When I planned client promotional events at my previous job, there were countless times that I had to research vendor options in a particular city. Sometimes an online search would lead to a possible option and other times I would learn of vendors through word of mouth, but often times, many vendors had no website. While a website doesn’t prove you are a “good vendor,” it is typically your first introduction to a potential customer—if they didn’t find you through social media first.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I was doing a virtual strategic consultation with a client who is preparing to do some exciting things in 2016…during our conversation he asked, “Do I really need a website? Why?” I LOVE to answer this question. Thus, I decided to share my thoughts on this important question via this blog post.
So do small businesses really need a website?
YES! A website is your digital business card. It is the one piece of online real estate that you actually own. While social media channels are great tools, it’s not the same as having your personal digital home, should the Twitter platform crash or Instagram decides that you must pay a fee to use it in the future. If you’ve had a business fan page on Facebook for several years, then you are probably familiar with how Facebook dramatically limits what your audience sees (unless you pay for advertising) in comparison to a few years ago.
A website is where you can include important info about who you are, your products, customer testimonials, host your blog, sell products via an online store, and host links to all your social channels. Think of it as home base for anyone who wants to interact with your brand vs. the temporary in the moment gratification that our social media feeds provide us.
While I have seen established businesses who operate without a website, do well with word of mouth or other marketing tools, I think they too should have a website. Even though they may not need customers at this moment, a website provides credibility. As a small business grows, there may be opportunities to expand the brand through new products and services, media appearances, or major collaborations. It will only help to have a site where existing, new, and potential customers and partners can visit to stay connected with the brand. On an alternative note, what if you want to sell your company one day? Your website domain and the traffic you have been driving there for x amount of years will only add value to this business transaction.
Finally, I will leave you with a few questions:
What if someone contacted you today and wanted to collaborate with you on a major project? They call you, present this proposal, and it sounds spectacular. You tell them you will research them and follow-up. When you begin to search for them online, you find no website. Would you be able to take their brand seriously? When I asked my client this, he shared that he would probably think twice about moving forward with them. In the context of this hypothetical scenario, it was a no-brainer for him that anyone who would want to work with him should have a website. Then it clicked…someone else could feel the same way about his business too if he had no site.
While every small business is different, If you are a new company, create a temporary site or simple landing page until you can build your dream site, but don’t opt-out of having one and buying your domain.
Wishing you all the best, Business Rock Stars!
Does your small business have a website? Leave a comment below or tweet me your thoughts to @bestrategicPR.
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