If you have a website, sit back, nod your head, and let me know in the comments if I missed anything.
If you don’t have a website, read this, cringe, and be happy for the tough love:
I hate to break it to you, but you need a website.
I stumbled across an article recently suggesting that nearly 30% of small businesses do not have a website.
This blows my mind. It’s 2017, you need a website. It’s no longer an option.
Before we dive into why you need a website, let’s look at the top reasons why so many small business owners continue to resist.
Here are the findings from SmallBusiness.com:
Maybe these appear to be reasonable excuses, but in my mind these business owners don’t yet understand the value of having their own online property.
Not only will I convince you that none of these reasons are logical, but I’ll also provide a plethora of website benefits that should convert even the most stubborn of naysayers.
Declining social reach
With the influx of both consumers and producers on social media, the space has become far too crowded. Not only does this make it more difficult to stand out, it also means that reach decreases significantly.
Social networks use algorithms to serve the best possible content to keep their users coming back, rather than simply offering content in chronological order. This means that even if you’re posting content often, a good amount of your followers may not even see it.
Furthermore, not only are you competing with other businesses for space, you’ll have to deal with ads splattered all over the feed. People tend to ignore business related material on social because it’s more entertaining to engage with friends, fun brands, and influencers.
A scary stat: In 2016, Facebook organic reach dropped 52%. This effectively means that you’ve lost half the power behind your following. That’s a tough return on investment. I won’t even mention how low Twitter engagement is, it will only depress you…
No one owns your website but you
Owned content is valuable. Although can create solid content on social media sites with the likes of long form posts on Facebook, videos on Youtube, and personal blog articles on places like Tumblr, it’s best to house your content on your own personal property, a website. This safely guarded area is all about you.
No one can take away your traffic, decrease your reach, hold data back from you…
You’re in charge. You can create whatever you want and build it as big as you’d like, while retaining complete ownership.
Do you want to share your online presence with a company, or own it for yourself?
The lesson here: stay greedy.
It’s a whole lot easier to share an article on Twitter and comment on a photo on Facebook than it is to write a 1,000 word blog post and get people commenting on your articles.
But with difficulty comes credibility. Do you really know what you’re talking about? Prove it.
There’s no problem with sharing on social, I encourage it. But have a website that explains who you are and what you do, along with a library of content to back it up.
Look at it this way. How often do you scroll through someone’s LinkedIn posts or look at the old content on a company’s Facebook page?
If you’re anything like me, you don’t. You just head over to their website instead.
Creating a strategy that gets people to your website is great, and we can discuss it in depth another day. The main point is, once people come to your website, you can communicate with them, offer them value, and develop a relationship.
This may include sending them a weekly newsletter, adding them to your Facebook group, or scheduling a call. Your website and a bit of software automation can collect these leads for you.
Yes, you can develop relationships without a website. Commenting on blogs, engaging with fans on social, and emailing people. The problem with this is that the return on your efforts is smaller than if you had a website to centralize all your online activity.
With a website. you can continue to be active on several platforms but still have an informational main hub that acts as the connection between all the other platforms.
Ideally, your website becomes the intersection of the many platforms that you spend time on. For example, whenever you comment on a blog, there will be a link back to your website, or whenever you create social profiles you can add your website URL to your bio. If you build out these networks, potential customers will be naturally directed to your website.
That means more leads for you, and in a more scalable fashion.
Easy access to you
I’ve DM’d people on Twitter and Instagram, messaged people on Facebook, even written snail mail. But generally the easiest way to get in touch with someone is via their website.
You know they’ll have their preferred contact info there, so naturally it makes sense to go to their website and navigate to the about/contact us page.
If the consumer is thinking like this, shouldn’t you be helping them?
The easier it is to get in touch with you, the more opportunities can find you.
Did you know that the about page is one of the most visited pages on your website?
Gives people a chance to find you while browsing websites, forums, and social media
If you don’t have an online presence, no one can find you online. The beauty of the web is that it’s a network. Things are connected, and there are hubs of activity that act as points between other hubs and platforms. The connections you build come in the form of links.
If you don’t have a website, what will people link to when they talk about you? Yes, they could simply link to your social profiles, but that won’t do you much good.
I stumble upon websites all the time. Most of them are people I don’t know, and businesses I have never heard of. But by stumbling upon a website, the owner of the website has a precious opportunity to wow me.
If I like their content, style, products, etc. enough, I may choose to share a blog post, follow him/her on Twitter, or opt-in to a useful resource. In fact, not only is there a chance I can become a fan, but I can spread his/her message too.
That’s the powerful part.
Provide more info on products/services that you offer
A short bio doesn’t do much good for your business. It gives people a quick snapshot, but doesn’t really separate you from the billions of other social profiles out there.
Give people a chance to check out your website to learn more about your story, your products, your services.
If your call to action on Facebook is “Call me at xxx-xxx-xxx to learn more about my services”, you’re creating a high barrier for potential customers. They don’t want to make that commitment before knowing anything about you or your offering.
This means less leads for you. Make the process friction-less by having content that answers common questions and provides information on what it is that you have to offer.
Not only will people will be more willing to schedule a call, they’ll be higher qualified leads too.
Data is crazy valuable. It provides you the opportunity to make more informed future decisions. The beautiful part about the digital world is that you can track nearly everything, collect the data on it, and present it in an easy-to-digest format. Think web analytics tools, CRMs, and email marketing tools.
This means you will know how people arrived on your website, where they navigated to, how quickly they left, how many converted…
Furthermore, you’ll develop a better understanding of your target audience. Who is reading your material? Who is opting in to your content upgrades? What are their interests and how old are they? What percent are viewing and clicking on emails?
You can use the information you have collected to re-market to website visitors, nurture leads in your funnel, A/B test to higher conversion rates, and better align your company’s messaging with the target audience.
Professional looking email address
We’ve all seen an email address like this:
Pretty unprofessional huh?
Ya, I agree. With a website, you can get a free email address with your domain name via your hosting provider.
Then, your email will look something like this:
Just a tad bit more professional, and a whole lot more trustworthy.
People are spending more money online than ever before
We all know that people are spending more time online, but they are also spending a lot more money there as well.
Consider this: According to Business Insider, the National Retail Federation “expects total retail sales to grow 3.7-4.3% in 2017” whereas “online retail will grow 8-12%, up to three times higher than the growth rate of the wider industry”.
Still don’t want to sell online?
You don’t need to be tech-savvy
Software makes everything easier. Where one time only a programmer could get an ugly looking web page on the interwebs, now your grandmother can get a simple, well-designed website up and running in a matter of hours.
Content management systems like WordPress and Drupal make the process easier than ever, so a lack of technical skills has become an invalid excuse.
If this is your biggest barrier to getting a website, check out this resource from WebsiteSetup.org.
Your competition has a website
I hate this argument, but it’s true.
The guy who owns a bigger chunk of the local market already has a website. Whether he gets consistent sales on it or not, the fact that customers can look him up and read more about him, makes him that much better than you.
Why work at a disadvantage?
Unlike your store, it’s always open
Your physical location may be open 8 hours a day, 7 days a week, but your website is open 24/7. Also, you can’t be available all the time either since you need to sleep at night.
People want information when it is easiest for them, and with a website, they’ll have access to it whenever they want.
This helps to make the consumers life that much easier. The less friction, the better.
Customize anything and everything
You can only customize your Facebook page so much. Can a header image really make your brand stand out?
The beautiful thing about a website is that it’s all yours to customize. You can have full page galleries, videos, and blog posts, clean landing pages and killer copy. You may not be a designer, but by having your own online property, you have the ability to create something that truly aligns with your industry and brand message.
There’s no restriction on character limits, colors, or fonts. Make it your own.
From local to global
There are more and more people offering service online. Why? Because it increases their market share potential tremendously.
If you’re tired of searching for clients in only your limited local market, make the move to your own online property.
Due to the sheer increase in market size, you now have a larger pool of consumers that fit your ideal customer profile.
This means you can find more of the customers that suit your offering best, rather than wasting your time on customers that may not be a good fit, but live near you.
Long term win: SEO
Content marketing can be frustrating, time consuming, and even wasteful if you do it wrong. The beauty of creating and promoting content is that you can actually rank in Google, and drive “free” organic traffic to your website.
By no means is this easy, but by consistently creating quality content, your online property can become recognized as a knowledge center in your industry. As I said, this is difficult, takes time, and often requires some help from a professional. But it works!
Every business needs a website. Same with yours.
This may anger a few people. Maybe it will ruffle some feathers.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve reached your maximum customer limit, or it’s not an industry standard to have a website, or you’re already on Yelp, or you only have a few customers, or your reputation is already established, or you “only use social media”. These are excuses.
You’re afraid of growth, increased credibility, and the opportunity to take what you have to another level. Outsource the workload, sell products with your services, leverage your website content to earn more customers, use social media for promotion rather than simply creation.
Ultimately, you’ll generate higher revenue in the long run with a website than without one.
If you managed to read this entire article, you’ve consumed over 2,000 words of evidence.
Are you convinced that you need a website?
If you are, give this article a share. If you aren’t, let me know why you think you don’t need a website in the comments.