The year is 2019 and you do not have a significant online presence yet?
You don’t have a website?
You’ve got no social media profile to speak of?
No videos showcasing your skills? Well, fortunately (or unfortunately depending on your viewpoint), you are not alone.
Even as of 2016, only 46% of businesses had a website. Less than half of all businesses.
Let that sink in a bit. Half of all businesses.
That would include website, social media accounts, videos, blog posts, guest posts, or anything else that would brand their business. That statistic is astounding when you think of how far the web has come. I
The world wide web has been maturing for more than 20 years now, so the time has come for you to put your business on the web for all the world to see.
It will take time, money, and effort, but if you don’t do it now, when will you do it? The longer you wait, the more content your competition will “publish.”
Here are 11 benefits a small business gains from creating at least one website.
1. Your Customers Will Find You.
You do want customers, don’t you? Of course you do. Your customers are already online, so if you aren’t, you are missing out a lot of sales. If they are not buying from you, then that means they are buying from your competition.
Of course not all of your customers are on the web. Most of them are.
If you’ve ever purchased a product online, then you know what that’s like. You researched the product, clicked on a site, made a purchase, and the item arrived 1-4 days from the time you entered your credit card.
You may have even done this with a service. The process is nearly identical.
Take a look at the hundreds of photos of millennials and their parents glued to their mobile phones to know that people are online.
That’s what they do; that’s what we do. If you’ve searched for a service or a product online, then you know exactly what this benefit is about.
If you’re not online, they will have a hard time finding you.
They are not looking at billboards, print advertising, television commercials, or listening to the radio.
They are searching for goods and services online.
If you aren’t where the people are searching, you’re practically invisible to them. Why make it difficult to find you?
2. Your Competitors Are Already There.
That’s not a threat of a sentence; that’s a fact. They are there.
Do a quick search for your service in your area. Who do you find? Your competitors.
A few years ago, the guys down the street – your competition – did the same search and came to the same conclusion: they needed to have a web presence.
And they got one.
And they’ve been building it ever since.
It cost them quite a bit of money because web designers back then were charging an arm and a leg for even a basic five-page site.
But it was well worth it.
Look at them now.
They’re still around selling the same products and services as you, but they have a distinct advantage. It may be because they took the plunge early enough to make a big difference.
If you were to ask them if it was worth it getting a web presence, to a business they’d say ‘yes,’ but that’s where their customers were turning.
But never fret.
“When’s the best time to plant a tree? 20 years ago. When’s the second best time? Right now.”African Proverb
3. It’s Easier Than Ever.
Easy peasy, lemony squeezy to get online now. .
Over the last two decades the internet has matured greatly. Has it ever!
Advances in technologies and methods have made it easier than ever to put up a website and begin getting some of that search traffic.
You don’t need a lot of skills to do it yourself if you want.
Plus, there are a ton of videos online that will walk you through step by step the process of establishing and maintaining a solid web presence.
4. Dominate Your Zip Code.
You can dominate your field in the zip codes of your choice.
This benefit does not get talked about a lot but it’s out there.
Those who know “the code” get it completely, and they’re not sharing the gold mind of good news.
Those who have no idea what this “code” is may never bother to ask about it.
What would you say if you had videos, websites, articles, and blog posts all that direct people to your company (if they’re searching for your service)?
Do you think you’d dominate your local market?
And you can even do this from the comfort of your own office.
No need for expensive billboards or corny television commercials.
If you have the gumption, you can certainly lead the way in your area of expertise, something most in your field are not doing.
Again, go to your search engine and look for keywords people would be searching for your products or services. Does anyone totally dominate the first page? Probably not. You can absolutely do it. In fact, the more you dominate the search engines, the more traffic you’ll automatically drive to your service or product.
5. Set and forget.
Most small businesses that have an online presence do not do a lot to maintain a good presence.
For them, it’s set and forget, but it doesn’t have to be.
In other words, if they wanted to drive more traffic to their sites, they could produce videos and write informative articles about their chosen careers.
I guess, set and forget would only be for those who are content with how their presence is. Taking your presence to the next few levels only requires a bit more work.
You don’t need to be labor intensive about it, but it should be deliberate.
6. More Affordable Now Than Ever.
Setting up a website is now more affordable than ever.
Some companies will even do it for free.
However, you should note, though, that they are large companies and they will make money from you eventually. So, yes, initially you can be set up for free, but there’s no such thing as a free lunch.
On the other hand, you can actually do it yourself with web design and hosting. It’s not as complicated as you’d think, but if you want to save money, you can certainly do that.
In this blog post, however, I talk about why small businesses should NOT design their own sites.
Of course, “affordable” is in the eyes of the beholder.
Two thousand dollars seems like a lot of money, and ten thousand seems so out of reach. It all depends on your starting point.
If you want to save yourself the time and aggravation, you’ll think that $2000 may be a bargain.
The other question you have to ask is, what’s your time worth?
Wouldn’t you rather be putting it into managing the business rather than some of the more technical details of a website?
Some like to tinker in their spare time, but is it the best use of resources? Only you can decide that.
7. Put Your Site Up Quickly.
Websites are incredibly quick to get up and running these days.
Going back to the technology angle, it is very easy to set up your own site or to have others set it up for you.
You can hire some companies to put up a site, and 24-48 hours after they get the proper information from you, your site is online for the whole world to see.
Back in the day, it took quite a few weeks to get your site up and running before you got a chance to see what you were getting.
If, by the way, a website cannot get your site up within a week, you might want to reconsider that company.
Technologies have made it very easy and fast to do.
8. Search engines reward great content.
In order to get search engines to look at you, you need content.
That content could be as simple as an About Us page, but more often than not, it’s a well-written blog article about what you do and how well you do it.
They value user experience. If your site gives the user a good experience and they remain for some time, you will be rewarded in many ways.
For that the search engines will reward you because you took the time to make it user friendly. The more articles and posts you have on your site, the higher the search engines appreciate your site, which translates into higher rankings.
Higher rankings then translate into more eyeballs on your site.
If your call to action is where it needs to be, someone will contact you either through an email or a phone call.
That’s ultimately what you want but it begins with having engaging content.
9. Search engines need your content.
Similar to the previous point, the search engines need your content to help you with your ranking.
Without you giving them input, the engines would go dead. They need engaging content.
In other words, they need you to help them, which will ultimately help you.
This again goes to the notion that ‘set and forget’ does get you a seat at the table, but producing regular content puts food on the table.
10. It Adds Authority.
If you’re not online, you do not exist in the eyes of your customers.
They begin to question you and your company, whether it’s fair or not.
I mean, everyone’s online, aren’t they? If not, why not? What do you have to hide? What do you have to lose?
More importantly, what do you have to gain?
Even though those are totally unfair questions, it’s what goes through the minds of your customers.
Developing even a bare bones website means you’re serious about your business and industry.
The more presence you have, the more authority you are perceived at having.
Again, if you are on the front pages of the search engines eight times (on one page), who is perceived as the authority in your industry?
It’s only a reasonable conclusion.
Now, there are reasons unrelated to your industry that got you to the top, but perception means a lot in this world.
11. It Adds Credibility.
All businesses need credibility and validation.
All people need to be viewed as credible for others to buy from us.
If you’ve ever received an email from a business that uses a Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, or AOL account, you’ll know the value of credibility. The thing is, I’ve known companies with valid domain names and websites that still use those free email services.
There’s no way that if you have your own domain that you can’t create your own email address. David@ThisIsMyWonderfulWebsite.com is much better than DFrancis email@example.com, don’t you think?
Even last week I was working with a client and I used my gmail address. They wanted to know quite a bit more about me before they’d work with me. Such is the power of a credible web domain.
Your customers are already there.
This is not a misprint. This was my first benefit, but it bears repeating.
Lastly and repeatedly, your customers are searching for the service you offer.
How do I know this? Just do a search on any search engine, and watch your competitors pop up in the results. If they are there, you should be too.
Trust me when I say it won’t be mean of you to knock them out of their coveted slot; it’s a business.
Will you let your competitors take business away from you?