There was a time when a business could grow through word-of-mouth, a handshake, and little sign on the front of the shop.
Good work led to more good work, and businesses could survive and thrive for generations based on quality service. Small businesses tend to have a “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mindset about their livelihood, or maybe they think it’s too late to change up the way they do business. One thing is certain, though: it’s getting more and more expensive to not have a website nowadays.
Not convinced? Here are 9 undeniable reasons every small business should have a website:
The Internet isn’t going away.
Remember the 1990s? Every business was hopping on the “World Wide Web” and the “Information Superhighway.” The onset of the Internet can be related to the music of the Beatles: hysterical enthusiasm from some, and curmudgeonly scoffs from others. After surviving the “Dot Com Bubble” burst of 2000, the online world emerged stronger than ever. It has become such an integral part of modern life that most American professionals can’t do their jobs without Internet access. Like it or lump it, the Internet is here to stay.
Print/Traditional advertising is expensive. And getting less effective.
Let’s free-associate for a moment. What do you think of when the words commercial break, unsolicited mail, and telemarketer are said aloud? I doubt any rosy images come to mind. More likely, you internally howled with rage when you read those words.
Print and traditional advertising had its heyday, but people have learned to ignore these annoying disruptions. Since the late nineties, traditional media has gotten less effective, and absurdly expensive. For most small business owners, it’s an unrealistic avenue for growth. In terms of price and return on investment, getting a solid website, accurate local listings, and basic online reputation management is the smart money.
A website establishes credibility.
How do you determine if a business is legitimate? If you’re anything like this blog’s humble author, you check it out on Google. That search bar can tell you a lot about a business. What does Googling your business say about your business?
Websites, listings, and reviews go a long way in establishing trust and credibility with potential customers. Amazing galleries, articles from business owners and employees, and engaging social media pages take it even further. A website is an opportunity to show that you’re an authority in your craft. If you’re not building your business’s credibility online, you’re hurting your business’s credibility in general.
A website keeps your customers informed.
Most small business owners I’ve talked to get the same questions over and over again. What time to do you open? What are your weekend hours? What are your specials? Day in, day out, until the end of time. A website is home to current and pertinent information. Anything you can’t fit on the business card or storefront sign can live on your website. A FAQ page, address, and hours of operation can answer customer questions before they even ask them.
Additionally, a website is a great way to announce special events, discounts, relocations, or any other news. You would be amazed at how much excitement and hype can be drummed up with regular updates and notifications. Keeping your base informed is a service your customers will appreciate, and one of the best ways to promote your business!
The Internet is treating small businesses better than it used to.
There was a time when big businesses dominated small ones online. Big brands had more authority, linkbacks, and huge clusters of professionals meticulously grooming the brand’s web presence. How could a small business compete with these giant corporations?
Fortunately, Google has been updating its local search services since the early 2000’s. A series of updates has brought more customers to local businesses, and the search engine has become more sophisticated when it comes to anticipating user queries. It’s hard to say exactly what the future holds for small businesses online, but if the past is any precedent, we can expect more advancements in small business SEO.
It shows customers who you are and what you do.
Perhaps your business is well-known in your area. Maybe not. Either way, a website is the best way to strut your stuff, and establish your brand. A lot of small businesses have a legacy of good work, and would benefit from a high-quality photo gallery. Maybe your business has a rags-to-riches story, comes from humble beginnings, or a strong set of values that inform every business decision you make. A website shows and tells the world the how, what, where, when, and why of your small business. Think of how much a storefront spends on making a presentable street view. Making a gorgeous and functional online storefront is much more cost effective, and just might yield greater returns.
It makes your business more competitive.
Us-and-them thinking can be divisive, but let’s face it: the competition probably has a website.
They might even have a good one. In 2015, GoDaddy commissioned the Redshift Research Survey , which gave some crucial insights to small business web presence. Of the website-owning businesses surveyed, 83% said their web presence gave them a competitive advantage over businesses without websites.
Businesses neglecting the online needs of the modern era are apt to see their sales slump. The vast majority of searches for products or services occur online. If you don’t have a website, you’re probably losing business to a competitor that has one.
A website is a 24/7 service to your customers.
A website is a resource for customers, and a convenient avenue for customer service. A lot of clients will email questions at all hours of day and night, as opposed to interrupting your busy work day. A good website has great content, and great content delights and educates. A website accomplishes so much more than traditional advertising ever could. In addition, between updates, your website takes very little maintenance.
Websites are getting more affordable for small businesses.
Necessity is the mother of invention. Operating a small business without a website is becoming unrealistic, and the spike in demand for web presence has spurred some incredible innovations that work on even the slimmest budgets. Small businesses often lack the budget to razzle-dazzle customers with a fully customized Cadillac of a website. Working with web developers, front-end designers, copywriters, and content creators to build a website is out of reach for a lot of small businesses, so companies are stepping up to make beautiful, functional websites work for small businesses.
In conclusion, getting a website for your business is a necessity, and not a luxury. Luckily, websites are becoming easier to launch, maintain, and promote. A website is a smart investment for the future of your small business, and perhaps the biggest step you can make towards modernizing your business.