How Important is a Website for Small Businesses?
Once upon a time (like a century ago), the thing that gave a small business legitimacy was a sign displayed in front of a building. “Cobb the Cobbler Cobbles Hither.”
Decades later, a listing in the phonebook would become a crucial addition to the business location and signage. If you really wanted to stand out, you may even have an ad in the phonebook. People began to “let their fingers do the walking.” The phonebook listing allowed people to contact you, and the sign and building of course was where they could find you.
Needless to say, we live in a much different business world now.
Today, you don’t need a building or a sign, and you definitely don’t need anything in the phonebook (also known as a paper doorstop).
For many new businesses, the sole connection to the outside world is their website.
So, how Important is a Website for Your Business?
But, What About My Traditional, Non-Fancy, Small Business?
If there are customers out there looking for your product/service/information, then they’re probably using the internet. Without a website, they won’t find your business. Signs and listings simply don’t matter like they used to.
A Website is Your First Touch Point
Let’s say you have a building with a great big sign that people drive by daily. Even if a person drives by your business regularly, it’s likely they will check out your website first to see if it is worth stopping by. If a website is nowhere to be found, the odds of that customer stopping in are quite unlikely.
A Website is a Sign of Legitimacy and Trust
The vast majority of good, reputable businesses have websites. A number of shady, poorly run businesses do not have a website. If your business doesn’t have a website, today’s consumers will likely assume your business isn’t on the up-and-up.
Almost as bad, if you have a poorly designed, outdated, unfriendly website, it will turn some customers away.
A Website Levels the Playing Field for Small Business
Twenty years ago, it was pretty easy to tell how new/small/limited a business was compared to the big names in the industry. It came down to money and locations, something a startup could never compete against, at least initially.
With the prevalence of websites, however, a brand new business can look clean, professional, and established, outclassing competition that has been around for years.
If you’re in an industry or market that has great looking websites, you’ll need a great looking website to measure up. If you’re in an industry that has terrible websites, a great website can put you in the top of the class.
A Website is Always Accessible
Stores close. Workers sleep. But a website is always up and running, meeting the needs of your customers as best as possible. If you’re doing sales, then your website is suddenly a 24/7 store. If you make appointments, then it’s a secretary that never rests.
And even if you don’t do business through your website, it can generate leads, give information, and help people make decisions, all of which can result in new business for you.
Not Everyone’s Website Needs are the Same
Depending on what type of business you’re running, your website needs might be simpler than others. You may just need general, current information, some pictures, and a way to contact you.
Or you might run your entire business through your website.
Speaking of website features, we’re currently launching our online Business is ART University to help business owners learn how to succeed in their fields. Click here for more info.