A useful guide

Why your business’ website has become even more important than you think

WEB DESIGN  |  6 min read

An Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) annual survey in 2018 found that 60% of Singaporeans go online to purchase or order goods or services. This number has increased thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic from 2019 to the present day.

And according to a study by Visa in 2021, 74% of the 1,000 Singaporeans sampled are now shopping online more frequently, 31% of Singaporeans made their first online purchase during this period.

This behaviour shift is due to the nationwide lockdown, safe distancing measures and personal safety concerns prompted by the pandemic. The study also revealed that consumers are more likely to shop at online destinations, such as online marketplaces and websites of local businesses.

All these numbers show that it’s time to engage professional website design services so you can take your small business to new heights. With a website, businesses become more visible to potential customers who have not heard of your business. It’s the number one solution for how companies can thrive post-pandemic.

Still not convinced? Read on.

Illustration depicting a woman optimising a website based on Google top ranking factors

6 reasons why your business can’t do without a website

If you don’t have time to finish the entire list of 6, go straight to point 5 (regarding social media limitations) and 6 (about AI-powered chatbots).

1. Credibility

A website can make your business more credible and trustworthy in several ways. It gives customers access to important information about your business, such as your contact details, product or services, pricing and reviews or testimonials from previous customers.

It also provides a professional image of your business, making it appear even more established and legitimate. Moreover, a website is a digital presence for companies to share their brand story and values, which can help attract and retain customers. A well-designed website inspires trust and confidence, which helps potential customers make informed decisions about engaging with your business.

Screenshot of Love, Bonito website home page featuring models of diverse personalities and cultures

Just look at how local brand Love, Bonito uses large, captivating images to showcase their culture of inclusion. In addition, their website is designed to be welcoming and user-friendly, with a filter function that enables customers to find products easily.

2. Accessibility

One key benefit of having a website for your business is the increased accessibility it provides. A website lets your business open 24/7, even outside regular business hours when the physical store is closed. This means potential customers can access information about your products or services any time, anywhere.

Screenshot of enquiry form pop-up on Qanvast website

Local renovation platform Qanvast uses a pop-up containing an online form to gather the initial requirements of a web visitor. The information is then sent to its interior partner instantly, without human intervention.

With a website, you provide customers with a convenient way to browse your offerings, make purchases, or contact your business. This can be especially important for companies operating in different time zones or with customers in other parts of the world. By offering an online presence, you can ensure your business is accessible to all customers, regardless of location.

A website can also provide instant responses to customers. You can automate auto-responses for customer service inquiries, which saves time and resources.

3. Marketing

A website for your business is an effective marketing tool to promote your products or services and reach a wider audience.

One way to use your website for marketing is through Google Business Profile. The service geographically tags your business to make it applicable to location-specific search results. Nearby customers may also find your business outlet when they run a relevant search on Google Maps. For instance, a “pet shop near me in Bishan” search on Google Maps brings up pet shop The Lovely Pets.

Even if competing with larger websites, you can optimise your website for local searches to attract a local audience. By leveraging the power of search engine optimisation (SEO), you can increase your visibility online and attract more customers to your business.

Screenshot of Google Maps displaying shops for "pet shop near me" search query

Using The Lovely Pets as an example, a search for the company on Google Maps brought up the website organically. Customers who click through can see the company’s Google Reviews and visit its website.

4. Social proof

Social proof is one of the 6 powerful tools of influence – as depicted by persuasion expert, Dr Robert B Cialdini, in his book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” – that helps you win over potential customers and build brand credibility. It’s where people try to follow the actions of others to display similarly accepted behaviour.

One effective way to provide social proof of your business is by adding testimonials to your website. You can impress potential buyers and build trust in your brand through testimonials. When visitors views them, they can be inspired to follow the behaviour earlier buyers.

Screenshot of Sasha's Fine Foods web page containing customer testimonials

Testimonials can be written reviews, video testimonials or social media comments. Look at how Sasha Fine Foods, a local grocery, adds customer testimonials to its website. The highly detailed praises on how the company had gone the extra mile to serve its clients could work towards converting a mere visitor to a customer.

Further, testimonials differentiate your business from competitors. Customers who see positive feedback are likelier to choose your business over another without it. This visibility can be critical in crowded markets with high competition for similar products or services.

5. Social media limitations

Why is a website better than just using social media platforms? While Instagram and Facebook are valuable tools for businesses to connect with their audience, they have limitations.

These platforms restrict the amount and type of information you can provide. On  Instagram, businesses are limited to sharing photos and captions. Facebook restricts text in ads or posts; the visibility and organic reach of the content you create within the platform are also throttled.

Search engines prefer displaying a page from a website over a social media post in their search results. Hope to take advantage of free search marketing? Website is essential.

Also, social media platforms provide a different level of control over the user experience. For most websites, companies have absolute control, including the design and layout of the site and the displayed content.

6. AI-powered chatbots

Screenshot of OpenAI web page introducing ChatGPT

When OpenAI’s ChatGPT was released on 20 November 2022, it took the world by storm. Such artificial intelligence (AI) driven natural language processing apps, capable of holding human-like conversations, could become the favoured tool for information searches.

In order for ChatGPT, Google Bard and other similar generative AI language models to provide answers to prompts given, they have to be trained using textual data acquired from Wikipedia posts, online articles, web pages, and other written content found on the internet.

Want your business and its products and services mentioned by AI text generators? You first need to include the information on your website.

Final thoughts

While we recognise it may be tempting for small business owners to take a DIY approach, hiring a pro to build your business website is better. Professional website design services can bring many benefits, including saving time and maximising return on investment (ROI).

Why? Because building a visually appealing and functional website requires technical knowledge and expertise. What’s more, if you use a DIY builder, you still need to pay for access to the latest design trends, tools, and software that professional designers use. The cost may be more than hiring a professional, and yet turn out less appealing!

Another reason to hire professional website design services is to save time. Building a website is time-consuming, especially if you are unfamiliar with the process. Hiring a professional frees up your time to focus on your business.

Finally, professional website design services can help you maximise ROI. A professionally designed website can attract more potential customers. Additionally, a well-designed website can help establish your brand and build credibility with your audience, leading to more sales and revenue. If you’re ready to boost your business, here are 6 of Singapore’s best website design companies for small businesses that you can check out.

Juliet H
Juliet H

Content creation & web design

Writer for several online publications including Expedia, Finder SG and The Peak. Worked as a copywriter for Seattle-based National Film Festival for Talented Youth. NUS Communications and New Media graduate.

Build (or rebuild) your business website on a strong foundation

Website structure matters, encouraging visitors to easily find relevant information. Do you know what they want?

Constructing these structures is our forte.

Let us know if you would like one created for you. Complete the form.

After we learn more about your business and industry, we’ll email you a recommended site structure – free of charge. You can take this tailored “blueprint for success” to any web developer, even if you don’t choose us. We’re glad to bring value to your company.

Sample a business website structure report (valued at $225)

Please hurry, we accept only 10 requests each month.

Note: Emerge mLab reserves the right, at our sole discretion, to refuse to provide this service to any person or business for any or no reason.

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