The answer to this question isn’t so simple as it may seem on the surface.
It depends on a few questions and answers:
1. What type of business is it?
Some businesses such as a one or two person local barber may not want or need one. They may not cater to a large clientele and prefer to be small with their local and loyal clients.
On the other hand, a small business that wants to grow and has the potential to service clients nationally or globally would be foolish not to have one. Without a website their is little chance of reaching a global or national market. It also allows any business selling products to be able to sell 24/7 without anyone needing to be in front of the consumber.
2. What type of product or service are you trying to provide or sell?
This is one area that some people have a hard time coming to grips with; just because you think your product is the greatest thing since sliced bread….the public at large may not.
I had a client many years ago who wanted a site to sell his product online. He painted rocks to look like strawberries. Yep, and he couldn’t figure out why the weren’t selling. The answer was obvious….the rocks were in his head. No body wanted to pay someone for a stupid rock painted to look like a strawberry. With or without a website….the product was doomed to fail.
3. What do you expect the site to do?
Do you expect to sell from it? ….get leads from it? …provide information from it?
This is important because if you expect the site to generate leads for you but you haven’t provided any reason for leads to be generated the results will be less than favorable. For instance, have are there any “calls to action” on your site? Have you done any online and offline SEO? Does your site just talk about how great you and/or your business are but nothing about what the consumer benefit; the “What’s in it for me?” Or are you using PPC ads to drive them to your site?
Without some of these your lead generation site is ghost town. But remember, if these are done and no one buys your service or product….you need to examine if your product or service has any value to consumers.
If the site is designed to provide just information, whether intentional or not, don’t be upset when it doesn’t generate leads.
4. Is the site to reach a local, national or global market?
At first this question may seem irrelevant but its not from this standpoint. If your small business has sites on becoming a national or global brand, it can’t become one without a website. Amazon would not exist without a website. Ebay would not exist without a website. And Sears and Pennys are dying because they refused to change from their previous models of doing business.
Another reason I believe websites are essential for MOST businesses is simple. Many people don’t like to have to talk to people about what they want or need initially. They like to “kick the tires” from a distance without having someone watching over their shoulder. Its like buying a car. Most people hate to go to a car dealer because they pounce on you like a vulture to dead animal. People used to go visit car lots on sundays to avoid salesmen. Just the thought of going to a carlot gives people an uneasy feeling because of the perception of being hounded. Its the same with other busiesses as well. Having a website allows consumers to examine you, your business, your product or service without feeling pressured. Its a safe environment. So coming to your office or business is not going to be perceived as being as comfortable an environment. So when they finally do reach out to you, they’ve already decided they’re considering purchasing from you.
In conclusion, not all businesses want or need a website but the number who don’t are few. But the caveat is this, building your own site with some of the DIY programs create sites that don’t work on many levels.
One, unless you’re a web designer and know how to use the programs don’t waste your money; ugly sites with poor content and no thought of SEO are worse than not having one.
Two, if you were good at web development or marketing you wouldn’t be in whatever profession you’re currently in. Its like doing brain surgery on yourself….you’re just going to end up hurting yourself. The problem is that many business owners have the misconception that since they may be good at one thing they’re good at everything; which is why many of them fail.