This question has been asked millions of times by millions of business owners all around the world. Some will argue that they don’t need to have a website for their small business because they are satisfied being a small business, they want to service people in a personable way or some other answer that is repeatedly given as to why a small business may not need a site. But the truth is if you are small business in this digital age, you definitely need a website.
The good news is whether you are just launching your new business, or you’ve been in business for some time, it’s never too late to have a website created for your business. You may be still trying to decide whether your business will benefit from a website or not, especially if you are considering the initial cost investment. Although it is fairly easy to have a website designed and created, depending on the size and income of your business, it can still be a major investment. Is it really worth it? Do you really need a website? What if you’re going the traditional, brick and mortar route?
Even if your business is really small and you think your product or service can’t be offered online, your business can still greatly benefit from a well-crafted website. Hopefully, by the end of this article you will understand why you need a website for your new business.
If you have decided to go the traditional brick and mortar route with your business, a website will help you get customers in the store. How, you ask? Well, for starters, it lets people know where you are. Say for example, your business repairs electronics. When someone in your town breaks their computer, where is the first place they go to find a repair shop? Online. Unless people know you personally, they are going to do a search for the best provider of whatever product or service they are looking for. Without a web presence, your business remains virtually un-searchable to the hundreds of thousands of potential customers who are looking for whatever it is that you provide. Be sure to include on your website your business’ best contact information, including location, email address and telephone number. You need a website so that people will know where you are.
Your business needs a website simply because your customers expect it. In this digital age, it is unheard of for a business not to have a website. If one of your customers or clients were to have a specific question about your business, how would they find the answer? How would they find your business phone number? Would they have to come into your store every time they had a question and needed to speak with you, or wanted to place an order? Even take-out restaurants have websites and online ordering features. As consumers become more and more digitally connected and demanding of instantaneous service, the pressure becomes even greater for businesses to have a web presence, regardless of the product or service that is offered. You need a website because your customers expect it.
I’m not recommending that you put all of your effort into generating leads and sales online, especially if you have a brick and mortar location. But don’t write off the possibility to generate sales online. Today people buy almost everything online. There are about 20million online shoppers and they make all kinds of purchases, from cars to real estate, and much more. The online consumer market is still wide open, but you need to have a website to enter into it. Without one, again, your business is basically nonexistent. Even to customers who may live right down the street from you. You can very easily and rapidly expand your business’ reach with a website. You need a website to sell your product or service online.
Another added benefit is that your website is open 24hours a day, 7days a week. Let’s revisit this example of the electronics repair shop again. The college student who’s computer broke in the middle of an all-night cram session will probably search to find the nearest electronic repair shop, and what time they open in the morning. If you don’t have a website for your business, you lose the potential customers who have questions about your business when you’re closed. Having a website basically allows your business to be open all day every day. You need a website because it is basically a 24hr a day employee.
A website for your business will save your business money. Yes, there is an initial investment that you need to make to have your website designed, and you may also need to pay a yearly or monthly maintenance fee. However, a well-crafted website provides advertising for your company, with very little maintenance needed. Compare the cost of a website to the cost of advertising with other local media outlets like newspaper, radio or television and you’ll soon find that the cost of having a website created is minimal in comparison. You need a website to save your business money on advertising.
You also need to consider that your biggest competitor has a website. If a potential customer is trying to figure out which business is better, chances are they will want to compare the information you provide on your website. If you don’t have a website you almost immediately knock yourself out as a contender. You may have a better product, better customer services, better prices, and all around better buying experience, but if customers can’t compare you, they won’t. You need a website because your competition has one.
A website improves customer confidence and the overall image and perception of your business. Why wouldn’t you have a website, is the question a lot of people would ask? Outside of the capital investment, there really aren’t any disadvantages to having a website, which is the number one reason most business consider this a no-brainer. Your website will improve your business’ public perception, increase your customers’ confidence and in turn increase your business’ revenue. You need a website to increase your customers’ confidence in your business.
Websites are not just local, they are global. Right now you may only have dreams of expanding your business and having multiple locations, but a website will give you an immediate global presence. Worldwide there are thousands, maybe even millions of consumers who need the product or service that you offer. The internet gives you immediate access to all of them, without the cost of setting up international locations (or even multiple locations in your city for that matter). You need a website because it automatically makes your business global.
Having a company website will level the playing field between you and any larger company you may be competing with. You only have one chance to make a first impression with any potential customers, and even if you have an actual location, you probably will do that online. The good news is that you can get a professional website created that will project the image and professionalism of a much larger organization. Your company may not have the budget or staff of a larger company, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t look like one, at least online. You need a website because it allows you to compete with much larger companies.
You need a website for your business because you can use it as a way to build relationships with your customers. You can add a subscribe here button to your website to collect email addresses from those who visit your site and send out regular e-newsletters including specials, promotions, or other industry information about your business. Depending on your product or service, customers are more likely to use your services if they feel like you are knowledgeable in your particular industry. Industry leaders have no problem generating new clients and leads. You need a website to brand yourself and your business as an industry leader.
There is only one condition under which you shouldn’t have a website for your business, and that’s if it makes your business look bad. When you do get a website created for your business, you want to get one created that is professional, easy to navigate, and clearly expresses your brand’s image to your clients. If the website is taking away from your brand you don’t need that kind of exposure, especially on a global scale. When you do decide to create a website for your business, be sure to invest wisely in a professionally designed website.
When you have finally been convinced that your business does need a website, you need to do some research around professional digital media designers and what you should expect from the process. You should begin to create an outline of what is exactly it is that you want from the site so that you can clearly express that to the person who will be creating the website for you. You should also create a list of websites that you like. They don’t have to be exactly what you want for your new website, but this will give your designer an idea of your taste preferences aesthetically and help them to be able to design a website that is more appealing to you. You need to have a website that effectively conveys your business’ brand and image and makes your business look amazing.