“Every business must have a website” has almost become a truism in today’s business world. And in general, it’s true: if you operate a business in the 21st century, whatever kind it may be, that business should have a website. It just comes with the territory.
But not all business owners are sold on the necessity of investing in their own professional web platform. And to be fair, there are some cases in which their incredulity may be justified – even if those cases are exceptions to the rule.
So here’s some reasons to have a website, as well as some reasons you might not need one.
#1: Just a Facebook Doesn’t Cut It
One reason especially small businesses may not bother creating and maintaining a professional website is that they rely on social media platforms like Facebook for all their digital advertising.
But there are a few disadvantages to taking this route. For one thing, your social media page isn’t owned by you. Hence, if that site one day changed its model to no longer support pages like yours, your inroad to attract new clients or customers would be lost. Also, all the data compiled on that page isn’t controlled by you.
Furthermore, just having a social media page but no official web domain looks unprofessional. You might lose business to competitors that outshine you by investing in a website.
#2: It Lets Customers Find You
Back in the old days, when someone needed a socket wrench, they’d look up “hardware stores” in the yellow pages. These days, they use their smartphone, and the yellow pages are called Google. In fact, 97% of internet users find local businesses through search engines. By not creating an official homepage for your business, you are effectively not listing it in the directory, thereby making it inaccessible to prospective customers.
#3: Social Proof
One way that many people seek to know if they can trust a small or local business is by asking their friends and neighbors if they’ve visited it, and what their experience there was like. On a professional website, you can post testimonials from your customers, showing that you’ve gained their confidence and that you are an enterprise that’s in high demand.
#4: You Can Sell Online
Even if you don’t have an e-commerce business, having an online storefront can help you attract new business and can keep you selling while your physical location is closed. If you’re in food service, you can create new business by partnering with courier services like Grubhub or UberEats, which is especially important because of the current pandemic, which has forced many eateries to restrict indoor dining or close their physical locations altogether.
#5: It’s Good Customer Service
Having an easy-to-find place for basic information about your business such as what goods or services you provide, where you’re located and what your hours of operation are creates an ease and comfort in your customer’s experience that will reflect well on your business. If your customers go looking for this information and it’s too hard to find it, they will quickly move on to one of your competitors.
#1: You Don’t Need Any Further Growth
Basically all of the above reasons in favor of having a website are based on the rationale that you want your business to continue to grow. If that’s not really a goal for the future of your company – and that doesn’t go without saying – then you may have less need for a website than an aspiring, smaller business.
#2: You Don’t Need Any Further Leads
A big part of business growth is generating leads and converting them into active clientele. By the same logic of the above item, if you don’t need an efficient machine of lead generation because you work with a small group of rock-solid accounts, then your need for higher digital visibility may be diminished.
#3: You’re Not Currently Hiring
Just as a website is a great way to attract new clientele, it’s also a great way to expand your staff. Many prospective recruits will seek to learn more about you by searching for your online presence. If you work with a core group of people and you don’t really hire other hands, like at a small second-hand bookshop or a family-run business, then there is also less need for you to have a website.
#4: You Have a Virtual Monopoly
If you’ve got a corner on your particular market, with a high demand for what you offer and little to no competition, then this is another situation in which the immediate need for a website is greatly diminished. However, that’s a very special position to be in, and it’s really only held by a tiny minority of the world’s top businesses (all of which have websites anyway), and maybe the one grocery store in a small rural town.
#5: You’re Not Looking to Sell
A website is an important asset that factors into your company’s valuation. Because of the high rate of conversions that it provides, it is a good way to prove that you have a low customer acquisition cost. All this matters a great deal if you’ve got an eye on selling your business and retiring, but if that’s not in the cards, then it’s less important.
All in all, like we said in the beginning, situations in which a website becomes unnecessary are outliers, and for the vast majority of businesses, it’s absolutely non-negotiable. But you can judge for yourself based on the information above, and if you don’t fall into one of those rare exceptional categories, and you don’t have a professional website yet – you’d better get on it. Easy-to-use website builders like Wix and WordPress are a great place to start.