Why is a Website Important for Small Businesses? (2024)

If you have ever wondered what a small business website is or why websites are important for small businesses, look no further. This article will give you a brief overview on the subject. It will explain why and how websites play a key role in your business’ success, how you can use it to help expand your customer reach, how you can use it to improve your business’ day to day operations, and the benefits of not having to rely on other companies to manage your online presence.

An artsy small business where a woman is creating art.

What is a Small Business Website?

First off, what exactly is a “small business website”? Well, simply put, a small business website is essentially a digital, interactive billboard. Their main function is to advertise and inform. Hosting a small business website doesn’t have to drain your wallet, with the average cost to host a small business website running somewhere between $10~$20 a month. If properly built with SEO in mind, a website will pay for itself in no time.

Nowadays, the majority of small businesses have an online presence in some way. Usually this takes the form of a website or social media page. If your small business has neither, or you’ve simply neglected your online presence, you’re doing your business a great disservice. Any small business looking to seriously compete must grow their online footprint. You can do so with the help of a small business website designer or web developer.

My Business already uses Facebook, Instagram & Yelp pages. Isn’t that Enough?

No! Relying on other companies to manage your online presence is a reciepe for disaster, and not to mention, very unprofessional.

Make no mistake, social media pages are a great way to communicate with your customers but they should supplement your website, not be the end all be all. Relying on big tech to manage your online presence forces you into a corner. You end up relying on them, which will eventually backfire terribly. A recent example of this would be how Google is discontinuing Websites made with Google Business Profiles. The thousands, possibly millions of people relying on Google to host their website will now have to look for an alternative. Google graciously gave their users early notice. Other services might be so accommodating.

Another reason why you shouldn’t rely on big tech is because in doing so, even if the service does remain online for years to come, you end up getting locked into their ecosystem. This means you have to deal with the many accompanying restrictions, like rules and website functions. Want a new feature on your Facebook page? Good luck getting Meta to add it.

Besides that, in all honesty, a business without a dedicated website just screams “unprofessional”.

I mean, think about it from a customers point of view. If a business can’t be bothered to invest in a website, in today’s digital age, is it really taking itself seriously? Does it really want to make money? Doesn’t the business owner care about the venture’s online reputation? What would they do if scammers tried impersonating them? Would a business owner miss out on cost effective marketing? Don’t answer any of this, it was just rhetorical.

Okay, but what are the Benefits of a Small Business Website?

This is a common but very good question to ask. Let’s go over the most important reasons.

1. Most people will search online for a business before visiting or calling.

The customer’s first point of contact with a business usually happens at their website. According to Google, 83% of customers said they searched for a business online before visiting a store (ThinkWithGoogle.com). Some more surveys show that 1 in 4 shoppers are unlikely to visit a business if they can’t find them online (Digital.com). According to PR NewsWire, 76% of consumers look at a business’ online presence before visiting the store (PRNewsWire.com).

With these surveys in mind, ask yourself : Do you do the same? Do you look up the business you’re interested in dealing with?

2. Relying on other sites is a recipe for disaster.

Elaborating on a previous point, if you rely on other services like Facebook and Yelp to manage your online presence, you’re digging yourself a hole. Using these platforms means you’re at their complete mercy. Many things can go wrong with these services. For example, if you don’t follow the website guidelines to a “T”, your business page could be taken down. This includes all your accumulated reviews, posts, and pictures. Page removal can happen without any warning – and even by mistake. Facebook and other companies offer little help when these incidents occur, so its best to avoid the situation all together by not relying on others for managing your online presence.

3. Owning a small business website means you’re in control.

Big platforms like Facebook and Yelp offer little in terms of customization, functionality, brand identity and most importantly, independence.

A custom website lets you decide what others to see. You choose what info to share. You curate the content, make the layout, pick the colors and so on. Or you could just hire a small business web designer (just sayin’). Ultimately, with your own website, you have final say in every decision. And best of all, having your own small business website means you won’t have to walk on eggshells or deal with the uncomfortable feeling that comes with relying on big tech.

4. Small business websites are better for SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Sparing you all the technical mumbo jumbo, basically, a dedicated website is more likely to show higher up on Google than a Facebook or Yelp page. This is because websites are typically built with this in mind.

If you Googled Lawyer near me, you would see local attorneys over ones from out of state. This happens because Google prioritizes local businesses when people use “near me”. (And it also does this without you even having to add “near me”).

Google takes your location into account when you use their search engine. That’s why websites are so important for small businesses. They act as advertisements at the local level. Unlike TV, radio, or physical advertisements like fliers or EDDM’s (Every Door Direct Mail), a website can be updated and modified on a consistent basis, all while keeping costs to a minimum.

How Can I learn More About Small Business Websites?

There are plenty of resources out there for small business website, like this GoDaddy blog. If you prefer to stay local, you can check out more small business website articles on my blog.

If you’re looking for more information about small business websites or need to speak with a small business web designer, feel free to reach out. I specialize in helping small businesses establish and grow their online presence.

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