No business website? Why your small business is losing out.

I had an audition years ago while living in San Francisco in which the script called for me to talk about something called the “World Wide Web.” I recall two things quite distinctly. One, I didn’t have a clue what the World Wide Web was. And two, the phrase, interspersed throughout the script, was something of a tongue twister. (Try saying it three times fast.)

I don’t remember getting the gig. But I’ve thought of that audition now and then in the ensuing years – how it was a little part of history in the making. iStock_21910184-woman www

Today, I’m fully immersed in the World Wide Web – for work, information, entertainment, communication. And I’m not alone. 78.6% of North America is online the better part of every day. Look up from our devices, and the influence of the web is clear – web addresses, social media icons and quick response codes are emblazoned wherever we turn.

And yet I recently came across a surprising statistic.

According to a Yodle survey of a range of U.S. small businesses, 52% reported having no website presence. Digging a little deeper, statistics from Hibu showed only 6% of small businesses that do have websites are mobile-optimized – yet 91% of Americans own cell phones, 55% of them smartphones.

As a copywriter and small business marketing consultant, I believe, hands-down, in the value of a strong website presence. I consult with clients on the many benefits of staking a claim in today’s digital marketing landscape with a quality, well-thought-out site. You can find plenty of articles (online of course) about why your business should have a website. But if you’re a small business – whether a business of one or a company of a few hundred – and don’t have a site, here’s my two cents worth from my own little corner of the web.

8 reasons your small business needs a website

  1. You probably go to the Internet first yourself to research options as a customer – just like the majority of consumers. See a connection?
  2. You may not have a business website, but your competitor likely does. And if a competitor doesn’t, all the more reason you should.
  3. You establish credibility for your business with a professional website presence.
  4. You control your own website. It’s all yours. Unlike social media channels that call the shots on format and function – and constantly change the rules – your business website is your personal marketing kingdom. And with a good understanding of web best practices, you can shine.
  5. You won’t find a better investment of marketing dollars over the long haul. A well-produced, well-optimized, mobile-friendly website with quality content has staying power that provides unbeatable exposure both to your local target audience and beyond. Compared to traditional marketing expenditures, the ROI can’t be beat. Which leads to…
  6. You may be doing “OK” without a business website. But with a website, you can provide helpful product and services information 24/7 not only to your current customers – but to all those prospective customers you’re now losing to the competition (see #2). Increased exposure equals increased business traffic.
  7. You can grow a killer marketing strategy from a solid website base. A website provides the foundation for everything from social media engagement to email marketing to PPC. And remember that ROI? Repurposed website content can be used for brochures, print ads, lead generation campaigns – the sky’s the limit.
  8. You can be found – and contacted – more easily with a business website. Plain and simple. Which leads us back to #1.

I love this infographic, Grow Your Business Using Content Marketing from Dendrite Park. It provides a generous view of the many integrated content marketing options available to a business. But it also suggests that a quality, well-optimized website is the base, the source from which all other marketing efforts extend. Check it out. Keep it in mind.

Keep an eye on consumer trends while you’re at it. With web use only showing signs of increase, you won’t want to be the business without a business website.

Sources: Internet World Stats, Yodle, Hibu, Pew Research