Almost March already? Not sure how that happened but I’m welcoming the promise of Spring so no complaints here. As we zoom through another year, I see that there’s still a large number of small business owners who don’t have a website.
Fortunately, more and more small businesses are realising the importance of a website and almost 64% of small business owners now have a business website. But there are still 36% of small business owners who don’t. How is this still possible in 2019?
Is it that they don't understand the benefits and how it could help their business? The internet has changed so much in the last ten to fifteen years: smartphones, tablets, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. It's a different world and these changes are easy to miss if you're busy running a business and most of your customers are repeat customers or referrals.
Does it seem too expensive, complicated, time-consuming, etc? 76% of small business owners are over 45. As we get older and busier, we fall out of touch with technology as we settle into our ways.
Are they “doing just fine without it” or perhaps they've “never needed one before”? Just because things seem ok now doesn't mean everything is fine. This is how businesses die: they don't see the need to change until it's too late.
Let’s talk about NEED versus WANT
Almost half of small businesses without websites say they don't need a website, but they really mean they don't want one enough. There's a threshold where the want for something surpasses the hassle (cost/time) of getting it.
I'd bet that the majority of small businesses claiming they don't need a website would change their mind if they could snap their fingers and have a fully built, maintenance free, no cost, no effort website.
You don't get anything (decent) in this world for free and most of the time the cheap ‘too good to be true but you buy it anyway’ options have their pitfalls (I’ll be writing a blog about cheap off-the-shelf website providers later).
I like to think my websites sit somewhere between free (restrictive and problematic) and bespoke (brilliant but way out of budget for most small businesses). There is always a solution that will grant you a web presence in the form of your very own website - but I’m afraid it won’t be free! Affordable but never cheap and never, ever free.
WordPress and WordPress professionals are the answer to getting a well-built, well-designed and affordable website. One that will grow with you as your business grows. One that does not hold you hostage to any one developer or provider.
As a Freelance WordPress Web Designer I feel it’s my role (and my passion - providing me a way of giving back!) to bring more new businesses online for the first time and help them grow.
If your small business doesn’t have a website (or at least a professional looking single page website to support all your social media and offline marketing efforts) here are some of the few ways you’re missing out:
Less traction in search results.
If customers search for your business online and you don’t have a website, your company name and address may show up (if you have a presence on local search directories or Facebook, that is). But where do customers go to learn more about your business? Without a website to click on, they’ll be taking their chances if they decide to visit you and Social Media gives only a short overview of your business.
Some 27% of small businesses that do not have a website say it isn’t relevant to their industry—but it’s hard to think of any industry where a website isn’t relevant. Whether you sell to consumers or other businesses, customers these days like to get as much information as they can about businesses before making a decision to use them. You end up looking either hopelessly out of date, or like you’ve got something to hide.
Being held at the mercy of social networks.
More than 21% don’t feel they need a website because they have such a strong presence on social media. But social networks change their algorithms and policies all the time. What if a new change makes your business’s social media accounts less visible?
Last year, Facebook changed its algorithm again, prioritising friends and family posts over businesses’s posts in feeds.
So what’s holding the 36% of small businesses that don’t have websites back?
More than 26% of small businesses without a website cite cost as the key obstacle.
Websites do not have to be complicated and loaded with interactive functionality. If you are, for example, a local beauty technician, dog groomer or salon owner, a single page or a couple of pages containing your basic information, services a contact page and links to your business elsewhere online (social media, reviews, etc.) is quote probably all you need.
Even if you ultimately plan to expand your website and include more functionality, getting a basic website online ASAP is a good first step that will raise your business’s profile online.
If you need help getting your first business website up and running or have an existing website that needs looking at - and have a budget that’s stopping you, please get in touch. My aim is to get you online for a realistic price you probably can afford if you really WANT it.