Whether you have a brick and mortar store or you’re working virtually online, at some point or another you’ve probably considered whether there are any benefits to having a website for a small business.
I’m here to say, yes, yes there are.
Now, I don’t just say that because I happen to be a website designer and I want you to buy my services. I’m saying that because there are just too many reasons these days where having a website is beneficial to just ignore.
Whether you’re looking for a way to find more customers, sell your products and services, or simply be able to connect with your customers in a better way. Having a website can make a huge difference in your business.
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Benefits of a Website for Small Business
There are so many reasons why I feel having a website can benefit a small business. These are just a few of my favorites.
Having a website automatically makes you seem like a legitimate business and your potential customers will take note.
We as consumers are constantly being bombarded with different businesses offering the same solution to our problems.
The services may only vary slightly. If that’s the case, then we have to start weeding people out one way or another. Typically, that involves judging them based on their online presence.
Think about it.
You’re hungry, so you start scrolling through Yelp to find a new place to eat. You’re craving Mexican food so you start cutting out the other options.
You’re left with two choices.
One has a website that gives information about the restaurant as well as has an up to date menu so that you can get a better idea of what they offer to see if it’s what you’re looking for.
The other place doesn’t have a website and the only menu you can find is from a customer photo uploaded six months ago.
Which option are you more likely to choose?
I don’t know about you, but my first choice is going to be the place that gave me all of the information that I was searching for.
Does not having a menu mean that the second place doesn’t have good food? Absolutely not, but it does mean that I can’t answer all of my questions quickly and easily.
And whether you want to admit it or not, that place not having a website makes you think that they aren’t as serious about their business.
It’s unfortunately just the nature of the beast these days. With so many people and businesses operating online, not having any sort of online presence can only hurt you.
Improves Customer Service
Let’s think back to that restaurant situation.
Say you have a food allergy. Nothing crazy, but perhaps you need to try to avoid too much soy in your diet. That can be a little tough these days unless you really know what you’re looking for.
Well restaurant one has their menu listed online. From there you can easily see what ingredients are in each dish. That allows you to make a more informed decision about eating there.
Restaurant two on the other hand, doesn’t have their menu online. That means that you have to call the restaurant or actually go there to look at the menu to find out what the food looks like.
Which one sounds like a better customer service situation?
A website can make things substantially easier for your customers to find their answers and make informed decisions about your business.
Makes Your Business Accessible any Time
We live in an age of instant gratification.
How often have you tried to contact a business to ask them a question only to get the stupid answering machine message saying the office is closed?
I’ve had that a lot and it sucks! Having a website solves the majority of those issues.
I’m not going to say it solves all those issues, because there will always be someone that comes up with a crazy, random question that you just won’t be able to anticipate.
Wouldn’t it be great though if new customers could purchase your products or services, or figure out more about your business, or figure out when you’re available at any time? Having a website allows for that.
Targets a Larger Audience
This day and age, everybody and their mama is on the internet.
A whopping 4.2 billion people are actively involved on the internet each and every day. Google itself boasts an amazing stat of over 60,000 searches every second! Can you imagine?! (Source)
Having the ability to get in front of just a fraction of those people can drastically change the state of your business. You could go from just casually working to running a full-fledged corporation in a relatively short time period if you know what you’re doing.
Having a website can help you get in front of more people thanks to the amazing abilities of search engines.
A Place to Showcase Your Work
No matter what kind of business you’re in, your potential customers want to know if you can actually do the work you claim to do. The best way to prove to them that you can, is to show them examples of past work. You website can thankfully do that for you.
Whether you’re showing photos of your menu items, examples of graphic design projects, or using your own blog posts has examples of your copy writing abilities, being able to showcase your work to potential clients is huge!
Most people will want to know what you’re capable of before they decide to trust you with their money. Your website can solve those problems.
Easier to Build Your Business
Do you want to know the secret to getting people to trust your business? Allowing people to find out what your business is all about.
Your business’s branding is so much more than just your logo and your color palette. It’s about who you are and what you value. It’s the messaging that you use and the way that you have dedicated yourself to helping your clients.
Having a website is an amazing way to bring people into the fold of what your business is all about. It gives your potential clients a chance to really get an understanding of who you are and what you can do.
It’s a chance to share your story and your message. That in turn will help you get more clients and even grow your team when you’re ready for it.
Builds a Stronger Relationship with Your Market
Another major benefit of a website for small business, is the fact that you can build better and stronger relationships with your target market with something as simple as a blog.
Though running and operating a blog isn’t required, it can certainly help you in many ways.
Not only will having a blog allow you to share valuable information with your readers to build up your authority and trust factor, but it will also give you a better chance of bringing in more leads by utilizing SEO.
The more content you have on your website, the more opportunities you have to get Google to send you new clients.
I call that a win-win!
Increase Your Authority
I’ve already mentioned how running a blog can increase your authority in your given industry, but there are several other ways that you can do that with a website.
You can do that by creating courses, hosting a podcast, or even offering seminars and workshops for your readers to attend to.
The great thing too is the fact that all of that can be online. That means that you can reach a larger number of people in a much shorter time frame than you could if you were only doing things in person.
Things like courses and online workshops can also offer you a chance to make a little passive income as well, and more money is always a good thing.
Improves SEO Rankings
Everything can be found on the internet these days. I mean absolutely everything.
Having a website though, make is SUBSTANTIALLY easier for your ideal audience to find you. It all comes down to search engine optimization, or SEO.
Having a strong SEO strategy makes it easier for Google (the largest search engine in the world) to understand who you are and what you do. Once Google knows those things, then Google can start showing your website to people that are searching for your services.
That can make a HUGE difference in your business.
Though Google can still show off your social media profiles and information from places like Yelp, it’s much harder to show up higher in the search rankings with only social media to work with.
The higher you are on page one, the better your chances of getting traffic. It’s as simple as that.
How a Website can Help a Small Business
In all honesty, it would be probably easier to answer the ways that a website can’t help a small business. A website can help a business in a way that social media and print advertisements never could.
Easy Access to New Customers
A website can allow a small business to easily access new customers thanks to that amazing SEO concept we discussed.
Your website will also give you a platform to easily educate your customers about your business and how you choose to operate.
It can be as simple as letting your customers know when you’re open or how to contact you, to something as specific as what to expect from your working relationship.
You can set up your entire on-boarding and off-boarding process directly on your website for your customers. Pretty cool, right?
Promote and Sell Products and Services
A website can also give you a really easy way to promote and sell your products and services. I am a HUGE fan of the work smarter not harder mentality and making a passive income falls directly in that category for me.
Save Money on Paper Advertisements
People want to know everything rapidly. We live in an instant gratification world and they want to know what is going on right then and there.
Taking the time and effort to print out marketing materials can turn into a nightmare really quickly. Not to mention the fact that paper advertisements can get really expensive.
A website will allow you to easily update your customers on what is going on in your business at any given time.
So much faster, cheaper, easier, and better for the environment if you ask me.
Learn More About Your Customers
Get a pulse from your market by asking your customers to fill out short and simple surveys on your site.
You can also get an amazing understanding of your website demographics by checking out the details from Google Analytics.
Find out everything from gender, age, country, and even whether or not your readers are visiting your site from a computer or from a smartphone.
Having more information is always a good thing.
Have you ever heard the marketing gurus tell you that you have to have an email list to be successful?
While I don’t feel like that is the only way to make your business a success, it certainly can’t hurt and having an email list has been proven time and time again that it is useful.
Your email list gives you direct access to your customers. If social media went down tomorrow, you would still be able to reach your audience thanks to your handy dandy email list.
Collecting email subscribers is extremely easy on a website. Much more so than other avenues.
Disadvantages of Having a Website
While the benefits of a website for a small business far outweigh the disadvantages, there are still a few components you should be aware of.
The biggest thing that people need to be aware of is the cost. While having a website does not have to be expensive, it isn’t free.
Sure, there are some free sites that you can use to build your website, but those options come with some restrictions.
Sites such as WordPress.com and Blogger.com do not allow for certain monetization options. That means your website won’t be able to make passive income for you. They also will add either “wordpress” or “blogspot” to your domain name. How professional does that look?
Purchasing your domain name and buying a hosting package are the best ways to ensure that you have a professional looking website with the ability to grow with you. From there it’s just a matter of learning the system and getting your site up and running.
As I mentioned before, there are free website options, but those are very limiting and will not be nearly as professional as having a paid plan for your hosting.
Your domain name is the unique URL where clients can find you. Think of it as the home address of your website.
There are different places that you can purchase your domain name, but it’s essentially all the same. Sites like NameCheap are pretty common or domain name purchases, though I wouldn’t suggest them for hosting. We’ll get into that later though.
Most domain names will cost you around $15.00 each year. That’s just an average, but you’ll pay that each year to maintain your address.
If you use this link, you’ll get 15% off your first domain name. Pretty sweet!
There are also different site platforms that you can use to build your website on.
Think of your site platform like the building structure of your home. You have your address (your domain name), and now you have to actually build it. That’s where the platform comes into play.
Some of the more popular drag and drop site options are SquareSpace and Wix. I personally am not a fan of these systems. I have always found them to be more work than they let on and they also are not as capable to grow with you and your business as they would lead you to believe.
I use self-hosted WordPress for all of my sites and all of my client’s sites. The customization and the functionality of WordPress is absolutely fantastic.
A WordPress site will also allow you to grow and expand as your business grows. Adding new information or completely changing things up is extremely easy. That is why more than 35% of all the websites in the world are built on WordPress alone. (Source)
Your hosting is where your website lives. You might have a street address for your house, but if you don’t know what city and state it’s in you still can’t find it.
For hosting, I strongly suggest SiteGround. Their customer service is second to none and the pricing is very reasonable for a small business just getting started in the online space.
SiteGround offers three different WordPress hosting plans ranging from $3.95 per month to $11.95 per month for new accounts that you’ll pay yearly for.
*Pro tip – Pretty much all hosting companies, SiteGround included offer a big discount for the first year then the price jumps back up for the following years. You can help combat this big jump by purchasing three years of hosting rather than just the one when you first sign up. That way you get the big discount for your first three years.
While the cost of setting up your website is not overly expensive financially, the biggest thing it will cost you is time.
You may be thinking that hiring a website designer is too expensive because you see that upfront cost and you panic. The thing to consider though is how much is your time worth to you?
How much do you make an hour working with clients?
How much can you get accomplished in your business or with your family each hour?
Now consider if you had to take anywhere from 50-100 hours to work on building your website instead.
I’m willing to bet that your time with your family or on other aspects of your business are more valuable to you than the time it would take for you to figure out how to build your website for the first time.
While hiring a website designer may not be the right choice for everyone, it is certainly a choice that I would consider you really think about.
And while I would love for you to book a call with me so that I can help you design your dream website. I also know that I am not the right fit for everyone.
And if that is the case, then I would be happy to point you in the direction of a designer that does suit your needs.
Are the Benefits of a Website for a Small Business Worth It?
While I truly believe that there are plenty of reasons out there why having a website can be hugely beneficial for a small business, I also understand that not every business needs one to get started.
Though having a website can make things easier, it also isn’t always necessary when you’re first getting started. Sometimes it’s best to build up a bit of a following first before you start going down the route of planting your flag in the proverbial ground and claiming your little corner of the internet.
If you’re just getting started in your new business, take a moment and sit back and really evaluate whether a website is truly necessary for where you are right now.
Having a website is amazing for a small business, but it may not be the most important aspect for you and your business right now. If it isn’t, that’s completely fine. If it is though, then I’d love to help you make your internet dreams a reality.
So, are you considering the benefits of a website for your small business? Leave me a comment below or schedule a call today and we’ll talk about it.
You may also like:
- How to Build a Brand Identity Online in a Saturated Market
- What You Really Need to Know About Setting Up a Website