for a mobile site. If it takes longer than 3 seconds to load you will lose 50% of the users. Source here.
- A Website can be small a cover page site or a large e-commerce site.
- You can use WordPress, Squarespace, Shopify, etc. There are loads of different options to fit every budget and business.
- Active and compelling social media is a great thing for any business. It also doesn’t have to be groundbreaking. Regular posts showing what is happening in your business gives current and potential customers an insight into your company and your personalities.
- While it can be daunting to develop your social media accounts, take it one step at a time. Make a plan to post at least once a week and plan what you will post. Over time you will build an audience that values your posts and engages with them through sharing, liking, commenting and reviews.
- Get your business listed on Google: this will get your opening times, map location and contact information listed.
- Be aware, this also allows people to leave reviews on your business. Make sure you have a plan for dealing with any poor reviews.
- If you are in Ireland, get your .ie domain name. If you have a .com/.net/.org make sure you are geo-targeting Ireland.
So you need a website? What next?
Make a list of the information you need to give users, and the functionality you need on your website. Start looking for a website designer/developer that will help you achieve your goals. You may be able to access an online trading voucher, which can cover up to half the costs of developing websites for Irish businesses. Find more information about the scheme here.
There are also loads of self-build options that are open to you if you have the time and patience, but stick to the core principles of mobile and fast. If you want to talk to someone about getting a website built get in touch using the contact form below.