Hey! I’m Marissa, a freelance web designer and digital marketer. I love working with clients to take the overwhelm out of getting their business online. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my blog!
Why does your small business need a website?
Congratulations, you’ve started a small business! After careful consideration, planning, and budgeting, the time and energy, blood, sweat, and tears, all your hard work has paid off! Whether you’re a local coffee shop, a boutique recording studio, or a swim school for babies, you did it. You are now a proud business owner! So what comes next?
Seriously, What’s Next?
Chances are, if you’re opening a small business, you’ve already thought about a website. And why not? Every other business seems to have one. But, no doubt, you have concerns. Between the time, the cost, the energy, and the risk, is it even worth it?
In short? Yes.
There are numerous reasons why a website is integral to a small business, and the pros far outweigh the cons. But what exactly tips the scale?
Everyone Is Online
Of course not everyone! But a majority of the planet uses the internet in some capacity. A 2016 study noted that 92.6% of the UK population is online. That means there are many eyes that might view your business; eyes belonging to potential customers and clients.
And while time online is largely spent streaming, surfing, of scrolling, many spend it researching products and services. In the past, most ads were on TV or in print, but a majority are now delivered online. Although this can be in the form of pop-ups, banners, and pre-video YouTube ads, a notable portion comes through content marketing. (Want to learn more about content marketing? Don’t worry! I’ve got you covered!)
Whereas in the past a storefront would suffice, the modern client seeks the convenience of a website. No need for endless trips to the shops, as customers can now research products from home.
The addition of an online shop increases your marketplace presence and, in turn, can lead to an increase in sales, growing both your local and global customer base. An extra point of importance? It offers accessibility to those who may not be able to shop in-person.
Too Legit To Quit
Studies upon studies have shown that people are more likely to trust a business with a website, and for good reason. The opportunity to learn about a business before buying its products or using its services is both a luxury and a utility not offered by those without websites. It offers a degree of legitimacy too, proving that your business is real and trustworthy. It shows that you are willing to put time, money, and effort into a tool which will benefit both client and company alike. What’s more? It’s expected! Many customers won’t even consider a business without a website.
A reputable business will have a reputable site. This means that the site is well-designed, easy to navigate, and free of errors. For the same reason a customer may avoid a restaurant that, through the window, looks less than stellar, a customer may avoid a poorly designed website. In this way, a website acts as a window into your business. It is your storefront, your business card, your office, all in one.
Moreover? It’s a first impression! Research from Stanford shows that 75% of internet users will judge a business on its website. In fact, it only takes 50 milliseconds (0.05 seconds) for users to make a decision about your website. And if they judge it poorly? They will bounce!
While not having a website is a missed marketing opportunity, having a bad website can be just as detrimental. The solution? Learn some design basics yourself or hire a reputable web design firm to help your create the perfect site for your small business.
But What About The Cost?
Business requires investment. Whether it is a small business or a large corporation, a certain amount of time, energy, and yes, funding, goes into it. Like any business venture, the creation and upkeep of a website will cost you. There are costs for domains, hosting, and web-building, along with maintenance and incidentals. And if you hire an outside source to design, build, and maintain your website? While a good idea (more on that ahead!), it can definitely put a dent in your budget. So what is the point if it’s going to bleed you dry?!?
Like other investments, there is always a risk. This risk, however, is worth taking! A small business with a website is much more likely to experience revenue growth, compared to one without. This is especially true when it comes to retail. Worldwide, ecommerce is predicted to grow 19% in 2020. As online retail continues to grow, brick and mortar stores are feeling the effects, as the cost of building a website vs. the cost of renting a storefront is considerable.
That isn’t to say there is no value in a real-life shop, but the investment in a website can double your marketplace reach, and in turn, your profit. In 2019, 18% of all retail sales in the UK came from ecommerce, a number that is growing steadily every year. If 18% really doesn’t seem like that much, consider the impact of online research on in-store purchases.
But it isn’t just retail that benefits from online sales. Perhaps your small business offers services as opposed to products. Anything from counselling services, to wedding bands, to web design can benefit from a website. In fact, some businesses don’t even have a physical location, as many careers allow one to work from home. In this case, a website works to present and promote your services in a concrete way.
While word of mouth is integral to the promotion of small businesses, much of that “word” is written, with links being shared by satisfied customers and clients, not to mention the advent of online reviews and testimonials. As mentioned above, a staggering proportion of people start online to research products and services. Having a website available increases the visibility of your business, directing potential customers and clients your way (whether you have a physical location or not).
As an additional point, there are often higher costs behind traditional marketing. Whether you are mailing out flyers, buying business cards, or promoting your business on TV, marketing is going to cost you.
A website can deliver all of those; it is at once a business card, a Yellow Pages ad, and a flyer (if we include email marketing). And while some situations call for more traditional methods of advertising, those are often paired with a website.
Why Can’t I Just Use Facebook?
You could. Unfortunately, social media just doesn’t cut it. While a platform like Facebook has its benefits, it does not have the authority of a website. It feels less professional and less credible. Anyone can make a Facebook page, and while the content may be unique, they all follow the same template. This means you cannot customise or personalise to suit your brand. And Facebook only reaches a specific audience. The same can be said of any other social media platform. It may complement your website, but it should not be your priority.
Time Is Not On My Side!
Building a website, especially a good one, takes time. Between the design, the copy, the construction, and all the other little details, it can be notably time-consuming. And that isn’t even including maintenance, updates, and all the other behind-the-scenes work required to keep a website running.
As a small business owner, adding in these extra hours may not be an option, but there are ways around that. Consider working with another small business to create and maintain your website for you. While it is an extra cost, partnering with another small business provides you with the website, saves you time, and supports a fellow entrepreneur. I may even have a great recommendation for a reputable web designer with experience in designing for small business. 😉
Hiring a small business to conceive and implement your marketing plan, create your content, or keep you organised can also be of benefit! Here are some great links if you’re looking for a Virtual Assistant or copywriter.
Up Your Game
In today’s modern age, the lack of a website can be a huge detriment to your small business. To really make a name for yourself as a reputable company, a website is expected. It’s the easiest way to present your products and services, prices and rates, and contact information, all in one place. Your customers and clients anticipate that the information the need will be available online, so make it so!
Yes, there are costs. Yes, there are risks. But it’s a risk worth taking.
For more information on the web design services I offer, check out my services page and see what I can do for you!