Do I need a website for my small business?

We are often approached by potential clients who want to know what kind of results they can expect from having a website. The answer depends greatly on what kind of business they operate.

This may sound obvious, but as a rule of thumb any business that people would use the internet to search for will benefit greatly from having a site!

Examples of these kinds of businesses are: holiday and general accommodation, restaurants, cafes, product manufacturing, design, transport, hire, vineyards & wineries, home-based businesses, specialty foods – the list really is endless as these days the internet is often the first method people use to search for a business.

There are a few kinds of businesses that would usually gain little benefit from a website. They include: local shops, ie: general stores, bakeries, takeaways, hair dressers and the like that depend mainly on ‘walk in’ and local customers. The exception to this general rule is for these kind of businesses that offer other services – eg: a bakery that also provides a catering service.

If you are still not convinced of the likely benefits to your business, have a read through these points:

Why should my business have a website?

1. To provide basic information that establishes credibility – just as a listing in the Yellow Pages shows you are serious about your business, having your own company domain reinforces your legitimacy as a serious business.
2. To provide a map showing your business location. Sometimes finding you is the hard part!
3. To sell and promote your products and/or services. Customers explore alternatives over the web before buying.
4. To make business information readily available to your customers and clients.
5. To provide easy contact information – phone numbers are long and difficult to memorize in a couple of seconds. It is much easier to memorize a name, and append to the end.
6. To reach your local market. The web reaches the world, but customers use it for local information as well.
7. To be a free receptionist. Use your web site to answer your most frequently asked questions rather than field phone calls.
8. To reduce costs, by displaying your products on the web instead of printing costly brochures.
9. To disguise the fact that you are a small operation. You may have a small home-based business and that may put some off – a professional web site says that you are a serious business without divulging your size!
10. To stay in contact with salespeople, customers and suppliers.
11. To test market new services and products. You may also learn that you have a market you hadn’t thought of.
12. To easily publicise specials you are offering. Couple this with e-mail promotion to your existing clients.
13. To reach the media. Newsletter editors may like something on your site and refer to it in their articles.
14. To reach specialised or international markets.
15. To enhance your business relationships.