Many small businesses, especially new small businesses, run a lean operation. They focus on necessities and urgent matters, only spending money when they need to. So, it’s easy to see why some entrepreneurs might think a small business website is a luxury item they can afford to live without.
A professional website isn’t an expensive luxury or a frivolous expense. It’s an affordable, fundamental marketing tool that every small business needs.
It amazes me how many small business owners I hear from who still don’t realize that most of their potential customers will visit their website before making a purchase.
In surveys, many business owners say they don’t have the skills, the time, or the money to build a website. But a surprising number say that they don’t need a website in the first place, either because it’s not required or because they use social media instead.
If you are still on the fence, here are a few compelling reasons why it’s important for your small business to have a website:
One of the main reasons you should have a website for your business is to increase your organization’s credibility. One way you can stand out is by having a website that looks good and clearly communicates quality information to your website visitors.
Probably the most common downside to not having a website is that people may question your legitimacy as a business. Having a user-friendly website that provides valuable information is a great way to communicate to your audience that you are a real business that can serve them to meet their needs.
A website not only helps small businesses promote and sell their products and services, but it also allows them to distinguish themselves from their competitors, especially for customers who rely heavily on the Internet to learn what they need to know before making a purchase, whether that is a physical product or a service. This makes a website one of the most important business assets for sharing information, building credibility and standing out in crowded marketplaces.
Keep in mind that there are things that can appear on your site that can quickly bring down your credibility. Make sure to avoid having these elements on your site.
- Outdated information
- Incorrect information
- On-site errors
- Spelling and grammar errors
- Old, outdated design or layout
Work with your digital marketing professional to keep your small business website up-to-date and functioning properly to avoid losing trust and credibility with customers.
Reaching thousands of people solely using traditional marketing methods like direct mail or print advertising can be very expensive and unreliable.
If you have an SEO-optimized website, you have a much better chance of showing up in Google/Bing search results. This means that when people are searching for a product or service, there is a better chance your website will show up in the results. This gives you the opportunity to convert these visitors into customers.
When you have your own website, you have a lot more control. Not only does it give you a home online, it gives you a platform to tell potential clients about your business: what you do, why you do it and who you are. Your website should be the anchor and endpoint for all of your other marketing messages.
In today’s competitive online search environment, content is king. Google is constantly updating its algorithms to better serve user searches based on “user intent”. Thus, it rewards sites that provide visitors with helpful, relevant content and a good user experience. This means that if someone is looking for a product or service that your business offers, your website needs to show up in the search results or you will miss out on potential sales leads.
In addition to helping attract new customers and retain existing customers, your website can also help you with the customers who fall somewhere in between. It can help you generate leads from prospects and turn them into paying customers.
To generate leads on your site, offer them a discount, coupon, eBook, or entry into a contest, in exchange for their email address and/or contact information. You can then “nurture” the prospect through effective email marketing campaigns.
This approach allows you to use your website to make a lasting connection with site visitors who aren’t quite ready to buy and continue to develop the relationship to get them to eventually do business with you.
A website isn’t just for finding customers across the globe—it’s an essential tool for attracting local customers too. Many Google searches are people on their phones looking for something right near them. That’s especially true of mobile phone users who might be looking for a store, restaurant, or other service while they’re on-the-go. If you don’t have a mobile-friendly website, you’re missing out on an opportunity to catch those visitors when they’re right in your area.
In conclusion, it is not easy for a small business to create a website on it’s own that is SEO responsive on multiple devices, easy to navigate and has consistent and on-brand messaging. Websites are, however, essential today for small businesses to enable them to compete and thrive in an ever-increasing digital marketplace.