We know that some PIs don’t like the idea of managing their own website. They’ve gotten by with social media profiles, a business email, ads in the yellow pages – adding a website to the list can sound like too much work. Not to mention, it’s an ongoing investment with its own associated costs.

However, websites aren’t just a bonus for today’s private investigators. They are a necessary online component of the business, something that will make or break a potential client before they even contact you. If you don’t have your own site yet, it’s time: Here’s why it’s so important.

Websites Allow Your Business to Be Seen in the Modern World

When today’s clients are interested in a particular service, they aren’t opening up a phone book or even seeing what companies have the most likes on social media (although that can happen later). Instead, they’re pulling up their preferred browser and Googling the service in their area. Those first few pages of results that Google pops up is how the majority will make their decision – and that includes those looking for private investigators.

If you don’t have a website, you aren’t showing up on those search engine results. Some websites may be more successful at returning results than others (this is where SEO and other tactics come in), but if you don’t have a site, you aren’t in the game at all.

This is also why it’s important to make sure that your website is ready for mobile devices. Many people prefer to search their options on their phones, for example. This may be particularly common if they don’t want their search history to show up on a home computer.

Websites Give Something for Your Social Media to Point Toward

There’s plenty of discussion about how social media is important for private investigators (we’ve mentioned it in the past, too). It’s an attractive option since social media is free, and lets you include most of the things you would put on a website. But it’s important to note that clients rarely make decisions based on social media profiles alone. When it comes to services like private investigation, they will want to see a full website before making up their minds.

That means service-oriented social media should always have something more official to point toward. Having a website allows you to link social media directly to information on your services, rates, and more. That gives people the confidence to move further down your “sales funnel” and toward hiring you.

Websites Can Showcase Experiencing, Licensing, and Other Must-Haves

Why is a website so important to those people looking for PIs? They provide a ton of information on your capability to do the job. Websites should confirm that the PI business is licensed and insured, and discuss past experience so that visitors know you are ready to do the job. They can also offer standard rates and fees, which is vital if clients are comparing different services. You can also use websites to discuss your experience with the local region and community so that people know you are familiar with their area.

They Offer a Round Up of Invaluable Testimonials

Every capable PI website also has a section for testimonials from previous clients (as anonymous as possible). Testimonials are important for all kinds of websites, but they are essential for PIs, where a good review can go a very long way to convincing other clients. No other platform offers the ability to provide these in-depth testimonials and quotes the way your own website does.

Websites Can Dig into the Details People Want to Know

Specifically, they can show the investigation details that newcomers may want to know before making up their minds. What happens in a missing person case? What if a client wants to gather evidence for a divorce? Is there a way to legally surveil employees? People first looking for a PI have a lot of questions. Your site is the place where you can provide an FAQ or a discussion on how common jobs work.

They Provide a Private, Easy Way to Make First Contact with a PI

People are often anxious about contacting a PI, especially if they only want a few details to start. They may not want to give out much personal information at all. Websites with the right calls to action and web forms can provide a safe way for potential clients to make first contact. That includes submitting basic questions, asking about specific rates, or setting up a phone call or meeting later.

Website Design is a Key Part of Branding

Finally, don’t forget that visitors will also judge your PI capabilities based on your website design. A neat, clear website that’s informative and easy to navigate will say a lot about your investigation capabilities, too!

Conclusion

If you aren’t sure where to start with a website, consulting an expert is a great step. Find an agency or web designer with strong reviews and ask them for a quote. You will usually get a swift reply about how much a straightforward service-oriented website will cost to design. Professionals can also explain the best ways to host and manage a site as you explore your cost options. As always, a little bit of research can go a long way!