As someone who spends most of her time online, I find it incredibly surprising to learn that many small businesses don’t have a website. ESPRESSO Digital and Clutch conducted studies on small businesses in 2016, and both studies claimed that about half of the businesses surveyed did not have a website.
Half! Why! The writer in me is screaming!!!
But seriously, the study by Clutch actually went deeper into why small businesses choose not to have a website. They concluded that the top two reasons were related to relevance and cost.
Clutch, however, also goes on to claim that these reasons aren’t applicable anymore – a simple google search of “does my small business need a website” will prove that there are hoards of people out there shouting “YES YOU NEED A WEBSITE!”
The answers on each of these sites make it clear that small businesses need an online presence.
If you’re still a little unsure about it, however, here are my reasons why relevance and cost shouldn’t be seen as barriers.
Reason 1: A website isn’t relevant to my niche.
Response: There’s a place for everything online.
Relevance is, of course, an important factor to keep in mind when creating any marketing strategy, but in an age so connected by the Internet, on which there’s a space for every interest, it’s difficult to think of a business that wouldn’t find a website relevant.
Sell puppy clothes? There’s a market for that online. Have some conspiracy theories you want to share? The Internet wants to hear it. Want to reach people who have an obsession with really small objects? It’s all online.
You guys think I’m joking, but the Internet is space that lets people from all over the world indulge and participate in their own favorite things freely. Why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of that?
Unless your customers are specifically people who are against using the Internet, it’s likely that you’ll have many customers and potential customers already using the Internet to find products and services. By creating a website, you establish yourself as a legitimate business and can strategically utilize the site for purposes specific to your niche.
Tips on finding your online niche:
- Consolidate your information. Your business likely has products, services, pricing, contact information, history – it’s likely that all of this information can easily be translated into a website. Websites are based on real information, so looking at what you already have can help you make the best decisions when creating your online presence.
- Check Yelp. Does your business have a Yelp page? There is a specific space on Yelp linking to each business’ website, giving you a unique opportunity to showcase your business on a popular platform. Checking Yelp will help you see what your customers are looking for, as well as who your competitors might be.
- Speaking of competitors: look at your competitors’ websites. It’s very likely that you’ll be aware of businesses competing with, or even similar to, yours. Check out how they handle websites and learn from their experiences.
Reason 2: It costs too much to have a website.
Response: You can create a website for free, right now.
I get that spending money to make money, especially in a place that’s as immaterial as the Internet, is scary.
It is possible, however, to create an amazing, engaging website on a low budget. The Internet makes it incredibly easy to create good websites: hiring writers and designers online is becoming easier and easier with a quick Google search, and platforms like WordPress and Wix even offer pages and themes for free – you can’t get any cheaper than that.
Some awesome free website builders that can help get you started:
- WordPress: great for customization, gives you many free themes and upgrade options.
- Wix: many free templates that are already structured for all kinds of purposes.
- Weebly: a very user-friendly drag-and-drop builder.
- Shopify: for business owners who want to get into e-commerce, makes creating an online store easy.
A good website is worth the effort it takes to create. It can help any business communicate with customers, attract new prospects, and establish expertise.
Are you an advocate for small business websites? Or do you still think your business doesn’t need a website? Let me know in the comments – I’d love to hear your thoughts.