Image credit: MaxPixel (freely distributed with a Creative Commons Zero – CC0.)
It’s hard to imagine but, in today’s digital age, a little more than half of small to medium-sized business still have yet to get a website. I wouldn’t have believed the numbers either until I read the stats on a CNBC.com. Small businesses especially rely on the old-fashioned way of gaining customers: word of mouth.
Antara Dutta, a digital marketing expert who has founded two small businesses told cnbc.com, “People are just afraid of technology and don’t realize how simple or easy it could be.” Dutta runs a consulting company that works with banks like Barclays and owns a health-and-wellness startup.
Dutta pointed out that small business owners don’t need to be fresh out of college or an entrepreneur to get something from having a website. Much of it, she explains, has to do with what she calls “legacy business and generational issues.”
Whether these business owners think that having a nice website design will cost them a lot or if they simply think word of mouth will suffice until they hand their business off to someone else, it is not the best business strategy in today’s market.
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Below I have list some very important reasons having a website should be your number one priority right now. And if you have a website but it hasn’t been updated in awhile, why you should also move that up on your todo list.
Having a Sharp Website Gives a Good First Impression
Speaking from experience, the first thing I do when before I leave my house to look for something I want to buy, I go to Google and look for a business near me who offers the product I am looking to purchase. The second action is I take is look at their star rating and maybe have a look at the reviews. I automatically avoid businesses with less than four stars. The third thing I do is look for a link to their website. If they don’t have one, I move onto the next business listed in the search results.
The era of Yellow Pages is all but dead. People go straight to their mobile device when looking up businesses or seeking out a product. If your business doesn’t have a website, this makes your business seem out of date and behind. Furthermore, the likelihood your business even showing up in the search results is slim to none anyway.
When I find a business with a website that is pleasant to look at (meaning it isn’t bland and lifeless or full of blinking ads that end up giving me a seizure) and easy to navigate (meaning it isn’t like roaming through a maze trying to find what I am looking for) I feel more confident in their brand.
Your Website Is Always Open and in Reach
True story: some time ago, I was planning a trip to another country. It has been quite some time that I stopped smoking cigarettes and replaced it with vaping. One of my concerns was could I find a vape shop in the city where I would be staying. What was my first action? I Googled it. Sure enough, there were a few vape shops in close proximity to my hotel. Only one of them had a website. Since they had a website, I was able to see what products they had available. Guess which vape shop I went to when I arrived at that city?
Having a business website not only makes you look more professional but it allows people to see what you’re about before they actually visit in person. They feel better about knowing you have exactly what they are looking for, making it more likely they will choose your place before anyone else’s store. This alone will boost your sales.
Create a Wider Reaching Connection With Consumers
Imagine meeting someone with whom you hit it off with. After some time talking, you decided it would be nice to keep in touch with them, so you asked for their phone number. To your surprise, they informed you that they didn’t have a phone. How weird would that be in this day and age of complete connectivity? It’s odd enough to meet someone who doesn’t have a Facebook. Well, your business not having a website is becoming more and more similar to the above-given scenario.
According to Pewinternet.org, 95 percent of Americans now own a mobile phone. Out of all those cell phone owners, 77 percent of them own a smartphone that is connected to the internet. While cell phone ownership is the highest, the report also revealed that eight in 10 Americans own either a desktop or laptop computer. Another 50 percent of Americans own some sort of tablet device or e-reader.
I could have gone on for another 5,000 words or so about the vast benefits of having a business website, but why beat a dead horse? I think you get the point by now. In today’s business world, you either need to get a website or simply go home.