If you’ve ever wondered why is a website important for small businesses, let me share a story.
Recently, my husband did a very sweet thing.
He heard about this small business that had just opened, and they were really trying to increase their number of customers (aren’t we all !)
It was a business that sold hair accessories. He wanted to support the business, so he went ahead and bought a couple for me.
But here’s the thing…he was given the name of the business by his colleague. The first thing he did was check out their website.
He was convinced by what he saw, and only after that did he purchase something.
So the importance of websites for small businesses covers all aspects of your branding, marketing, and sales.
If you are a small business or freelancer, you may have put building a website on hold for a whole lot of reasons.
Maybe you don’t have the time/ skills/ resources, or you think social media presence is enough for now, or you may be generating enough leads and customers (lucky you ;)), and you don’t need a website.
Here’s why you do.
Why is a website important for small businesses?
A website is crucial for small businesses because it can help them achieve various business goals such as increasing visibility, reaching new customers, building credibility, and establishing a brand identity.
Here are 13 specific reasons why a website is important for small businesses:
1. Brand awareness
A website serves as the virtual storefront for a business, allowing customers to find them online and learn about their products and services.
You see, when my husband had to know more about the business, he just Googled the name of the business and found the website.
What is the purpose of a website, anyway?A website lets the world know that you exist. Your social media followers can know about you on social media, sure, but by having a website, you are open to the whole online world. #brandawareness #branding Click To Tweet
You can include all the information about your brand, products, services, and yourself, on the website in a design and format that exactly suits you. You are not restricted to your social media profile for establishing your brand and your story but can build an online presence that is much more powerful and in your control than social media.
And you open yourself up to a much bigger world, creating awareness for your brand with your target audience.
2. Get your website seen
A website is important as it can help your small businesses reach new customers who might not have otherwise known about you.
When you have a website, your target audience, searching for something on a search engine, like how to solve a problem they’re facing, and can land on your website. Even if they had not known about you before.
If they like what they see, they may tell others who may also be your target audience, who would also go and check out your website through a search or a direct link. So your website gets noticed by your relevant audience.
But it’s not just about visibility.
You can also get more traffic to your site by advertising on social media or on search engines.
3. Information sharing
You have almost unlimited space on your website to put up maximum information about your business and brand, which is one of the best advantages of having a website for your small business.
Besides products and services, you can add information about your business background, legal details, privacy information, way of working, details about the delivery of your product and service, and contact information.
It is your online brochure, to share with your target audience everything they need to know.
It can also include helpful pieces of content that can help your audience with education or entertainment about a particular topic.
You cannot share so much information on any other platform except your website.
And think about it. If you want your audience to invest in you by buying from you, wouldn’t you tell them as much about yourself as possible?
4. Brand love and equity
A website helps your audience to get acquainted with your company and build connection and loyalty through familiarity.
Once people have been checking out your brand and your social media profile(s) for a while, they would start engaging with you.
They could keep following you on social media, going back to your website repeatedly for more information and value, hopefully for a great user experience as well, and start remembering you.
If you work on your website and branding consistently, your audience will start to build a connection with your brand and remember you. You can use your website to create elements that would help you build strong brand equity with your target audience.
A website also immensely supports your brand evolution, because as your brand grows over time, you can tweak your website to support and reflect the changes as well.
5. Credibility and trust
A professional-looking website can help small businesses establish credibility with potential customers.
In my first example, after my husband checked out the website of the small business, he was satisfied that it was genuine. It was a good website, with a lot of information about the products and the owners, an authentic brand story, an office address, and a phone number. Even the social media profiles of the owners looked genuine.
And he felt comfortable ordering from them, even though he had never met these people. He told me later, he would never have bought anything from them, because they are so small, by just looking at their social profiles.
Even when it comes to hotels, for example, you may find a hotel on booking.com. Would you book it, if it didn’t even have a website? Would you trust it? I never do.
So your website helps you build credibility and gains the trust of your audience and customers. In the end, it’s trust that drives small business growth.
6. 24×7 availability
A website is always available to customers, even when the business is closed.
A website is critical for small businesses as it can mean sales. Your customers and target audience don’t have to be limited by any time restrictions to know more about you, no matter where they are based.
They can check out your information and endorsements at any time.
7. Endorsement through testimonials
Having a solid business website is essential if you want to build up your brand, and one of the best ways to do this is by utilizing testimonials.
People pay greater attention when they hear that someone else has had a positive experience with what you offer
In the example I mentioned above about my husband wanting to support a small business, a big factor that worked in his purchase decision was also reviews of women showing how they used the hairbands and how much they loved them. Real, authentic pictures by authentic people.
And since he doesn’t know anything about hairbands, he just trusted what other people have to say.
Who buys anything nowadays anyway, whether it be a product or service, without looking at reviews? Your website is one of the best ways to display your customer testimonials.
Also when people recommend your business to others, they just text them the URL of the website and leave the website to do the rest of the talking.
8. Reduce time and resources spent
Building a business website is a great way to reduce time and resources while still growing your company.
It makes it easier than ever to get in front of potential customers and drive brand engagement, freeing up more time for you to focus on other aspects of your business or spend with family and friends.
Recently I ordered a cake for my son at a bakery and chose that one as someone recommended them to me. But this bakery only had a social media profile with some images, no website.
I needed a specific kind of cake: a car-shaped one because my son is obsessed with cars, and I had no idea if they made that kind of cake or not. Also, what would be the price? What kind of flavors was possible? How much time in advance would I have to order?
So the bakery owner and I exchanged a ton of messages going over these details. In fact, when I contacted her, she first sent me all the images of car cakes she had done before. Then she told me the details one by one. Only if she had put up all this information on the website, that would have saved so much time on both our sides!
Here’s the cake…my son loved it 😉
If your target audience can know everything about you from your website, all details, including products/ services, brand story, your profile, and contact information, then they don’t need to contact you for any more details.
So you don’t need to spend your valuable time providing information one by one on social media or hiring someone to answer these questions. You save money, and you save time which you can use to run your business better.
9. Lead generation
You can use your website to convert your website visitors to leads through popups, email marketing, a CRM tool, or any mix of the above.
It’s just like if people entered your retail store or office, and left after giving you their business card and permission to be contacted. You cannot do that on social media.
10. Show professionalism
As a small business, it’s essential to come across as professional and portray the right values of your company. Having an up-to-date, well-crafted website tells your customers that you are a worthy, high-quality brand they can trust.
It costs a bare minimum to set up a website, just a few dollars. Just buy a cheap domain name from Namecheap, get a reliable web host like Siteground, Bluehost, Hostgator, or WPEngine, etc., install WordPress (for free), and you’re good to go.
You can get a website for as low as around $3 a month!
Related: What is SitegroundIf you want to be taken seriously by your audience as a credible brand or business, you have to take yourself seriously and get a website. If you don't make this tiny investment for your business, what brand message are you sending… Click To Tweet
When you have a website, you show up as a professional brand to reckon with, rather than a small office somewhere lucky to be able to see products/ services for a few dollars.
11. Get opportunities and sales
Your small business website is one of the most powerful tools to help you find more opportunities and grow your business.
In today’s world, your customers can come from anywhere. If you sell physical or virtual products through your website, then you can get customers potentially from anywhere in the world.
The same goes for service businesses that can work online. As a consultant, I get contacted by people all over the world, people who found me through my website. These are opportunities that I would not get if I didn’t have a business website.
12. Measure your data
A business website is a valuable tool for measuring your data and tracking your online performance over time.
Tools like Facebook Pixel and Google Analytics provide metrics that gives you a detailed understanding of who visits your website. You can know their age groups, gender, other interests.
You also know which pages they visit, how long they stay. In other words, which page/ content is relevant for them. If they leave you their business email, you can even know which types of companies they work for.
All of this information helps you create better marketing and content strategies and take the right decisions.
13. Customer support
A business website can help you support your customers, answer their questions, and improve your products or services.
If your business has good customer service, you can build a very loyal customer base who will stick with you. And repeat customers can spend up to 300% more on your brand.
Your website is an excellent platform to interact with your customers and answer their questions. Most marketing platforms nowadays provide a chat option. You can also put up a FAQ section on your website to answer your audience’s questions.
You can also set up knowledge bases, tutorials, and troubleshooting guides.
Otherwise, you can share your contact details and/ or social media profiles on your website and your audience can choose to reach you through the forum they are most comfortable with.
14. Showcase your value
A website is a fantastic platform to share your portfolio or case studies about the work you’ve done and the results you’ve achieved. And this is not just limited to service businesses.
You can also share the results of a product you’ve launched, whom it is popular with, and why it did so well. This also goes towards building your credibility.
15. Increase purchases with marketing automation
A business website can be a key component of a successful marketing automation strategy, helping to increase purchases and drive revenue for your business.
By integrating your website with marketing automation tools, you can track customer behavior and engagement, deliver personalized content and offers, and optimize your website for conversions.
For example, you can set up triggered email campaigns that are automatically sent to customers who have abandoned their shopping carts or visited specific pages on your website. Almost 30% of abandoned cart emails lead to a sale.
You can also create a membership website giving your customers a chance to create their accounts and store all their data and interests.
It gives your customers access to all their previous orders, their wish lists, and their previously downloaded resources.
Why is a website important for small businesses – Conclusion
If you’ve been thinking “do I need a website for my business”, remember that ultimately, your website is your #1 marketing, communication, and sales tool.
It is the central and focal point of integrated digital marketing.
Of course, no matter how many advantages or benefits a website has, it alone is not enough to drive business growth. Neither is advertising or social media.
In fact, it should be a hybrid model. You need a website to host your brand and business details as mentioned above. Then you need social media or advertising or both (plus backlinks) to drive traffic back to your website and make a sale/ generate a lead. You should also take care to update your website or do some redesigning when necessary, to get the maximum benefits for your business.
Check out my full post on what makes a good website.
Do you have any other points to add, about the importance of websites for small businesses? Or any comments? Would love to hear from you!