Most people use the internet these days to locate websites with the information they need about businesses and services near them or places they’ll visit. When your company has a website, you have the opportunity to capture the spending power of these customers and control the narrative about your business.
Small businesses still need a website for optimal growth and to reach the most significant segment of their target audience, but there are many other key benefits to consider that make a website incredibly worthwhile.
The Purpose of a Website for Small Businesses
A website is an essential tool for a small business that not only performs some vital functions but also serves as a source of information about that business. Business websites should not only promote and sell your product or service, but they should also feature a strategic design to help your business grow.
A website also helps your business build credibility, and it’s an anchor point for many, if not all, of your marketing efforts that should drive traffic back to your website in the form of paying customers. A website with e-commerce can also allow a smaller business to compete more effectively with a more prominent brand in different markets.
You’ll also find that your website can help connect your business with new customers and preserve your existing customers. These days, customers expect companies to have a website, and when they use a search engine to locate your business information, they may feel put off if you don’t have one that looks polished and professional.
When you maintain your own website as a business, you also have much more control over what information gets released about your business to the internet and how your branding gets managed. Your website becomes the leading source for all information about your particular business, and that should include details such as:
- Your brand logo, color and fonts
- Easy-to-find contact information
- An e-commerce function, if applicable
- An “About” section
- Information about your operation and your team
- Your company mission or goals
- Clear calls-to-action to direct customers to take valuable steps towards doing business
- A lead-generating offer or incentive
You can include many other components on your site, but keep in mind that first impressions are everything, so the finished web page should be professional looking, well organized, and accurately reflect your business goals.
Small business websites are also an excellent way to sell your products online, and maintaining your website is most often more affordable than traditional marketing and advertising methods. These days it’s also easier to keep your website updated as many companies have emerged that offer platforms which allow business owners to make changes to their own sites.
Even if you have a social media presence, a website is something that your customers can reach on various devices without having to first sign into a social media platform. This accessibility removes a potential barrier that might be hindering your business from connecting with more customers and converting those customers into sales and revenue. Plus, keep in mind that your business profiles on social media platforms can be restricted or even taken down at any time by the social media companies themselves. On the other hand, you control all aspects of your company website.
The Drawbacks of Not Having a Website
In the U.S. and Canada combined, 88% of people use the internet regularly to locate information and engage in other activities on the internet. This percentage means that if you plan to reach a large portion of your target audience, chances are you’ll find them online.
When you pass on having a website, not only are you passing up the opportunity to control what information about your business ends up online, but you are sacrificing a powerful marketing opportunity that is relatively inexpensive or even free to use.
When you have a website, you can also collect valuable data about your customers and the visitors of your site, and this data can help you create more targeted content and marketing efforts that translate into revenue. In short, if you decide not to have a website, it’s very likely that your business is far from reaching its full earning potential.
Websites can also help you generate leads for where you can find customers and help you direct your efforts and funds in a direction most likely to yield the highest return on your investment.
If your business operates a brick-and-mortar store, there’s also the opportunity to have a website where customers can look up the products you sell online before traveling to your store to buy them. This practice is often called Webrooming, and small business websites are essential for enticing potential customers to visit and spread the word.
Many customers treat the internet like it’s the phone book when it comes to locating business information, and a portion of these customers won’t bother to visit if there’s nothing about you online.
Can I Build a DIY Business Website?
With modern website builders, many companies can build their own sites inexpensively and relatively quickly, even if they have limited skills. Keep in mind that many of these builders are closed ecosystems and anything you build will likely be tied to an ongoing subscription cost.
For more complex websites, you’ll need to consult with an experienced web designer who can help alter your website, so it’s more aesthetically pleasing, up-to-date, and contains all of the components necessary to drive traffic to your site. You’ll also want to consider if being found higher in search engine results is important, as site design plays a major role in SEO.
If you’re a busy business owner, there’s also a good chance that you just don’t have the time to sit down and build even a basic site, and that’s OK. A web designer is an excellent resource when it comes to building a custom site for your company, and they can help ensure that the end product looks polished and contains all the vital information necessary.
A small business website is a relatively affordable and straightforward way of setting up an online presence for your business and attracting customers. Since there are a variety of website builders available, any company can have a basic site up and running within a day or two for a small ongoing fee.
If you need a more complex website or a website with more lead-generating or e-commerce capabilities, you’ll want to consult with a web designer, as not all websites are something that a business owner should try to DIY.
These individuals not only possess specialized knowledge about making high-performing sites, but they understand how to convert your company image and goals into website design and content.
Since your website could potentially generate a lot of income for your company, it’s worth consulting with a professional to make sure you’re taking full advantage of this resource.