Does my small business really need a website?
I belong to several Facebook groups for small business owners and entrepreneurs. These groups are an excellent place for new entrepreneurs to learn from more experienced small business owners, get feedback on ideas, and ask questions. One question I often see posted is:
Do I really need a website for my business?
Here’s the short answer: YES!
Believe it or not, only about 55% of small businesses have a website. That means that 45% of businesses rely on a Facebook page, Google My Business listing, or word of mouth to bring in customers. In 2019, that’s just wrong. No matter how small your businesses, you need a website. Here are 3 reasons I believe every business should have a website.
Most customers (both B2B and B2C) start the purchase process online. According to Google, both B2B and B2C customers push themselves 60 -75% of the way down the sales funnel before they are willing to tell you who they are. Most people conduct 8 - 12 internet searches before making a purchase. If you want to be the one selling to these people, you need a website so that your products or services can be found and considered.
Although Google is ruling local searches by showing businesses in the local pack and knowledge graph, your business is less likely to show up if you don’t have a website. While a Google My Business listing is super important, it cannot substitute for a real website. Google wants to ensure that it provides results that meet the searcher’s need. It considers 200+ factors related to your website when determining the importance of your company vs. your competitors. Google wants your company to demonstrate expertise, authority, and trust. Your business simply cannot demonstrate those qualities without a website. Learn more about Google My Business and the local pack by reading this blog post from Moz. (Fair warning: if you don’t know anything about SEO, this blog post might be a bit difficult to understand!)
Websites establish legitimacy. Once upon a time, when websites were new, businesses put photos of their buildings on their websites to prove that they were “real businesses.” Today, it’s the other way around. Now, the first thing most people do when they learn about a new business (even if it’s through word of mouth) is to conduct an internet search. If your business doesn’t have a website, prospective customers are less likely to think you are a legitimate business. Even if they believe you are a real business, you’ll be seen as less professional without a website. This is because people judge things they can’t understand based upon the things they can understand. If you are competing with another business for a prospective customer and the only thing the prospect knows about you comes from their first internet search, you will be judged based upon the quality (or lack thereof) of your website.
I know that many new entrepreneurs struggle to launch their websites. Sometimes, entrepreneurs don’t have the technical ability to build the site themselves. Sometimes, new startup businesses can’t afford to hire someone to build a site for them. However, there are many easy to use platforms for building websites. This site is built on squarespace. I can assure you that it took time, but it wasn’t hard! (Their tutorial videos are great!) There are a lot of freelance developers who can help build a small site for a small investment. Your small business is worth it. If you want your business to succeed, then yes - you need a website!