4 Reasons Why Your Small Business Needs a Website
As we're building up to the 2018 Women's Conference in Maryland that I will be speaking at, I've been doing some research about the current state of small business marketing. After all, nothing wows a crowd like research results, and there are real insights to be gained. Which is why I was shocked to find a recent research study stating that 46% of small businesses still don't have a website. Bingo!
To some people, they may roll their eyes. Who needs a website anyway? But as a Tech Marketing professional and entrepreneur, I have to say - this stat is very revealing about the disconnect from technology and small businesses.
Sure, large corporations needs robust websites and every contact strategy imaginable. But a little small business - do you really need a website? The answer is a resounding YES!
In fact, I'm making the argument that small business need a website more than the corporate players. Why? Well, we'll get into that below. But before we do, let's look at why small business aren't creating and maintaining websites.
The biggest reasons small businesses don't have websites are...
No technology expertise about websites
It's too expensive and confusing to maintain
We've been doing fine/ok without a website
We don't have a marketing person to manage it
As the Founder and CEO of LN Creative Group, a full-service Tech Marketing agency, the answer I get the most is no budget and no technology expertise. It's understandable, actually. For a small business, having the funds to develop an informative website is usually last on the list and hiring someone (or an agency) to do it for you smells like money going down the drain.
However, we live in a digital global world. There are more reasons to have a website now than not to. If you take the first step, you may be surprised at how simple and easy getting a website up and going is. With off-the-shelf websites and DIY options nowadays at affordable prices, there really are no more excuses not to have a website anymore.
So, without further ado, here are some reasons why you need a website for your small business.
Your Website is Your Storefront to the World
Your website is your global storefront no matter what size your business is. Whether you're a professional accountant, selling home-made goods on Etsy, or a local restaurant, a well-done website is the difference between a new customer and... well, no customers.
Just last night, my husband Chris and I had a long day so we decided to order Chinese takeout. We googled local Chinese restaurants, then narrowed it down to places that delivered, then we checked out their reviews and website. We ended up choosing a restaurant with a good website, easy links to their takeout menu, and clear contact information.
All this -- for Chinese takeout!
This particular Chinese restaurant we ordered from went the extra step and actually had a website. We didn't order from them just because they had a website, but because they were able to communicate everything about their little shop in a way that built trust with us. Their competitors didn't have a website so I was dependent on their reviews and my own imagination based on a handful of reviews.
Inform, Educate, & Community
Having a website means you have the opportunity to out-perform your competition by building valuable content for your target markets. This means being a real resource to your target markets, not just selling them things. You're learning, growing, educating, sharing, and building a relationship with your targets. This is truly how to outperform your competitors.
When you're a small business, it's even more vital to build your community, crew, tribe, etc. It doesn't only have to be customers and potential customers. There is an online community for your small business and your website is a great way to inform, educate and build a community around your industry and business goals.
The New Buying Decisions
Buying patterns have changed tremendously throughout history. Today, you can hardly order Chinese takeout without first doing some research. This means checking out apps like Yelp, reading reviews on Google, and flipping through real photos taken from customers on Facebook. No matter what you're buying, our automatic instincts are to first research and read online reviews before buying a product. This is true for both B2B (Business to Business) and B2C (Business to Consumer) companies.
These new buying decisions means small businesses need to be even more careful and diligent about creating and maintaining a website. Social media sites are borrowed platforms. You want to stick to a couple social media platforms to help spread your marketing message, but you always want your own website to have full control of your information. Treat your website and branding experience fresh and don't be afraid to throw your own collected reviews on your website.
Analytics is the Yellow Brick Road
Remember in The Wizard of Oz where Dorothy must stay on the yellow brick road to get to the Emerald City? Installing Analytics on your new website will unveil the yellow brick roads to your website and business.
Imagine having the ability to trace back exactly where potential customers are coming from. It'll help you figure out where to target, and the results are always surprising. One of the joys about helping small businesses with their website through LNCG is showing them analytics results after a website is launched. So many small businesses are left in awe of where web traffic is coming from, and how many missed opportunities there were before without them knowing. So, do yourself a favor and get Google Analytics as soon as possible.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Having a website means you're now able to optimize your business for search engines. In a nutshell, this means using keywords on your website that will make it easier for people to search and find you. Of course, it is more sophisticated work than it being simply put like that, but the goal is to rank higher within search rankings - be on page one.
In order to do that, you need to learn about different SEO strategies and tactics. This includes finding your keywords, back-linking, guest posts, and more. If you're not ready for this step, don't worry. Simply having a website is already a huge leap. When you're ready to explore SEO further, there are plenty of things to do.
Website Creation & Maintenance
With the rise of software-as-a-service companies like SquareSpace and Wix, creating a website is easier than ever on a budget. On websites like these, there is a generous amount of templates to choose from. By applying custom made branding to these templates, you can build a truly compelling website now with as little as $20 per month.
At LNCG, we particularly love SquareSpace for its ease-of-use, price, and templates. Although we build fully responsive custom websites, softwares and apps, we also offer a smaller package for startups and small businesses on a limited budget. This not only makes it beneficial for you in the long-run, it's also an economical way to get your business up and going. If you're still worried about learning one of these software companies, you can always partner with a graphic design freelancer or an agency like LNCG to get you up and going.
There are so many reasons to have a website, and plenty of solutions to help you get up and running nowadays. Don't let your business be part of the 46% who still don't have one.