Having a website for your business is almost a necessity to compete in today’s business environment.

An effective website can often describe your products and services, explain how customers can get in touch with you, have customer testimonials and in some cases sell for you if you have e-commerce.

With that being said, a website can be more than just a brochure and shopping cart for your company. Here are some alternate uses for your website that you may not have considered.

Online chat support

While a customer is searching online, they can often become overwhelmed with the amount of information that is being presented. They also might have questions about the ordering process or how to get in touch with your business.

This is why you may want to offer online chat to assist your customers. They can click on an application and talk directly with one of your employees. Not all customers want to call the store on the phone. This offers an alternative.

Video testimonials

Testimonials have traditionally been a great way for future customers to hear about the great service and work your business does. Have you thought of creating a video of your clients giving that testimonial?

Potential customers are often suspicious of things they read on the Internet. It adds to credibility if they can see the person talking and sharing about their experience. With free services like YouTube, it is easier than ever to put testimonials online and place them on your website.

Hubspot.com recommends that instead of randomly placing testimonials on pages, consider placing them on pages relevant to the topic. For example, if you have a testimonial based on your great customer service, place it on a service or customer support page.

Sharable content

How easy is it for your potential customers to share the content on your site? By using services such as AddThis or ShareThis, you can let your customers share the pages of your website on most of the major social media platforms or email.

Customers spend a lot of time on social networks, and if one of them gives a “like” to your page or “tweets” it out, all of their friends have the opportunity to see what was shared.

Make sure the great content on your website has the ability to be shared among the masses.

Just having a website to market is now the minimum form of marketing online. A large number of businesses big and small now have websites to try and acquire new customers. This means there is more competition than ever before. It is necessary to enhance your website so visitors will stay there longer and hopefully buy what you have to offer.

If some of these features sound like something your customers would like, make sure to implement them on your site. Technology is moving at a fast pace, so it is always necessary to keep up to date with the latest trends and uses for websites.

Kyle Hensel is the area director of the Savannah office of the Georgia SBDC Network. He may be contacted at khensel@georgiasbdc.dream.press.

Hensel, Kyle (2013, May 15). So you have a website: Is it different?Business in Savannah. Retrieved from http://businessinsavannah.com/bis/2013-05-13/so-you-have-website-it-different#.UZOdK7WG1jQ