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Why you need a website

Does a small business even need a website anymore?

Alex
Alex Johnson
Owner & Designer

One of the most common questions I keep getting asked is “Do I really need a website?” And it’s a perfectly valid question. With so many social media platforms out there, you can just as easily set up a Facebook page without all the cost.

In the old days of the web, creating a website was a specialist job. They required a decent knowledge of code plus how the internet worked, and it was not an easy job. When I started doing websites full time, WordPress was very much in its infancy and the dashboard was awful.

Fast forward to today. Social media changed the web forever. The technology became a lot simpler. You don’t just have WordPress or a custom-coded website, but you can jump on a plethora of website builders and create a website in a single afternoon.

But what’s the difference? If you can create a Facebook page in a couple of minutes and bam you are open for business, why have a website at all?

A website is your space

We saw it with the 2016 and then again with the 2020 elections, the stories being shadow-banned over mentioning something that did not align with their narrative. Social media outlets such as Facebook have 100% say over what is posted or not on their platform. If your business post does not perfectly align with what they want, it’s history. And you might not even know it.

A website is your space
A website is your space

When you have a website for your business, it is your business’s space alone. You can post what you want when you want to post it. You are open to talking about any topic or selling anything from it. Obviously, legal laws still apply. But you have the freedom to show up as you are and talk to who you want to talk to.

One of our clients runs a website that is all about promoting constitutional rights. It has conservative views that are not always popular. Another client runs a site promoting ministry and God. But it’s not just these topics. Anything might be considered taboo tomorrow and blocked.

 You can avoid this pitfall with your website.

Pay-to-play is all too common

Years ago, your business had a great chance of showing up online whenever you made a post on Facebook or Instagram. Today, economies of profit have consumed social media. If you want to be seen, you need to pony up some cash.

The algorithm is trained to detect when your business page posts something, or when you talk about a business topic, and it responds by hiding your post from all but a few of your most loyal followers. Business talk is boring. Sales all day are boring.

People want to see the post from Grandma or Sara’s new baby, but not your business. It even works this way in groups. If the group is not insanely active with topics that are not boring, they don’t even bother showing it to you.

Good luck growing without running ads.

Search engines can’t rank what does not exist

If you want to have any chance of showing up in local results, you must have two key things: A Google My Business Page and a Website. Google uses this information to create a profile of your business, who it serves, and how you should be shown to those people.

Search engines need to know you exist
Search engines need to know you exist

Great, you can create thousands of posts on X (formerly Twitter) helping people with little questions. But those topics mean nothing to Google. And in turn, they mean nothing to the people who are not on X and can’t find you when they search for “How do I fix this?”

A website is a place for your content. A place where you can talk your business up and people will totally expect it. Having a website means that you get to talk all about how you fix that thing. And Google is more than happy to jump on board and share it with just the right people when you take the time to do it right.

As it was recently put in a podcast I listen to: Google is your wingman. Give Google the best possible chance of providing you with the customers you want by giving it as much information as possible about who you want to work with and how you can help them. Don’t burn your wingman.

Your professional self looks better

If your business needs to build trust with its customers (and almost everyone does), your website is the best place for those customers looking to increase their trust in you to find what they are looking for. It doesn’t just come from reviews of your latest widget. It comes from learning the awesome history of how your business makes the widget from special wood and natural what-nots. It comes from learning about who you are.

Trust is more than just a photo
Trust is more than just a photo

And it’s more than just awesome photos, it’s your whole business. What it represents, how it presents, and what you offer.

Would you rather wade through years of social media posts looking for what they use to make your favorite soap, or jump on their website and find the ingredients list in seconds?

Your website is the space people expect to come to find key details about your business. When you have a website, people see you as more than just a hobby business here today and gone tomorrow. They trust your business. Plus, they get to meet the real you, without so much effort in searching social media while being interrupted by the next video of a dog driving a car between each post.

Your top competitors already have one

Sure, it’s a me-too style of world. But why do you think that they already have a website? A website done properly is not just a brochure, it’s designed to get people from point A to B.

Look to your competition
Look to the competition ahead of you for direction.

Many of the businesses in your industry already have a website. Look at those that are far ahead of you. Why do you think they have a website? Since any savvy business owner should be reviewing their expenses vs income regularly, for them to keep a website must mean it’s doing something for them.

Since your competition is already showing up in these places, don’t you think you should show up there too? Especially if you are both serving the same basic customer. Your best chance of getting more customers is being where they are. Believe me, they are out there searching. They are out there asking friends. Your website is one more way they can find you. And if you do it right, your website could be memorable enough to get those friends to remember your business over someone else.

Conclusion

Your small business needs a website. It always has. But the waters become muddy when so many options are put in front of you. Hopefully, this article helps clear the muck and show you why having a website is such an important tool for your business.

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