A: In short, YES you do. For many reasons, but here’s an example of why you do:
Scenario: Your spouse calls on the way home from work and offers to pick up some dinner, mentioning a restaurant you both like. You don’t get to it often, so you want to look up their menu online to figure out what to get. You search but can’t find their website. It finally dawns on you that they don’t have one. Since you had not been there in a while and can’t remember everything on their menu, you decided to get dinner from another place.
That business just lost a customer.
According to Jupiter Research, half of all small businesses with less than 10 employees do not have a website and 7 out of 10 solo businesses do not have a website.
Americans are spending more time than ever online and statistics show that approximately 70% of consumers shop for goods and service using the internet.
If you don’t have a website:
- Can potential customers who hear about go online to check you out?
- Can current customers find out what your new offerings are?
- How many new customers will you get from those searching for your products or services online?
The bottom line is that you must get your business online – there’s no question about it. Having a website is as essential today as having business cards or a telephone number.
There are three main ways to get a website for your business:
1) Use a software-creation program to make your own (or have a friend/relative do it)
- How much time will it take to learn the web design software? How could you better invest that time?
- Does the design really look professional?
- Once you have the site up, how will you get the search engines to notice it?
- What will you do if you want more advanced options like a photo gallery, a forum, e-commerce, etc.?
2) Use a vended solution – Some industries have multi-user/shell websites that you can rent
- They have limited capability to customize the look
- They are not optimally designed or tuned for your specific business
- You pay every month to use it
3) Hire a professional to build a custom website
- You get the most professional looking results designed for your specific needs
- All the technical details are taken care of
- Domain, hosting, email addresses,
- Your site can be optimized for search engines (SEO)
- You can be trained to maintain it
- Someone is there to help you if/when necessary
The point is, today, there is no reason for any small business not to be online, and not just online, but online with a professional, powerful presence. That way, when a customer wants to find your products or services, they will.