Does a Small Business Really Need a Website?

Q: My business is very small and can not really sell our products online. Do I need a website?

A: This is a great question. Well, this is actually one of the most important and most frequently asked questions of the digital business age.

Should your company have a website, even if your business is small and you don’t think you can sell your products or services online? Yes, if you have a business, you should have a website. Period. No question. Without a doubt.

Also, do not be so quick to dismiss your product as one that can not be sold online. Nowadays there is very little that can not be sold over the Internet. More than 20 million buyers are now online, purchasing everything from books, computers, cars, to real estate to jet aircraft. If you can imagine it, someone will figure out how to sell it online.

Let us clarify one point: We’re not saying you should put all your efforts in the sale of your goods over the Internet, but if your product is suitable for simple online sales, you should consider it. The point here is to determine that you should at least have a presence on the web so that customers, potential employees, business partners and perhaps even investors can quickly and easily find out more about your company and the products or services you have to offer.

That is, it is not enough that you only have a website. You must have a professionally designed website, if you want to be taken seriously. Since many consumers now search for information online to save before making a purchase at a brick and mortar, your website is the first chance you have to make a good impression on potential buyers one. If your site looks like it was designed by a brigade of colorblind gorillas, your chance of a good first impression is lost.

One of the great things about the Internet is that it leveled the playing field when it comes to the big boys in the competition. As mentioned, you have a shot for a good first impression. With a well designed website you can project the image of your small business and professionalism of a much larger company. The inverse is also true. We have seen many sites of companies that were so badly designed and hard to navigate that they completely lacked, professionalism and credibility. Good for you, too bad for them.

You mention that you are a small company, but when it comes to benefiting from a website, it does not matter what size your business is. We do not care if you are a one-man show or a 10,000-employee corporate giant, if you do not have a website, you will lose business to other companies.

Here is the exception to the rule: It’s actually better to have no website than one that makes your company look bad. Your site speaks volumes about your business. Either it says: “Hey, look, we take our business so seriously that we created this wonderful place for our customers!” or it yells “Hey, look, I let my 9 year old niece design my site. Good luck finding anything useful or anything at all!”

Your site is an invaluable, important part of your business. Be sure to treat it as just that.