I make my living building small business websites, so you might think I should be biased in favour of every business needing a website. Actually, I think all small businesses should have a website, but I can’t truthfully say that they all need them.
If you have a small business that falls into any of the following categories then I can understand if you don’t feel you need to invest in website design. You’re probably right.
Is this you? If it is, you don't need a website for your business.
>> You’re a tradesman with more work than you can handle for the foreseeable future.
>> You are a very small business (maybe it’s just you). You have limited capacity for growth and a deliver great results for your clients, who are happy to give you enough testimonials and referrals to keep business coming your way.
>> You are busy with recurring clients and couldn’t take on any more and retain your sanity.
If you don’t have a website then you need a reputation for quality
My friend Belinda is a reflexologist who doesn’t need a website. She has very loyal and effusive followers on her company Facebook page, she’s strict about only working school hours and she gets transformative results for her clients, so easily fills her schedule without having to go out and look for more work.
Our local glazier is booked solid for the next 12 months. His customer service is frustratingly almost non-existent, but he sure seems to know how to install a good window. (I’m not an expert on window installation, but my husband has pretty high standards and he’s given them the thumbs up). He doesn’t need a website to keep selling his glass.
What these businesses have in common is that within their communities they have a reputation for being very good at what they do.
And that's enough. For now.
I’d argue that when you are doing well, then it’s worth paying for a website. It gives you an established online presence, so that if your circumstances ever change, or economic conditions tighten, then you don’t need to spend money and time on developing a great website, it’s already there, working for you.
What if you are a new business?
If you are new in business then think carefully about viewing a website as an expense. It’s an investment.
>> Having a small business website shows that you are a legitimate business. It helps give your business credibility.
>> It’s your “shop window”. If you don’t have one, it’s much easier for people to overlook you.
>> It helps potential clients or customers find out more you – from contact details and opening hours. Having a bio or about page on your website helps people understand who you are and what you do. It helps to get your message out.
>> A photo of you or your team helps people to see that you are real. (And please make sure your photos have either been taking by a professional, or at least look like they have.)
Are you making it too hard to attract clients?
A little while ago, I picked up a flyer in a local café advertising a new yoga studio opening in our town. I thought perhaps it would suit me (I'm really not sure why, I've never done yoga in my life!) There wasn’t much information on the flyer, just a woman's name, a description of the classes and a mobile number. I searched online to find out the class location and the pricing. I found nothing. So I googled the instructor’s name. Again, nothing. Now I could have called her to find all this out, her number was listed on her flyer, but I didn’t.
She could easily have recruited me as a customer, but not having a website meant there was too much for me to do to find out the information that would lead me to make a purchase.
Don’t make that mistake for your business.
What do you think?
Does your business have a website? When you are looking for products, services or local businesses, do you give up on businesses that don't have business websites? Or are you happy just if a business is on Facebook? Leave your thoughts below, I'd love to hear them!