Why Does a Small Business Need a Website?

I recently had a client with whom I spent a total of 3 hours over 2 different meetings talking about a new website and all the elements the client might want or need.  From that meeting, I created a proposal with all those elements.

Now, I have known this person for 2 years in a professional manner (we are in a small business group together) and she has heard me talk several times about what a professionally developed website costs and why all businesses need a web presence.  But when she saw the the proposal for the project, panic set in and she asked the question I had been already answering: “why do I even need a website?”

I think the biggest lesson to come out of this scenario for any small business owner is to solidify in your own mind why you should have a website.  Talk with your web designer about what  a website can do for your business. When the decision is made to move forward, hold fast to your reasons why you started this journey.  Those reasons may include the following.

Why should any small business (even a sole proprietorship) invest in a website?
Having a professional web presence adds credibility to your business. This is just a fact of life now. The vast majority of people looking for goods and services are doing so on the Internet. Even if they get a flyer from you or you hand them a business card, their next step will be to look for you on the web.  The Internet is what the printed yellow pages used to be. 

What’s the minimum needed?
Your website doesn’t  need to have a ton of information.  It could even be one page, but it does need your logo, business name, answers to the 5 Ws (who, what, why, when, where) as much as makes sense, and it should have a CALL TO ACTION. This means tell your viewers what they need to do next – call you; fill out a form; purchase a product, etc.  And it must be professional quality.  Don’t put your online business presence in the hands of your nephew Johnny just because he took a class. Believe me, it will look like it.

Some Internet Statistics

  • 78% of the American population uses the Internet as of June 2012
    (according to Internet World Stats)
  • In 2011, Google reported 1,722,071,000,000 annual searches, averaging 4,717,000,000 per day (StatisticsBrain.com)
  • Online sales have grown by almost 6% compared to the same time last year, even in this challenging economy (U.S. Census Bureau)

While you mull over those powerful stats, consider these other reasons why you should
have a website:

  • People search the Internet for services and products in their area.
    You want a crack at being picked in that search, don’t you? Well if you want to play, you have to get in the game.
  • You have a product or service you can sell online.
  • You can use your website and blog to educate your customers.
    An educated client is so much easier to work with!  Of course tell them about your business, but also write blog posts on the latest trends or techniques in your business.  Offer how-to articles or videos. Even consider adding podcasts people can download to their phones or tablets.
  • If you don’t have a brick and mortar building; your website then becomes your store front.
  • With a website and/or blog, you can interconnect with your business Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts easily.
    This a very inexpensive way to increase your exposure on the Internet.

If you have read all this and are still wondering if you want to take the plunge into the World Wide Web, I would be happy to talk about your business with you and offer some ideas (our initial conversation would, of course, be free). Even if your business is new and you don’t have much funding, there are very affordable options to get you started with a professional web presence.  You can always grow the website as your business grows.

 

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