Let’s get a little bit more informative as to how a website can help a small business. Years ago I used to get frustrated when I needed something and had to search through a pile of phone books all focused on different, but still local, areas. After finding the right one it now came down to what was I looking for; Did I know the name of the business such that I could find it alphabetically in the ‘White Pages’? Could it be considered ‘Government’ in which case I’d be delving into the always cryptic ‘Blue Pages’, or do I just have a general idea of what I’m looking for and therefore go to the categorically arranged ‘Yellow Pages’? Heck, I got slightly frustrated just now thinking about all that for a minute or so. Thankfully those days are gone (for most of us).
These days it is a lot easier to find services relevant to a particular problem, and find local providers of said services. As long as we can describe what the problem is, or what we’re looking for, in the search field (or address bar) of a web browser we are almost guaranteed to find a suitable solution, or at least a range of options, far quicker than via the old phone book method.
Let’s consider Plumbers as an example of a profession that might be benefitted by having a website. Now a plumber isn’t typically selling a product, they’re selling themselves, or selling a service to be more precise. They don’t need a virtual shopping cart integrated into their website, instead what they do need is to provide a list of services, maybe a couple testimonials from happy customers, maybe a little extra information on different types of piping if they feel so inclined to educate potential clients, there are options for sure. Most importantly however they need easily located Contact Information, and they need to show up in the SERP’s (Search Engine Results Page) preferably as high as possible, as the statistics presently have it figured out to right around 70% of searchers picking one of the top three results.
That’s pretty convincing, and makes it pretty apparent that Plumbers are one profession that, despite the fact that they’re not selling anything directly through their website, would be benefitted by owning a web page, and building a web presence (we haven’t even taken into consideration the urgency that a presently broken or leaking pipe lends to the necessity of finding a Plumber, and finding them quickly).
That’s really not the only reason though. A business having a website is almost an expectation these days, and the lack of one very often turns a potential customer off in regards to the perception of legitimacy of one business over another when one has an attractive website, and one does not. Let’s take advertising on Craigslist for example, which is a fairly common practice these days for a variety of small businesses. Let’s say that our Plumber from the previous example advertises his services on Craigslist periodically, and so do two other guys. Our Plumber has a website with his contact information, and services provided listed, and has a link to it in his Craigslist ad, the other guys don’t. Doesn’t his business look to be a lot more legitimate than the other two guys already? That’s still not it though. Tradesmen, Entertainers, Restaurants, Professionals (Doctors, Lawyers, etc), Stay at Home Mommies with ‘Work from Home’ Jobs and Hobbies (Blogs!), there is someone in just about every industry who would likely see their reach, and in turn their profits, increased by investing in a website.
Having a website built is an incredibly cost-effective investment in yourself, your brand, and in your business. Consider your monthly/yearly advertising budget, where does that money go? Flyers? Mailings? the Newspaper? the Phone Book?. None of those have the reach of the internet these days. Best of all, a website is a lot cheaper than you might think. Sure there’s an initial cost to have the site designed/built, but that’s a one-time charge pretty much, after which your costs come down to what more or less amounts to a small retainer fee, or case by case payment based on what changes are required periodically (there’s also hosting, and a domain name to consider as expenditures if you’re wanting to handle the administration yourself).
I haven’t touched a phone book in years (not counting my mourning deforestation while walking it to the recycle bin). At this point it’s just incredibly wasteful in my opinion the way that they’re mass-produced and simply thrown on your porch, or in your driveway, whether you want them or not. How much does a half-page ad in the ‘Yellow Pages’ cost these days anyways? Who even looks at the thing anymore? I’ll bet you could run a website for almost twelve months for the same amount of money, if not less (can’t be 100% sure since I haven’t looked into it) than that ad would cost you. I’ll bet you could run a website for a lot longer and a lot cheaper than it would cost to keep your ad in the newspaper for the same twelve months.
So, to recap, having a website:
Those are some pretty good reasons.