Firstly, we’d like to congratulate you on having a business. That in and of itself is a terrific feat and we wish you the very best in growing it to be strong and profitable.
The question you’re asking is one we do hear a lot and is even asked a lot on Google, “Do I need a website for my business in Ghana?”
Whilst the answer to that question would depend on a few factors like your target market and your industry, the truth of the matter is that almost every single business in Ghana can benefit from having a website.
That’s just how useful websites are.
It doesn’t even have to be an expensive website, it just has to be one that serves its purpose really well.
If you want to get the maximum benefit out of anything, you need to know why that thing exists. Once you do, you’ll then know how your website can benefit your business.
Here are the 8 reasons why you should have a website for your business in Ghana:
To make your customers happy
The very first reason why you need a website is because your business exists to serve your customer first, not you.
You have to put yourself into the shoes of both your potential and existing customers. If you do, you’ll realize that people only do business with people they trust.
And the way to build trust is through honesty and multiple interactions. A potential client will need to seek information from you to clarify any of their fears and doubts about doing business with you and your website can alleviate lots of those fears.
When a potential client visits your website and they can find the answers to the questions they have, you automatically begin to win their trust without lifting a finger. They soon want to work with you.
Your future clients will trust you more when they can:
- Find answers to frequently asked questions about your product or service.
- Read reviews by past and present clients who have used your services.
- Find your physical address if needed.
- Find your contact information in case they need to reach you via phone or email.
- See any awards you’ve won and why you’re the best company to work with.
- See any partners or brands that you’ve worked with.
- Can get educated by you personally on various problems and benefits that your products and services provide.
And a whole lot more. One of the reasons why international businesses are respected and trusted is because their websites are goldmines of information. They are open, honest and truthful, showing customers that they have nothing to hide.
You should also show your customers that you are 100% transparent and on their side to help them solve their problem by providing them all the information they need to alleviate their fears of doing business with you.
Free Advertising and Exposure
Building a business is not easy work, no matter the industry. And that’s why to succeed, you need all the help you can get.
Many businesses fail because they weren’t successful at marketing. In other words, they couldn’t get their business in front of the right people willing to patronise their service.
One of the main sources of exposure or marketing is to pay money for advertising. Many businesses pay big bucks each month to advertise on various platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc, to help increase the awareness of their business.
The problem with advertising though is that the day you run out of money, your advertising stops immediately. And once your advertising or marketing efforts stop, you could be on a downward spiral towards bankruptcy unless you find another way to get exposure.
But did you know that if you have a website, you can get absolutely free exposure via search engines like Google?
There are almost 8 billion searches performed every day on Google. Out of those 8 billion searches, there is a significant fraction looking for the very thing that you sell.
All you need to do is position your website in the eyes of Google as the most trustworthy website when it comes to your product or your service, and Google will be HAPPY to rank you as number one for those queries and send free traffic your way.
Is this traffic significant? Yes, it is!
A website like GhanaWeb.com sells advertising. To sell advertising, they have to display information, news and entertainment that people want. They have done this successfully and because of that, Google sends them traffic that is worth over $574,700 each and every month.
GhanaWeb.com gets to save almost this amount each year in money they don’t have to spend on advertising because they are basically getting FREE ADVERTISING from Google.
What would your business look like if you were getting $5,000, $10,000 or $20,000 a month of free advertising from Google?
You’ll never know without having a well optimized website that ranks highly in Google. You can’t achieve this with an Instagram or Facebook page.
Having a website automatically enables you rank much better in search engines like Google. That leads to free exposure for you. Many potential clients and customers simply started out by searching for what they wanted on Google. And if it’s your website that comes up and you have what they want, that’s almost a guaranteed sale for you.
You’ll never know how many deals you’ve lost because the email you sent came from email@example.com.
Did you know that there are various services you cannot even sign up for if you are using a generic email address like Gmail or Yahoo?
For example, a service like Hubspot, used by thousands of companies around the world, has a blacklist of 4,752 domains of free email providers, including Gmail, Yahoo, Zoho, Hotmail, Outlook, and more.
If your business uses a free email service for business, not only might your emails be labeled as spam and filtered out of inboxes, but you might even be blocked when signing up for offers and services.
For other services, signing up with a free email service automatically increases your fraud score and the possibility a transaction you are undertaking might fail.
Because free email accounts can be opened by anyone in just a few minutes at no cost, it can be difficult to guarantee you’re dealing with a serious and established business rather than just a hobbyist or worse, a fraudster.
But let’s talk about the free exposure you also get with email accounts under your business domain name.
Find Your Perfect Domain
We for example, whenever we receive emails from businesses with custom emails, we quickly go and check out their website to find more information about who they are and what they do.
Not only is it much easier to identify if the company is genuine, but it also helps us trust them more because they have invested in their business and their brand to project a professional look.
So guess what it looks like when you check out a company’s domain name and there is no website there at all, only some generic information or advertising like the below page.
If you want to send emails with confidence and gain the trust of your potential customers and clients, having email accounts under your own domain name is important, alongside a website where customers can learn more about you.
Many people sometimes suggest that their clients are not online, or are only on Instagram and Facebook, so they don’t need a website.
Let’s assume that is true for now. What you might miss out on though is every single customer who has a relative outside the country.
Outside of Ghana (and even inside also), people know the power of Google. Anywhere they want to go, anything they want to do, they ask Google.
So here’s a true story for you. A client found out that a certain group of photographers seem to get many of the big, juicy wedding photography contracts that happen in Ghana. Why?
Because the people who hire them for the jobs (a Ghanaian living abroad coming home to have his wedding for example), will search online about wedding photographers in Ghana. Those who pop up first in Google search are those who have paid attention to Google and they are the ones who get the contracts.
How many customers and contracts have you lost because a Ghanaian abroad or a foreigner planning their trip online didn’t discover you through your website or Google, but rather found your competitor?
And if you think this only applies to people outside Ghana, you should think again because there are a lot of expatriates, foreigners, residents, and many regular Ghanaians who turn to Google first for almost everything they’re looking for.
In the 20th century, when people needed to find a business or a service, they either asked a friend or looked through the phone book.
In this 21st century, the digital age, we now rather turn to Google.
If you have a website, you’ll be more easily found on Google. But if you don’t, it can feel like you don’t even exist.
It’s really ‘not cool’ to have potential clients and customers of yours go to your supposed domain only to find out that there’s nothing there.
How many times have we seen a company mislead about the existence of their website? Hundreds of times! They put a website address in their Facebook or Instagram bio, or they display their website address on their stationery, signboards, branded bags, t-shirts, etc.
You click the link or go to the domain to learn more about this business that just caught your eye only to find out that they surely do not have a website.
That sadly does not exude confidence. It rather blatantly displays a disregard for accuracy and professionalism.
And if the business can be sloppy with their own brand and how it’s handled, what stops them from being sloppy with the product or service they’ll be delivering to you?
“But most people in my industry don’t have or need websites!”
Whilst that is a nice opinion to have, it might not be accurate.
The one or two people who do have websites in your industry may end up mopping up all the customers who were searching on Google.
The one or two people who do have websites in your industry might get featured or mentioned in an article that ends up bringing them new customers.
The one or two people who do have websites in your industry might end up being the only people some rich potential clients will consider dealing with because they came across as more professional and serious.
The one or two people who do have websites in your industry may be the only businesses that might actually be enjoying their business without being stressed because their website is helping them run their business more smoothly.
There is no automatic correlation that those who have websites succeed whilst those who don’t fail. That’s certainly not the case.
What we are saying though is that succeeding in business in Ghana is hard enough as it is and so you need to consider every valuable advantage you can gain.
And one of those advantages might be projecting a more professional brand with a lovely website when everyone else in your industry is choosing not to.
Automation and Systems
A website can do so much along the lines of making your business run smoother and simplifying your life. There are businesses that spend hours and hours having to respond to clients via DMs, comments, WhatsApp messages and phone calls asking one simple question over and over and over and over and over again, “How much?”
Or consider the businesses that lose money every day because when adding up the order, they made a mistake, or used the wrong delivery rate for the order.
What about the businesses that frustrate clients and customers because after placing the order and waiting for it to be delivered, they were now informed that one or two of the items they ordered are no longer in stock.
Should I continue?
There are lots and lots of businesses out there who have to manually draw up a receipt or invoice when clients place orders? Many times also having to send them manually?
And what about business owners who at the end of the year have to scramble to find out exactly how much in sales they actually made because they can’t find all the records of orders that were made that year.
What about the businesses that have lost sales because they lost a client number and could never get in contact with them again? Or business owners who lost their phones and instantly lost their entire client database?
I’m sure you get the point, right? But alas, I continue.
We know of businesses that were dealt a severe and lethal blow to the head when their pages on Instagram suddenly and unexpectedly got blocked or banned and so they lost years of chats and communications, years of order data, thousands of client contacts, images and videos.
And how many businesses have the data available and accessible to help them run their business better regarding their best months, their best products, their best categories, the average order amount per customer, the average number of times customers buy from them, the platforms that send them the most profitable customers, etc.
And we’ll end with the last point with respect to the number of businesses that waste so much time each day waiting for clients to pay them, waiting for clients to confirm that they’ve paid them, waiting for clients to look for a mobile money vendor, waiting for clients to top up their payments because they left out delivery or service charge fees, waiting for clients to confirm their addresses, waiting for clients to clarify their orders, waiting for clients to remember to pay them, and on and on.
Whilst that seems like a long list, it’s generally just a small fraction of the problems that can be automated in a business to make it run smoother and more efficiently.
The more human beings are involved with a process, the more errors are introduced into that process.
But with a website, the rate of human errors reduce significantly, allowing you to focus on the other parts of your business.
We have a terrific article here on how to increase sales online through your website if you’d like to learn how to get more customers shopping and buying through your site.
Effective Advertising and Analytics
Almost every business runs paid advertising at one point in time or another. And nowadays, more and more of that advertising is on various online platforms.
One of the single most important factors in running very effective advertising online is the use of a website as the asset that holds all your advertising efforts together.
Without a website, you are most likely going to waste more than 50% of your advertising dollars because you won’t be able to track your customers, retarget ads to them, identify potential customers similar to your existing customers, and a whole lot more.
If you have a website and people are purchasing your items, it is very easy to find out valuable data like:
- Which advertising platform is bringing you the most visitors.
- Which platform is bringing you the most customers.
- Which platform is bringing you the most valuable or high paying customers so you invest more money there.
- How much each customer is costing you.
- How many times a customer visits you or comes in contact with you before buying.
- How many people actually took an interest in your offer.
- What products or services people are checking out the most.
You can see how valuable this data is and why you need it for your business too. But there’s more.
There is an advertising technique called remarketing (or sometimes interchanged with retargeting) that is almost ubiquitous among expert digital marketers .
This is when you are able to reach a customer who has already expressed interest in your products or services multiple times.
The truth of business is that the first time someone sees you is most times never going to lead to a sale. They have to see you 5, 10 or even 20 times before they now decide to pull the trigger and make that purchase.
But how do you get in front of a potential client 20 times? Via remarketing and the only way to do this effectively is with a website.
Imagine someone visiting your website because they were recommended by a friend. You can ensure that when they visit Instagram or Facebook, they get an ad showing them some of your best customers.
They pass by YouTube, and they get to see a video of people happily using your product. They go browsing on the Internet, and at just the right times, they get an ad showing on a popular website about a sale on your website.
By seeing you multiple times, it helps increase the trust they have in your business, making them more comfortable to actually buy from you.
Without a website, such a customer may never come across you again.
Maintain permanent access to your customers
The last but not least reason we’ll mention has to do with ensuring that you aren’t working for nothing, and building a castle in the air.
How many people do you know who have had their pages shut down on Facebook or Instagram?
How many times have you heard people complain on various platforms that they are no longer able to reach their followers?
Whenever someone provides you something for free, there’s always a catch. Facebook and Instagram provided pages on their platform for free for businesses.
The promise was that all you have to do is gather a following and you’ll be able to communicate with that following for free forever.
Overnight, it looked like websites were no longer useful and that the future was having a page on Facebook or Instagram.
But that didn’t last. Over the years, the ability to reach new people, and even just your own followers on these platforms has been dropping and dropping and dropping and dropping.
Did you know that if you have 1,000 followers on Facebook, your posts won’t be seen by more than 20 of them?
And that was as at 2016!! Now it’s almost reached the point that if you do not pay money for their boost and promote products, you can almost forget about reaching your followers.
Not only that, but every day, they are coming up with new rules out of the blue. “You can’t say this, you can’t say that. You can’t tag this person. You can’t talk about that person. You can’t sell this, you can’t advertise that.”
And what happens if you do? Your reach evaporates, you get suspended, you get blocked and you even get banned permanently.
This ought not to be but it is the case when you “build your house on someone else’s land”, you sign up to terms and conditions that can be almost ridiculous.
They have the absolute right to kick you off their platform with not so much as even a warning or a reason. Years, and even decades of hardwork might go up in smoke in that moment.
That’s why you should rather invest in what you do own which can’t be taken away from you by anybody. Things that revolve around your website, things which are yours and nobody else’s.
You can ensure to keep your domain name. You will own your website design. If you don’t like your hosting platform, you can transfer your website to hundreds of other hosting platforms.
Find Your Perfect Domain
You’ll have what is known as an owned audience. This is an audience which you have curated yourself and can reach them whenever you need to, be that via an email blast or newsletter, or via phone numbers, etc.
This is how businesses are established! This is how businesses grow big and strong. When you can control your own destiny with your own assets and are not beholden to anyone who might have interests that are at odds with your business goals.
Here is some advice from John Nemo again:
This is just an overview of some of the most valuable reasons why every business in Ghana should have a website and work on making sure it’s a great one.
Great websites don’t have to be expensive though. Whilst you can even have a website for free, you can also get professional websites designed for you at a great price.
One thought we’d like to leave you with regarding your business website and websites in Ghana in general is the fact that as Ghanaians, we have to put in the work.
It can be disheartening many times to search on Google for information on let’s say, “Do I need a website for my business?” and all you come across are foreign articles written for people in America, India or the United Kingdom.
That happens only because it’s the people in America, India or wherever else who are meticulously documenting and explaining the reasons why, in their own words and on their own websites.
If we want to find answers to the problems we have in Ghana, we need more people answering those questions on their own websites, adding to the body of knowledge available to all Ghanaians everywhere.