If you have a small business, it’s just as likely that you will have a business website as will not. Clutch.com conducted a study that tells us that almost half of the businesses responding — 46% of small business owners (at the time surveyed) do not have a website.
Reasons frequently cited for not having a website range from cost, irrelevance to one’s business to lack of time or resources to develop one. In business as in our personal lives, it is easy to make up excuses. By not having a business website, you are missing out on new business opportunities. Our article is not to point out all the reasons you don’t have one, you can do that yourself.
Let’s focus on the reasons you must have a business website, no matter the size of your business.
- Develops credibility. If a potential customer searches for your business and finds only a Facebook page or a listing in a directory, they will discredit your firm’s validity. Ask yourself, what’s the first thing you do when you want to learn more about a specific business? You Google it.
- Establishes a digital presence. Think of your website as your beachhead in the war against digital anonymity. With one of every two searches happening on a personal digital device like a phone or tablet you need to be found in the interwebs. On your own turf. With your own website. With increasing numbers cutting the cord on cable and satellite TV, and reading magazines and other publications on tablets, your digital presence, prospective clients are online searching. You have got to be there where they seek you. That is with your website and then in other channels such as social media.
- Allows you to own your own publishing channel. Many business owners think that a Facebook page or a LinkedIn company page will do. Or that a Google Business profile substitutes for a company owned website. While you may publish content to the web on each of these channels, you don’t own the channel. Each may have restrictions or algorithms which prevent your content reaching a large audience. With a website, you can continuously add content that helps customers by answering questions and solving problems for which they seek answers.
- Allows you to manage your professional reputation. If you find your business in a tricky situation, being able to use your website as the first source of information related to your crisis is critical. While the news media may print your quotes or media release about the situation, frequently, they don’t have the room or space to quote all you may have to say or may relate what you say differently than you communicated it. Your website is a place where your words may be published your way.
- Provides a place for reviews and customer interaction. Allows your customers to share their positive experiences with your business. When developing a website, it’s not difficult to provide customers a way to review your products. Previous customer reviews are some of the most read aspects of a site. They provide probably customers valuable insight into how others experience your products and services. And if you’re concerned about negative reviews, realize that the occasional negative review is common and the majority of readers will expect to see excellent, good, poor, and bad reviews. If they don’t they won’t think your reviews are real. And most review systems provide you a way to screen reviews and respond to them, demonstrating your caring and interest.
- Provides a mechanism for applications, forms, or other materials customers or sales staff may need. If you have a warranty process, your website can provide the place where people may input requests for service, or replacement. Your sales staff will also appreciate the fact that a well-designed web form can help them gather preliminary, qualifying information required to help provide sales or service. There are many ways to gather and use data and meet customer requests via your website.
When people Google your business, do they find only a screen of directory listings for your business, or do they find your website? Wouldn’t you prefer that they find your website listing first and then all the other listings underpinning your own presence? Your pride of ownership is at stake, so, for heaven’s sake, get your own website, make sure it’s indexed into search engines and then use it to establish yourself on the web.