Many business owners ponder on the idea of creating a website. Often times, they feel like they don’t need a website and traditional promotion is enough to bring in the business they need to succeed. However, That isn’t how it works, not nowadays anyway. You do need a website for your small business.
Here is why you need a website. Consumer behavior has changed, adapting to the technology that we have nowadays. The digital age has taken over, and now the old advertising methods – such as billboards and the Yellow Pages – have become obsolete. In fact, even the Yellow Pages has a website to help businesses promote themselves in a trustworthy way. That being said, traditional methods still have their place. That doesn’t mean a website is useless for you. In fact, a website is much more effective than an ad in the Yellow Pages. One of the reasons why this is true is because, while the Yellow Pages were once a staple in any home, digital devices and the internet have become household necessities.
The digital transformation that we have witnessed in recent years has enticed users to do their shopping, research, and service locating online. They no longer turn to billboards or ads in the newspaper to find local businesses that they want to support. More than 50% of consumers in 2011 were using the internet to locate local businesses. You can only imagine how many people do the same in 2020.
The bottom line is, if you want your small business to be discovered by new consumers, you absolutely need a website.
Why Websites are Needed Regardless of Industry
The day you started your business, you should have had a website made. In this time we live in, it is a lifeline to success. Websites do so much more than just bring a few more people through your doors, and within this article, you will learn the reasons why you need one for your small business. Without further ado, let’s get into it.
30% Of Shoppers Won’t Come to You Without a Website
With a well-designed website, you are giving yourself a valuable marketing asset. Thanks to the digital age, Americans spend over 20 hours a week on average online. Daily, users are on mobile devices for almost 5 hours. Honestly, these users expect you to have a website. They expect convenience in shopping and researching services. They hardly consider any business that doesn’t have a website, and honestly, they might not even know you exist.
People Are Looking For Your Business
The consumers are online; that is why you will benefit from having a website. There is a reason why companies from every industry invest in SEO (Search engine optimization) on their websites. That reason? Consumers are looking for their services/products online; SEO brings them straight to the website that they are seeking. That could be your website if you had one.
On Google, there are over 3 billion searches daily. Think about that, right now, someone is searching for you, and you don’t have a website set up for them to find you. You are a business with quality services or products. What you offer is life-changing to consumers, but you have to let them find you. If you don’t have an online presence, guess who is getting all of the business….. Hint: It isn’t you.
Consumers Use Websites To Engage
Over half of the consumers online will use a company’s website to engage with them. That is a lot of engagements for your industry that you aren’t getting. Where does this engagement start? Search engines. If you don’t have a website, they can’t find and engage with your business. They won’t be sad about it either, they will just go somewhere else. That is money you are losing. If that isn’t enough to convince you, consider this; Consumers consider three separate sources of the service/product they are searching for before settling on one. 30% of those consumers will automatically disregard a business without a website, regardless of what they offer.
Digital Website Content Promotes Commercial Transactions, Even B2B
The most common reason why companies refuse to get a website is that they don’t believe their industry is online. This is especially common among B2B, manufacturing, and industrial industries. Yeah, if you fall under that category, you are getting called out.
75% of B2B buyers say that a significant impact on their decision to buy is digital website content. Over half of those buyers finalize their purchase selection based off of the digital content of a website alone.
Nowadays, the average B2B buyer makes around 12 searches online before they even consider interacting with the website of a vendor. That being said, you should know that they are over halfway through the buying process before they even consider speaking to a sales rep. That goes for manufacturing and industrial companies as well. Digital content influences their decision to choose you. Half of the B2b customers to date expect the website of a supplier to be crafted in a way that makes it a helpful channel.
Consumers Judge a Company’s Credibility Based on Their Website Design
There is a lack of trust for businesses by consumers if there isn’t a website to give them the information they need. In fact, the credibility of a company is often judged on the design of their website. If the credibility isn’t there, then the business isn’t either. Websites are the first place that consumers check for credentials, awards, and reviews.
That being said, just having a website with this information isn’t enough. It has to be designed right. If the design is poor, it isn’t going to help you move forward in your industry. You have, on average, 10 seconds to make a positive first impression. That impression needs to tell them what they are going to get from your company and its website.
Basic Questions Need Answers
This reason has a lot of truth behind it, especially for B2B companies. People come to your website because they want to know/do something. They expect the gratification to be instant. That means you have to answer three questions immediately (within three seconds) of the consumer reaching your website:
- What do you offer?
- Is there a way to contact your business?
- Who are you?
The age we live in is the age of “NOW.” Consumers want the information they are looking for as quickly as possible. That is why the three above questions need to be answered instantaneously. They shouldn’t even have to scroll down to find the information they seek.
You Can Stand Your Ground Against Industry Leaders
You may think that the leaders in your industry are untouchable. However, that is not true. You can offer them ample competition if you have a well-crafted website. You can even beat them at their own game. Your website must be optimized for searches, though. If you are able to maintain a prominent position in the rankings of search results, you will have no problem holding your own against the leaders of your industry.
The Reach of Social Media is Diminishing
Just because you have a presence on popular social media (such as Facebook) doesn’t mean you don’t need a website. Every other business in America has made a presence for themselves using these social media platforms.
Guess what? It is actually becoming increasingly more difficult for businesses to gain a connection with users on these platforms. The organic reach is plummeting on social media. In all honesty, people are starting to separate from these platforms more than interact with businesses on them.
While you will see solid growth from these platforms, don’t rely on it as your only marketing channel. Especially since the future of social media is not set in stone.
Common Misconceptions Business Owners Have About Having A Website
Every day, small businesses are faced with the choice of having a website or not. There isn’t an excuse that hasn’t been used as to why they shouldn’t have one. This section is all about those excuses and how they are wrong.
Excuse #1 “My Business isn’t Big Enough for a Website.”
Small businesses believe that their budget just isn’t big enough for a website. They feel because they are a small business on limited revenue, that affording a website is out of their reach. This is the most common excuse that is made on the subject.
Put Simply: Your #1 asset for marketing will be your website. Opting not to have one is the equivalent of saying you can’t afford an LLC license. It is going to be nothing but trouble later if you don’t have one.
A website doesn’t have to be super fancy or overly expensive for it to be effective. It does, however, need to exist, and search engines need to be able to locate it.
Excuse #2 “I have more business than I can handle; a website isn’t needed.”
So you think you have more business than you can handle? Is that a bad thing? Is more business a bad thing? Face it! Bringing in business is your first priority in running a company. If you are overflowing with customers, you need to increase your presence and expand. There is always room for growth, and if you miss out on any kind of business, that is money lost.
Yeah, you have a lot of business now, but think of the revenue of having more. Think of the improvements you could make, the team you can build, the expansions to stores and additions of other stores you could have. In business, there is no such thing as too many customers/clients.
Excuse #3 “I know a guy who is going to build a website for free for me.”
While this isn’t necessarily an excuse not to have a website, it isn’t a good idea nonetheless. Unless the guy you know is a professional web designer with experience in your industry, you are going to get what you paid for. And if you paid nothing, you are going to get just that.
There is a lot that goes into optimizing a website, and without the experience or know-how, you could end up hurting your business’ potential for growth and revenue. There are several standards in your industry that the creator of your website needs to be knowledgeable about. Different industries will have different markups and components on their website.
Excuse #4, “Our Customers Don’t Really Use Computers.”
For starters, if you are saying this, you are wrong. There are no ifs and or buts about it. For starters, websites aren’t only accessible through computers. They are browsed on phones, tablets, computers, and other smart devices. There is probably someone browsing grocery stores on the digital screen of their refrigerator.
Your customers are online, even the ones you don’t have yet…. especially the ones you don’t have yet. You need to have an online presence to grow and succeed nowadays.
Excuse #5 “I’m not an Online Business or E-Commerce Store/ My Industry isn’t online.”
How foolish you will feel when we explain why you are wrong about this. Every industry is online. B2B buyers, people looking for a new restaurant, or any consumer really, is online looking for a business in your industry right now. If you run a warehouse for a manufacturer, you still need an online presence. Otherwise, how else will people know what you have in stock and what they can order? Moreso, how will other businesses find you to conduct business transactions?
How Costly is a Website?
This is the biggest question that businesses on the fence ask when they are trying to decide whether or not they need a website. The fact is, it varies. Sometimes it can be free; other times, it can be upwards of $100,000.
If you were to choose the DIY method of building a website with a platform similar to SquareSpace, you are paying a monthly fee to lease the space on their platform. However, if you invest in a professional website designer or agency, you could be spending a few thousand dollars.
Now, you may be thinking that the DIY method is cheaper, but there are other risks of doing it yourself. You need to know what you are doing to be successful at doing it.
Here is what you are paying for when you have a website built:
- Domain Name
- Plugins & Extensions
- Design Complexity
DIY Website Platforms For Small Businesses
If you decide to go the DIY route on building a website, you need to understand that not all design platforms are equal. There are, however, a few that stand out above the rest:
Unbounce- This is a great platform for single web pages and smaller projects. It is ideal for one-off landing page campaigns. They offer website templates that you can choose from, or you are able to build one from scratch.
WordPress- This is the most commonly used website design platform. They are very upfront about the ownership of websites, with a website structure that is very adaptable and user-friendly. You are able to make a powerful and complex website, a basic website, and even free websites.
Drupal- This is a platform that is a bit more advanced but works excellently as a WordPress alternative. This isn’t the ideal DIY platform for beginners.
SquareSpace- We mentioned it before because, for e-commerce and beginners, this platform is an excellent choice. When you are ready, you can transfer to a platform that is more robust. In the meantime, it is very easy to use. With this platform, however, you won’t typically own your own website. You will be leasing it.
What You Should Take Away From This
Basically, and simply put, paying for a website to be built for your small business is less costly than the business you will lose by not having a website at all. Without a website, over 50% of businesses in your industry are doing better than you. However, you can catch up and beat many of them by having a website designed for your small business.
If someone tells you that you don’t need a website for your small business, don’t listen to them. They aren’t doing you any favors with those lies. Even if they are proclaimed to be experts in online businesses and websites, they are wrong. Whether or not you are an online business, e-commerce, industrial, or other business, you NEED a website. Furthermore, it needs to be optimized for SEO.
While the cost of having a website designed for you may be intimidating, you should be more scared of the business that is going to your competitors because you don’t have an online presence. Having a website built for you is, on average, more expensive than doing it yourself. But a professional website designer/agency knows what it takes to make that website a success for your business.
DIY websites can be just as effective. That being said, they still require an investment of time, effort, knowledge, research, regular maintenance, and most of the time, money. You always get what you pay for, and your budget may not be big, but it isn’t a purchase. Having a website made, or doing it yourself, is an investment. You shouldn’t take that lightly.