The Debate on the Necessity of a Website for Business Success – A Look at the Pros and Cons
While it is clear that having a web presence is important, the question of whether an effective website is crucial for the growth of your specific business, particularly if it is already profitable, arises. Many SMB owners may not need one. But, chances are, you would absolutely benefit from having one. This article delves into the reasons why investing in a business website can be beneficial and the instances where it may not be necessary.
Does My Business Really Need a Website?
Many small business owners may question whether a website is necessary for their business, particularly if they have a small workforce and do not sell products online. Fair. However, the answer is clear: a website is crucial for all businesses to remain competitive and not lose potential customers to competitors who already have a website. Additionally, the current online shopping landscape, shaped by the pandemic, has made it possible for any kind of product to be sold online, so one should not rule out the possibility of selling online. Furthermore, relying solely on a Facebook page as a digital presence may not be sufficient. Don’t fall behind, invest in a website for your business.
For service businesses, you’re probably thinking “well this doesn’t apply to me.” I think you should take this perspective for a moment: what is your exit plan? How will you sell your business when the time comes? Unfortunately, for many service businesses, especially smaller ones, the value of your business is you. There is nothing proprietary about our business, and there is really nothing of value you can sell except for your inventory and your book of business. Imagine if you were able to quantify and realize the value of your book of business you have developed over the years, and eventually sell it to a competitor? In order to do this, you need property-digitally. You need to develop your digital real estate; building a website that drives traffic, creating a Google Business Profile that has tons of reviews compared to competitors. That is valuable, and a competitor will pay for that to boost their business. That’s how I think you should start to look at this.
What if I have a Facebook page, do I still need a Website?
Many businesses rely on social media platforms, such as Facebook, as their primary means of advertising and building an audience. While these channels have their benefits, such as market research opportunities, they should not be used as a substitute for a business website. Say that again. Here are some reasons why having a dedicated website is important for your business.
1. Lack of Ownership on Social Media Platforms:
Relying on a single platform like Facebook as your sole online presence can be risky. If the platform were to change its policies or shut down, your clients and followers would be lost. Even temporary outages, like the one experienced by Facebook recently, can have a significant impact on your business. With a website, you have full control over its appearance and features, and you can avoid the uncertainty of relying on a third-party platform.
2. Limited SEO capabilities on Social Media Platforms:
When looking for a local business, where do you typically search? Google or Facebook? The majority of people turn to search engines, such as Google, with its 3.5 billion daily queries, over social media networks. Having a business website allows you to optimize your online presence to be found when people make search queries related to the products or services you offer. Even if you are a small business, you can still optimize your website for local searches to attract customers in your area. Too much risk, not enough upside to stick with Facebook.
3. Perception of Credibility:
A website is a crucial aspect of building trust with customers. People are more likely to buy from businesses they know, like, and trust. Data supports this very, very strongly. A website serves as a badge of trust and authority, and can help establish your business as credible and professional. While it may be easy to create a Facebook page, a dedicated business website can help establish your business as more trustworthy and reliable.
4. Limited Visibility on Social Media Platforms:
Facebook and other social media platforms are highly competitive, and as a business, you have to compete with not just other companies but also with your potential customers’ friends for their attention. It’s not the right channel. Many people find advertisements on social media to be disruptive and may ignore or overlook your posts or ads. A business website, on the other hand, allows you to have your customers’ undivided attention and increases the chances of them becoming patrons. It’s important to note that having a Facebook page and other social media presence is still important, but they should be used to support, not replace, your website. They can still definitely help in advertising.
Advantages of Having a Business Website:
Both small and big businesses can benefit from having a website. Here are some of the key advantages that a business website can offer.
1. Professionalism and Credibility:
Creating a business page on social media platforms like Facebook is easy and free, but this low barrier to entry diminishes the credibility of a business. It takes 2 seconds to build one and costs nothing. Customers may not know who is behind the page, where the business is located, and if it is a legitimate business. On the other hand, creating a business website requires investment, which indicates that the business is serious about its operation. A business website projects professionalism and credibility, which can be a crucial factor in building trust with potential customers.
2. A Website is a Key Step in the Customer’s Journey:
A well-designed website is the ultimate destination for your audience from different channels. It is on the website where you can inspire action from potential customers, especially if done right. Your website serves as an online storefront, where customers can walk in and explore what you have to offer. Even if they don’t make a purchase on their first visit, they may return in the future. And even if they never do make a purchase, driving traffic to your page can be a positive SEO variable. Similarly, customers may come across your business through various channels such as social media, and a website allows them to learn more about your business and take the next step in the customer journey. Without a website, they may not be motivated to continue exploring your business.
3. Website Improves Online Visibility:
There are over 4.5 billion active internet users worldwide, and a majority of them access the internet via mobile devices. Without a website, your business is virtually invisible to these people. With the ongoing pandemic pushing the global market even more digital, not having a website means your business will be invisible to those who matter. Investing in a website is crucial for your business to be visible in the digital world.
4. Especially Important for Local Businesses
Many small business owners may not see the need for an effective business website. However, they are missing out on a significant source of revenue. The following statistics show the importance of a website for local businesses:
- 46% of searches on Google include local intent
- 97% of users use search to find local businesses
- 28% of users made a purchase after a local search
70% of users will visit a store because of what they found online
Having a website can help local businesses capture this potential and increase profitability.
5. Social Proof, Social Proof, Social Proof
Customers’ opinions about your business can greatly impact its success. While review websites like Yelp provide a platform for customers to share their experiences, your website is the best place for potential customers to learn more about your business. Don’t get me wrong, listing your businesses every where that makes sense is a good move, too. Displaying positive testimonials on your website can help establish trust and credibility, and publishing reviews on your website ensures that only the best are featured, and the potential for negative reviews on third-party websites to minimize the overall perception of your business is minimized.
6. A Business Website Gives Lasting Value: Like Property
One of the main benefits of investing in a business website is the ongoing value it can provide. When you pay for ads on social media, your potential clients will only see the ads while they are running. In contrast, a business website can continue to generate returns over time. Even if it doesn’t provide returns immediately, you can make adjustments and optimize the website to eventually see returns on your investment.
7. Developing a Business Website is More Affordable Than You Think
“Many business owners avoid creating a website because they believe it to be a complicated and costly process. However, this is not always the case, and doesn’t have to be if you choose the right company, like ours. The technology and tools to create high-quality websites are now more accessible and affordable than ever before.
8. An Online Storefront: A Business Website Enables E-commerce
E-commerce sales are rapidly increasing and are projected to reach over $5.4 trillion by 2022. A business website is a must-have to tap into this growth and gain a share of the e-commerce market. Even if you’re not a traditional e-commerce business, having an online store presence can help attract new customers and enable you to continue sales even when your physical store is closed.
9. Full Control: A Website Allows for Ownership and Customization
Having a website means full ownership and control over its design and content. Unlike social media platforms, you have the freedom to share user reviews, videos, images, and more on your website. Dress it up how you like. Additionally, you don’t have to adhere to the constantly changing rules and guidelines of social media platforms. In the event of a social media outage, your website and its content remain safe and accessible.
10. A Business Website is Easy to Manage
Managing websites used to be daunting. It still can be, depending on the user and the business. However, with a content management system like WordPress, it’s now easier than ever to manage a website. In addition, you don’t need any technical skills to keep your website up to date. There is a fine line, though. WordPress is SEO friendly, but some other CMS self-builders like Wix are not so friendly with SEO. So, be aware of the pros and cons of simplicity. \
11. Websites Improve Customer Service
An effective website can provide customers with all the important information they need such as location and hours of operation, reducing the need for them to contact the business for simple questions. This improves the overall customer experience and allows your workforce to focus on other important tasks, increasing company productivity. It can serve as an organized customer inquiry system too; there are thousands of “plug-ins” WordPress offers, that can make your life so much easier and save you so much time
12. Stand Out Against the Competition
An effective website allows small businesses to compete with larger ones by properly optimizing it and outranking bigger websites through search engine leads, especially locally. In some cases, though, a business may not require a website and here are some reasons why.
5 Reasons Why a Website Doesn’t Make Sense For Your Business
1. No Desire to Grow
One of the main reasons for having a website is to attract more customers and increase revenue. If a business is not looking to expand or increase profits, there may be little need for a website. No need to fix what ain’t broke.
2. Adequate Lead Generation
If a business generates enough leads through referrals and existing networks, a website may not be a priority. However, this assumes that current methods of lead generation will continue to be effective in the future, and there is an exit strategy in place that is monetizable. Unlikely.
3. You Don’t Have Plans for Staff Expansion
If you are not looking to increase your workforce, a website may not be a necessity for your business. However, if you are looking to attract top talent, a website can be a great tool to showcase your company and attract potential hires. But if you’re content with your current team and don’t have plans for staff expansion, then you may not need a website. It’s tough to attract young people these days to your company without having something they can be proud of, and showcase to their friends and sorts.
4. You’re Operating in a Virtual Monopoly
If you are the only option in your industry and your clients have no other choice but to purchase from you, then a website may not be necessary. In this case, your unique offering is enough to sustain your business without the need for a website. However, having a website can still enhance your image and improve communication with your clients. This unfortunately pretty much never happens.
5. You Don’t Want To Ever Sell Your Business
A website can play a crucial role in determining the value of a business, particularly for those that have a scalable model. Having an effective website that effectively generates new clients demonstrates the strength of a business, as the internet offers a cost-effective way to acquire customers. Additionally, the internet allows for easy measurement of marketing and sales efforts, making it a valuable asset for potential buyers to consider when valuing a company. Even if you’re a local plumbing business, you should still think about an exit plan for when the day comes. Have something to show for. An extra $50,000 to close out a career doesn’t sound too bad, does it?
Whether to establish a website for your business or not is ultimately up to you. However, if your business objectives include enhancing lead generation, visibility, credibility, and authority, then creating a website is a great first step. And that goes for just about any business, IMO.
Check out our page on our web design services, you’ll see how we can help.
Get in touch if you want to talk about it. We’re here to help.