Does Your Small Business Need a Website?

Given that you’re reading this on the internet you can probably guess the answer to this question. Yet, as of 2012, 75% of businesses have no website.

The first thing that statistic tells you is that yes, your business can get by without a website. So you don’t necessarily need it to stay afloat, but you do need it to maximize your exposure and profits.

Online Presence and Your Small Business

An online presence is essential to help people find your business and for you to connect with your customer base. It is a relatively cheap, worldwide advertising space and sales platform that allows you to present yourself in more detail, and to a larger, but more specific audience.

Given the low cost of a web presence compared to traditional advertising, ignoring the opportunity is essentially a bad decision no matter how you look at it, even if you can stay afloat without it.

Small Business Website Software

Business owners, like most people, are a bit intimidated by the concept of creating a website and tinkering around with code, but that is a hurdle that is easily overcome. First of all, you don’t need to buy software, as even great, high-end content management systems like Drupal are free on the web. That’s the program whitehouse.gov is built on.

While Drupal requires PHP literacy to use properly, there are other, perfectly serviceable alternatives to use for the regular Joe. Quick.CMS is easier to use, and while it can’t do everything that Drupal can, a normal human being can build a perfectly serviceable website with it without mastering programming first.

If all else fails, hire a starving college student to do it as a free internship or for minimum wage. In this labor market, you might even be able to get a highly qualified graphic design graduate to make it nice.

Other Things to Consider for Your Small Business Website

Don’t build your website on a subdomain. It doesn’t cost much to rent your own domain at all and presenting yourself as yourbusiness.wordpress.com is just unprofessional.

Once you have a company website you can attach a blog to your domain and host contests for mommy bloggers to create the best bagel, if you own a bakery, and include the winner in your selection, or maybe feature the best three how-to videos on your website. Do anything that makes you more interesting, without compromising the reputation of your company, so that consumers recognize your brand when they see your sign.

Your company blog will be at the heart of any content marketing strategy you come up with. It will set the tone for your online presence and represent the human side of your business on the web. Concentrate on your reputation and on connecting with your customer base, rather than on your product. Leave that part to your business’ main page.

The first thing people do when they need or want something, rather than pick up a telephone or ask a friend, is entering a Google search. If you don’t come up when they do that, then you are missing out in a big way. When someone has a question related to your product, your business, or a subculture that your business is associated with, then your name should come up.

Author Bio: Jared Whitehead is an old hand at web development and sandwich engineering. One of those is more relevant to the subject matter than the other, but both define him. He likes to volunteer at the humane society and annoy his friends with pictures of cats.

Dragan Sutevski

Posted by Dragan Sutevski

Dragan Sutevski is a founder and CEO of Sutevski Consulting, creating business excellence through innovative thinking. Get more from Dragan on Twitter. Contact Dragan