If you’ve asked yourself, “do I need a website to succeed in business?” then we’re not surprised.
With so many online marketplaces, social media platforms, and business messaging apps at your fingertips, it’s tempting to try to go without a website.
But if you do go without, you’ll be missing out on so many opportunities.
We’ll help you go from “do I need a website for my business?” to “I need a website for my business” by the end of this article.
Read on to find out why it’s an essential.
Here’s why you need a website
Maybe you really need to be convinced about having a website for your business, or maybe you already know it’s important and you’re just checking the facts.
Either way, we’ve put together 8 reasons why a website should be in your plans.
1. You can reach new customers
Gone are the days when the only people who knew about your small business were your neighbors or customers who picked your number out of the phone book.
Don’t know what a phone book is? It doesn’t matter – with a website, businesses can be found by anyone, anywhere, at any time.
Thanks to search engines, even small business owners can achieve global visibility. Here’s why you’ll need a website to reach new customers:
Your site can be found through organic search
With consistency and clever keyword usage, your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts can seriously pay off.
SEO helps your website show up in search engine results. The more optimized your site, the more visible your business will become.
It’s a great, cost-effective way to put yourself in front of potential customers. Check out our guide on how to get free traffic to your website.
Websites help to publicize your location
If your business has an offline presence, like a shop or an office, you’ll want it to show up on search engines. That way, potential customers can scope you out.
More than literally putting your company on the map, your website is one of the best places to show off what’s happening in your brick-and-mortar locations.
It’s part of your marketing funnel
If you’re marketing on social media or paying for display ads, you’ll need a website to make sure that new leads stay interested in your business.
Think about how you interact with a company before making a purchase or request. Wouldn’t you want to learn more about it first?
2. You’ll gain credibility
Another big reason why you’ll need a website for your small business is to give it some well-deserved credibility.
As the owner, you know you’ve done a great job, but you need to make sure that everybody else is convinced. A website will help.
Beyond the fact that you’re in total control of how your business website looks, here’s why having an online presence will make you more credible:
Your competitors will have websites
Small businesses often have to work hard to gain exposure. No matter the niche, it’s likely that you’ll have friendly rivals.
To make sure that your products or services are constantly visible, you can build a website that stands out from the crowd and shows up in search rankings.
Even if your business has a beautiful brick-and-mortar store or loyal customer base, without a website you’ll be giving new business opportunities away to competitors.
It’s the perfect place for reviews
People will talk about your business whether you have a website or not. But one of the best ways to capitalize on inevitable reviews is to feature them on your site.
By using your website as a place for potential customers or clients to read testimonials, you’ll increase your trustworthiness as a business.
Plus, it’ll hold you accountable. If you make customer reviews a site feature, chances are you’re going to strive to provide incredible service, always.
3. You can build a brand
If you run a handful of thriving social media profiles, you might be wondering, “do I need a website to build my brand?”
That depends on your goals. While social channels can make your brand identifiable, a website will give it longevity.
Having a website for your small business allows you to control how things look, feel, and sound to your customers. Here’s why it takes a website to build a brand:
It’s design on your own terms
Whether you hire a web designer or build a website yourself, every design element can be tailored to your business needs, from color schemes to typography.
Consistency is key when building a brand, and having a customized website will help your business to become identifiable.
It’s a home for your products
Thanks to online marketplaces, retailers could easily ask, “do I need a website for my business if I’m selling products elsewhere?”
Well, your company website is one place where you can truly showcase your products. On any other site, you’ll have to work hard to stand out among other businesses.
By using high-quality web design to sell products, you can build a recognizable brand on your very own eCommerce site.
It helps to develop a tone of voice
Brand identity is about both visual elements and the way you talk to your customers. How do you welcome them to your site and describe your products or services?
Connecting with people is important for small businesses, and the easiest way to do that online is with a website where you control the copy.
Recommended reading: 14 Best Business Website Examples of 2021
4. It helps with customer service
Growth is great and scaling is exciting, but let’s face it: life as a business owner is non-stop – wouldn’t it be nice to cut down your workload?
Websites can help. Rather than spending all day talking through queries and issues, your site can be the first place that customers turn to.
Make your website super accessible to people, and you’ll have more time to catch up on other business needs. Here’s what we mean:
You can set up a contact page
It doesn’t even have to be a separate page. If you’d prefer a one-page website, just make space for contact information in the layout.
To empower people to ask any kind of question, you can create a contact form or simply provide an email address. It’ll save them a phone call.
You could also set up a chatbot. AI is the future, and chatbots are pretty clever these days – even urgent issues could be resolved this way.
You can get ahead of issues
High-quality copy, clever chatbots, and detailed testimonials can all help you to avoid issues in the first place.
The more information your customers can see before making a purchase, the better. Think about how much you can say about your products or services on your own website.
As a small business owner, you’ll want to avoid costly mistakes. A helpful site should stop most issues before they even happen.
5. You can experiment
Owning a small business website has loads of practical benefits, that’s for sure. But it can also be a really useful source of insights, too.
If you’re very interested in customer shopping habits, you definitely need a website. There’s so much to learn about the people who use your business.
Beyond all the analytical features that come with having your very own domain name, we can think of a few other ways you can experiment:
Got a weird new product, and you’re not sure if it will work in your collection? You can try it out on just your website first. Plenty of eCommerce sites run online exclusives.
Depending on your business model, you might be able to avoid committing to orders or inventory storage by testing out online-only items.
Marketing is all about experimenting. You can A/B test with different web pages, alternate call to action buttons in your emails, try out banners and popups – the list goes on.
Your website is a great resource for testing new marketing strategies. It can be relatively low-cost and it’s easy to change.
Web design features
You can easily work with website designers or website builders to switch up your site layout. There are so many things you can do.
Feel like adding a slider function to your landing page? Do it. Think that people would love to see animations? Add them in.
We’re not suggesting that you change your website every week, but web design is a fluid thing. If you want to try out new features, you can.
6. It’s a marketing tool
The only traffic that ever excites people is website traffic. When your site becomes part of your marketing plan, you’ll start attracting more visitors to your business.
Now, don’t let us confuse you – we know we’ve just been talking about traffic. But just for a minute, think about your customer as going on a journey.
To help them get from start to finish, your marketing plan needs to effortlessly push them from one channel to the next. Without a website, there’s a roadblock, and the journey can’t continue.
You’ll become omnichannel
Before you start thinking that your customer can take a shortcut on their journey, we’ll tell you what they’ll be missing out on.
You might think that ‘omnichannel’ sounds too serious for a small business website. But it’s a simple concept, really.
Omnichannel businesses give customers a slick, effortless journey at every step. Whether they’re shopping in-store or on mobile devices, everything is nice and easy.
You’ll boost retention rates
Websites are great for getting people to stick around. There are plenty of features you can add to your website design to help with this.
We’re talking about a wish list page, newsletter signup form, and maybe even a blog that’s connected to your site.
As long as you’re offering user-friendly services, these website options will maximize customer engagement and retention.
Recommended reading: Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses
7. You’re in business 24/7
We all need to take a day off. But not the internet – the internet never takes a day off. This is really at the core of why any business owner needs a website.
If we haven’t convinced you with all of our practical tips, then maybe you’ll be sold on the idea that you can be in business all day, every day, for minimal effort.
You still get 8 hours of sleep, and your website does all of the work. Here’s why there’s a lot to be said for having your own online presence:
Your customer base is global
Or at least, it could be. As long as you can provide your products or services across different time zones, you’re able to do so when you have a website.
Imagine you’re in Europe, and someone in a Sydney boardroom wants your training course, or a shopper in New York wants your product. It’s easy and exciting to go global.
Contact point all day and night
If someone wakes up at 3 a.m with a question for your team, what can they do? Wait until the morning, or make a phone call and hit your voicemail?
Easier than that. Instead of using your phone number, they can go onto your website and look up the answer, use the contact form, or take the email address from your contact page.
You can focus on other things
As we said, you’re probably very busy. You often have to take on many different roles as a business owner, and sometimes that means not serving customers for the day.
This is where a website really proves its worth. On the days when you just can’t make it into the office or shop, your site can take the strain.
8. Why not? It’s easy
It’s almost ridiculously easy to have a website. Not just any website: a beautiful, SEO-optimized, memorable website – so if you’re thinking about it, just go ahead and make one.
If you have big plans and a big budget, there are plenty of options for you. If your plans are more modest, and your budget is tiny, turns out there are also plenty of options for you, too.
Turns out I need a website. How do I get one?
Great news, you’re ready to get a website. We’ll help you to get started on your site-building journey.
As a very first step, you’ll need a handful of things to set up your small business website:
- A domain name
- A site host
- An interface – your website design
- eCommerce functionality, if you’re a retailer
When it comes to getting them all, there are 3 main options:
- Using a web designer and/or developer
- Using WordPress
- Using website builders
Website designer and a website developer
You can hire talented people to make you a website from scratch. This option is for businesses with spending power, as the cost can run into thousands of dollars.
If you work with web designers and developers, they will write the code, design the interface, and provide maintenance for your website.
They’ll usually set your site up with a hosting company, or make recommendations if you choose to do that yourself.
Make sure you’re ready for a project: using a web designer or developer to build you a bespoke website can take several weeks.
This content management system (CMS) is behind the vast majority of the world’s websites. It isn’t as bespoke as using a web designer, but WordPress gives you a lot of content control.
You’ll have to find a way to host your site first. We’ve written a guide on how to get started with website hosting, so check it out and explore your options.
WordPress has tens of thousands of plugins, which will enable you to pack your site with features. But it’ll cost you – as will your domain name.
You can end up spending lots of time and money on a WordPress website, depending on how feature-heavy you want it to be.
If you have a tight budget and want to see costs upfront, this option will suit you. Website building platforms offer monthly or yearly plans that typically start from under $10.
All the coding is done for you and your site will be hosted and secured. You’ll get loads of professionally-designed templates which you can customize for your brand.
Look out for website builders that will equip you for business life: Zyro gives all site owners SSL certificates and SEO-friendly websites as standard.
If the idea of using another company puts you off, don’t forget that you can use your own domain name. The best part? You can build and launch your website within a day.