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Does My Small Business Really Need a Website?

“Does my small business really need a website?” That is a question many small business owners often ask themselves, and quite frankly, it’s understandable why they would ask that. For many of these small business owners, the only expenditures they deem to be “necessary” are the ones needed to run the business. For them, a website seems unnecessary and a luxury they can afford to live without. Some even believe simply having a social media page is all the online presence they need, or that an ad in the local newspaper with their phone number is enough to get customers in the door. Well, that may have been true in the past, but in today’s modern world, a business website is like the new business card – a must-have for any business – and don’t think you need to offer ecommerce to have one. A website providing searchers with information about your business and what you can do for them is much more valuable than you can imagine.
In this article, I’ll share with you 7 reasons why having a website is important for your business.

1. A website builds credibility

Have you ever searched for a business online and came up empty-handed? Not showing up in search engines (or on the Internet at all for that matter) can make some potential customers a little skeptical of your business. Is it a real business? It is a scam? Are they so small of a startup that they can’t even afford to have a website? These are some of the questions that first come to mind to consumers when search engines come up with zero results – all things you don’t want people thinking about your business! Having a website will most certainly add credibility to your business simply for being present online, it’s a simple as that. A well-structured, well-designed website shows potential customers that you are the real deal, and that you are ready to do business.

2. A website is an anchor for your marketing

Before placing an ad in the local newspaper, or start printing advertising material, you need a website in order to give potential customers a place to attain additional information about you and your business. Whether they are online ads, or stationery marketing materials such as flyers and business cards, or even word-of-mouth referrals, a website will act as an anchor for the advertising you do, online and offline. All of your marketing efforts become much easier to handle when driving existing and potential customers to one place, your website.

3. A website provides a medium on which to showcase your work

4. A website allows you to quickly and easily update customers

What is great about a website is that you can update the information instantaneously. Are you planning on running a big sale? Simply update your website and let your customers know. Did you recently complete a project and you would like to showcase it on your website? Update your portfolio and, voilà, it’s now on display for everyone to see. Below I have attached a screenshot of the Mango website to illustrate how they use their website as a tool to inform customers of a big sale.

5. A website helps you connect with new customers

Let’s face it, in today’s world, if you have a problem of any sorts, most likely the first place you go to to find a solution is the Internet. With a professional website and good SEO (search engine optimization), you will show up in search engine results and position your business as a solution for customers’ needs. This will expose your business to new customers looking for solutions to their problems. Furthermore, even if your business is a physical brick and mortar store, your website will provide an alternative location to sell them your products and services. This can be done by making your professional website an online store (Ecommerce) where they can make purchases directly on your website, or by simply providing these customers useful information that will convince them to come to your store to buy whatever it is they need to solve their problem.

6. A website has big benefits for local businesses

An argument many small business owners make is that websites are needed only by national companies and worldwide corporations. That is false and very much a common misconception. In fact, the complete opposite is true – having a website is a great way to connect with locals. According to a study by The Kelsey Group and ConStat, “70 percent of U.S. households now use the Internet as an information source when shopping locally for products and services.” Another advantage for local businesses is the fact that search engines often rank results based on location. In other words, if you’re looking for “clothing store near me,” Google won’t offer you some big, name-brand clothing store in London (unless of course you live in London). In a study done by The Google Mobile Playbook, 51% of mobile local searches resulted in a store visit, so it is pretty clear, an online presence has big benefits for small business who deal locally. An online presence will also give you a huge advantage over a local competitor without a website.

7. Not having a website was acceptable in the 90’s

You may know the hit song by Calvin Harris, Acceptable in the 80’s. Well, modify the lyrics a bit and you’ve got…
♫ It was acceptable in the 90’s ♫♫♫
♫ It was acceptable at the time ♫♫♫
That is exactly how many people feel about businesses that still don’t have websites today in the 21st century. Let’s face it, if back in the mid or late-1990’s, when the Internet was still in its early stages, someone would have asked me, “Do I really need a website for my small business?”, most likely my answer would have been, “Not really.” Fast-forward to the mid-2000’s, when the Internet was beginning to take off, my answer to that same question probably would have been something like “Yes, a website would be good to have, but I wouldn’t say it’s “necessary””. Fast-forward to today and the answer to that same question is, “Yes! You most certainly need a website! Absolutely!” (for all the reasons I mentioned above). In today’s world, people expect businesses to have their own websites.
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