Many small business owners question whether they really need a website, when their products or services can’t be easily sold online. In fact, it’s probably one of the most frequently asked business questions of the digital age. Any professional marketer will tell you emphatically, YES, your business needs a website. Even if the business is only you. Even if you can’t imagine selling your services online. And by the way, don’t be too quick to discount selling your services online. With billions of consumers now online, purchasing everything from computers, to airplanes, to industrial equipment, to natural gas, it’s hard to imagine anything that couldn’t be sold online. If there’s profit to be made, someone will figure it out.

There is also sometimes a misconception about potential customers searching online for niche products or services. Many business owners think because they don’t have time to use a computer, neither do their customers.  The facts simply don’t support this. Following are 10 reasons why every small business owner, regardless of the business, needs a website.

  1. A website makes your business credible.

When a consumer is looking for a service provider, even if they first ask friends and neighbors for recommendations, they will undoubtedly go to the internet to research their options. With a professional looking website, you gain instant credibility when compared to other companies. Whether your business is a one man show, or larger, the playing field is leveled with a website that promotes your business well. The key is having a professional-looking site. Since so many people search online first, before going to a brick-and-mortar business, your site may be the only chance you have of making a good impression.

  1. A website saves you time.

Providing information to potential customers can be quite time consuming, whether it’s in person, over the phone, or just sending out brochures or emails. A well-developed website can function as your best sales person. It can communicate everything important about your business and answer most questions that potential customers have. Websites can also function as a digital assistant, with RFQ submittal forms, the ability to schedule appointments or take credit card payments online, and more. Once your site is up and running, it’s available to serve you and your potential customers, 24/7.

  1. A website saves you money.

Many small business owners think they can’t afford a professional website, but the truth is that they can’t afford NOT to. Businesses without websites are losing customers to their competition, daily. Even if the cost of developing a site is prohibitive, there are alternatives to consider. For instance, there are web development companies that “lease” websites that are already ranking well in searches. Often referred to as “rank and rent” websites, there are no development fees and no time commitment on the part of the leaser. If a company doesn’t already have one in your service category, they will develop it, usually with a 6-month contract. For a nominal monthly fee, you get the benefits of a professionally developed website, along with the leads it generates.

  1. A website allows you to showcase your work.

It used to be that companies spent large sums of money on slick brochures that showcased their work. Today, anyone with a smart phone and a website can show every stage of a project, from start to finish, in real time. Even better than pictures, video is a great way to document a project. Include a portfolio or project gallery, along with customer testimonials, on your website. There’s no better way to instill confidence about your skills and experience with potential customers.

  1. A website allows you to market to a broader audience.

Even if your primary service area is typically only within one small community, the internet makes it possible to capture business from nearby areas as well. Search results are now delivered based on the location of the person searching. Results are not confined to one subdivision, or zip code; but rather, a broader net is cast. Your business may be exposed to people who live outside of your immediate region, but are close enough to do business with. Particularly if you sell a niche product or service that is harder to find, people are willing to go further to buy.

      6. A website is a great communication tool.

A website can function as your online brochure or catalogue. Information can be updated in a matter of minutes, which makes it an effective way to keep customers informed about current products, special promotions, new services you offer, as well as news about your company. Does your business sponsor local events, or contribute time or services to local charities? Use your website to keep your customers informed. More and more, people want to do business with companies whose values seem to align with their own. A website is the perfect way to put a human face on your business.

  1. A website gives you a platform to promote your expertise.

Regardless of your type of business, if you’ve been at it for many years, you no doubt have enough experience from which to draw to educate potential customers. For many buyers, self-education is the first step in selecting a product or service provider. The more you can position yourself as an “authority” in whatever your industry, the more likely you are to get an inquiry from someone who is in that stage of the buying cycle. If you’re not a writer, no worries. There are many professional internet content developers who can take any industry and come up with a list of hot topics – then they do the writing. In the Kingwood area alone, there are two companies with many years of experience: Marketects and Apache Interactive. Give either of them a call and they’ll take responsibility for your site’s content development and make you look like a guru in your field.