Do I need a website for my small business? As a small business owner it’s a legitimate question to ask. Websites do require a monetary investment. But, even more importantly they require a time investment. So, considering the money, time, and effort it takes to maintain a successful website for your business it also makes sense to consider whether or not you actually need one.
To help answer that question, consider this analogy. About four months ago I saw a package of phone books being delivered to the building where I work. The two shrink-wrapped stacks of Yellowpages adorned the center table-piece of our building lobby for about two weeks. At that point, someone got tired of the eyesore and moved them to the corner, sitting them in the floor by the elevator. They sat there for another six weeks until they finally disappeared (I’m assuming to the recycling bin).
It used to be that when a customer wanted to find your business, they picked up a phone book. And, while millions upon millions of phonebooks are still delivered to homes and businesses each year, the amount of people who actually use them is decreasingly small. Not only that, but a recent study released by the Pew Research Center states as of early 2012, that 55% of adults use their cell phones to connect to the Internet. Add to that the fact that nearly two thirds of American households now have broadband Internet, that 94% of U.S. adults with a college degree and 97% of U.S. adults making more than $75,000 per year use the Internet at home, and you begin to understand the importance of having an online presence for your business.
About small business websites, Better Business Bureau spokesperson Alison Southwick says,
“A Web site is practically a necessity for attracting new customers in today’s marketplace, but many small business owners haven’t made the time or found the resources to create one. Depending on your business and current online presence, a Web site might just be the key to surviving and even thriving in this tough economy.”
Another study released by Pew Research in mid-2010 shows that 44% of online adults say they have searched online for information about someone whose services or advice they sought in a professional capacity, like a doctor, lawyer, or plumber: While 58% of adults conduct online research before purchasing a particular product.
It’s also worth considering that each of the aforementioned statistics continues to trend upward from year-to-year with no sign of declining.
So, it doesn’t take a lot of research to find the evidence to suggest that, in order for your business to be competitive in today’s market, it needs an online presence. And, the easiest way to control and maintain that presence is to have a company website. It’s no coincidence that you won’t find many market experts saying otherwise.
The saturation of the Internet in American homes and the saturation of Internet ready smart phones in the U.S. has made for a new marketplace wherein it is difficult for a business to survive without a positive online presence; which means the question of whether or not to have one almost answers itself. When it comes to investing in your small business, a strong online presence is a virtual necessity and can go a long way in helping you attain your business goals. And, having a company website (even if it is small and simple) is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to manage that presence.