It’s hard to imagine, but as of 2015, 1 in 2 small businesses still have no business website. The reasons given for this oversight may appear varied at first glance:
- People don’t find me online.
- People don’t use Google for the sorts of merchandise/services I offer.
- People already know about my business.
- All of my business comes from referrals.
- No one else is doing what I do.
- I’ve been doing fine without a website for years.
However, it comes down to one critical (and false) belief: My business has needs and clients that are totally unique from any other business.
The fact is that in the 21st century, a website is not optional if you want your business to thrive over the long haul. Note that the above statistic references small businesses. Why not cite large businesses? Because it’s extremely difficult to dig up large enterprises that have managed to avoid building a corporate website. In fact, the larger a small business is, the greater the likelihood that it has a website. Among small businesses with revenues over $10 Million, 84% have websites.
But which came first? The website or the growing business?
According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses that have invested in a website average $1.07 Million more per year in sales than those that don’t have a website. It stands to reason that those rapidly growing small businesses – the ones that are tiptoeing into large business status – have grown thanks in large part to greater exposure via their websites.
So here are a few rebuttals to the most common excuses for not having a business website:
People don’t find me online.
Precisely. This may not seem like a problem if you still consider the Yellow Pages a viable marketing device, but 97% of consumers search for products and services online in 2016. If you’re not there, at least one of your competitors is. Of course, if you’re not there, you can hardly be called a competitor in that field.
People don’t use Google for the sorts of merchandise/services I offer.
Answer honestly: is there anything that you don’t use Google for? It’s just not realistic to believe that one industry is somehow too transcendent for Google’s search engines. Trust me. They’re searching. The exception to this may be those lingering C-suite prospects from the old school who don’t entirely trust technology; however, those young upstarts nipping at their heels – the ones you’ll be doing business with when the old guard retires – most certainly rely on online searches.
People already know about my business.
Congratulations! You’re in a good position. But is that good enough? Markets are perpetually shifting, and new competitors are perpetually arising. If you’re not growing, you’re dying, and an online presence is critical to new growth in the 21st century. The Small Business Administration has found that 50% of Internet sales are from new customers. While old clients are gold, new clients are just as important to your company’s continued growth.
All of my business comes from referrals.
Again: that’s fantastic! You’ve won half the battle by having a superior product or service. However, more and more consumers are using social media and other digital technology to make referrals today. Most clients are happy to take a moment to respond to a survey or to provide a review – if you make it easy for them. What could be easier than providing a link on your website? Or a link back from email or social media to your website? And providing a satisfied client with a simple URL is an easy invitation to make direct referrals.
No one else is doing what I do.
Not yet. But give it time. Or better yet. Make your mark before competition has the opportunity to do it. Stake out your claim on the first page of search engine results by being the first in your industry to have a professional web presence.
I’ve been doing fine without a website for years.
And our ancestors did fine without cars, tvs, radios, and modern medicine. But aren’t we glad that they embraced innovation when they did? You will be too. While all new technologies seem unnecessary or cost-prohibitive in their first iterations, over time, they become so affordable that it doesn’t make sense to do without. That’s where we are with websites today.
Designing, building, and maintaining a professional website is an affordable investment that will have measurable ROI for your business. Don’t wait any longer.