5 Reasons Your Idea Needs a Website

  •    Tim is a freelance business writer. He writes about the business of innovation, comics and genre entertainment on The Full Bleed.

Name the last time you heard of a great business idea that didn't first reach you through the internet. Having a tough time thinking of one? Don't worry, you aren't alone. Today's consumers shop and research online in increasing numbers. To reach them, you need an intuitive website builder like Weebly. Here are five ways Weebly can help you create a rich, responsive web presence.

1. Add a blog to give your business and your ideas a voice

​Your business is about you and your ideas. On Weebly, adding a blog is as easy as adding a "Blog Page" from the Pages menu and then adding author details, some design, buttons for social sharing and your first few posts.

Write whatever comes to you, but try to make your posts thematic. A civil engineer could add photos and details about new construction projects. A writer might post excerpts from the latest book-in-progress. A family doctor might share thoughts on how to calm a sick baby who can't yet talk. Use your blog to give customers insight into who you are, and why they should trust your products or services.

2. Include a portfolio that shows off your work

Weebly is a visual website builder in that it uses elements you can drag and drop onto a page to add content or features. For creative professionals such as photographers, filmmakers and chefs, Weebly makes it easy to drop in an image or video gallery to put your best work on display.

Or go further with extensions at Weebly's third-party App Center. Plug in the Testimonials app to add simple, static endorsements or go more interactive with the Testimonials Slider. Or, if your business is active on social media, use the Social Reviews app to gather testimonials from your extended network and re-publish them at your site.

3. Open a store to sell products and services

Unlike some more basic website builders, Weebly is designed from the ground up to help you build an eCommerce store. Just log into your site and then select "Store" from the top menu as shown below. Click and you'll be taken to a menu screen where you'll define everything about your store—from what you sell to what payments you accept, how you apply taxes and discounts, and shipping options.

Open a store to sell products and services

And because these features are native to the website builder and not provided by a plug-in, adding and changing your product and services mix is easy and immediately reflected in your site. Growing businesses, in particular, can benefit from this sort of flexibility.

4. Use forms and membership tiers to connect with customers and prospects

Getting sales is one thing, but recurring revenue goes to the businesses willing to invest in relationships. That means engaging prospects before they're ready to buy, and engaging customers long after they've left your store.

As branding expert Seth Godin writes in Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers Into Friends And Friends Into Customers: "Creating value through interaction is far more important than solving a consumer's problem in thirty seconds." Weebly has three distinct features for helping you develop long-lasting relationships with customers and prospects:

  • Forms. Weebly's Form Builder allows you to create a simple contact form while also incorporating drag & drop customization. Help customers and prospects contact you quickly, and for any reason.
  • Memberships. Give your most engaged and valuable customers a private-entry experience with Membership. Each member on your list is granted their own private login to pages and content you protect—whether it's a special report, a custom email address or a sneak peak at products in development. Weebly Pro users are allowed 100 members per site while Business users are afforded unlimited membership.
  • Email marketing. Other times you'll want the flexibility to reach out and attract prospects and customers back to your site. Email marketing via Weebly Promote offers a variety of ways to draw them in. From automated email campaigns to fully integrated lists that pull from other service providers or your own membership list, Weebly Promote is designed to encourage engagement with the people who matter most to your business.

5. Employ responsive design to reinforce your brand

Finally, make sure your website builder is fully integrated and includes a responsive design. The last thing you want is for a prospective client who's been researching your services from her desktop to pull up your site on her phone and find a cluttered, unrecognizable mess. Responsive design ensures that visitors get a clean, on-brand experience every time—no matter what device they use to reach your site—and it's built in to every Weebly template.

A website is a vital advertising tool to build brand awareness and sell your products or showcase your ideas. It's the most important resource visitors have when finding your brand. That's why it's important to define your values and mission early on and to be authentic and consistent in your communication. Once your site is published, these hacks will help you create a rich, responsive web presence in no time.

Ready to bring your idea to life? Visit weebly.com now to find out which Weebly plan is right for your business.