For a large chunk of the day, most people are navigating the world online. They're searching for things, doing research, browsing social media and making purchases.
Shouldn’t your business be part of that?
It should. So why is a website important for a small business? Having a well-designed website is the first step towards getting in front of customers' eyes online. There are a number of benefits of having a website for your small business. We interviewed marketing experts to find out just what these advantages of a website for small businesses were. They came up with 15 examples of how a website can benefit your business to prove it to you.
Benefits of Having a Website for Your Small Business
Of the almost 7.9 billion people on Earth today, approximately 5 billion of them have Internet access. All of those 5 billion people are getting on the Internet to shop, share and search. Your small business can have a small piece of the pie; all you need is a website.
With the worldwide web at our fingertips with almost 6.4 billion smartphones in the world and 68.1 percent of web traffic being from mobile devices, a website, especially one that is mobile-optimized, is critical to any modern small business. You want people to be able to learn about your business, no matter what device they use to browse the Internet.
Still need a little convincing? Here are 15 benefits a website can bring your small business, according to the experts.
1. Establishes Business Existence and Presence and Provides Information
In its simplest form, a website is an easy-to-find digital space where you can share useful information with your customers and potential customers. Your website tells customers that your business exists and communicates useful information, such as:
Hours of operation
What products or services you sell
Where your business is located
How to contact your business
Brand information to show the personality of your business
A website is an effective and cost-efficient tool to communicate with customers that your business exists and provide them with useful information.
2. Builds Credibility
While a website is a great tool to communicate useful information to customers, it can go even further than that. A website proves to potential customers that you’re a credible business. For many customers, your website gives customers their first impression of your business. For many businesses, your customers may never meet the owner in person or enter your brick-and-mortar store. A website builds credibility for the customer and shows them you’re a reputable company.
While having a website is the first step towards building credibility through an online presence, you also need to make sure your website is well designed and follows Internet best practices such as using keywords, writing for SEO and linking. One way to get more notice from search engines is “by building links from other authoritative sites back into yours on the Internet — this shows credibility in what they see on their screens,” says Danny Veiga, founder of Danny Veiga Marketing.
Through your online presence and website, you can build brand credibility with future customers.
3. Shows Potential Customers Your Brand
One of the many struggles of a small business is showing customers why they should choose you over your competitor. One way to do that is to differentiate your business through branding. Your website can show your customers your business’ value proposition and mission. This will help customers decide to choose your business over your competitors.
4. Tells Customers About What You Do
This might sound so simple it shouldn’t have made it onto the list, but one of the benefits of a website for your small business is that it tells your customers what you do. And, when you communicate well to customers about what you do, they’re more likely to buy from your business. But, you have to do it right.
“There are a lot of website designers who can make a beautiful site that does absolutely nothing for the business except show as a digital business card or portfolio,” says Channing Muller, Principal at DCM Communications. “To be truly effective, your site should tell (and show!) what you do AND who you do it for. That’s called lead generation and qualification, at least at a very basic level.”
When you use your website to tell your customers what you do and who your brand is, it helps your business to grow and find more customers.
5. Helps You Stay Competitive
A website benefits your business by keeping you relevant and competitive. With the majority of the world online, it’s a good bet your competitor has a website. And if you don’t, you’re really not much competition.
6. Gives You a Place to Sell Products and Services
With the meteoric rise of ecommerce businesses, one of the biggest benefits you can gain from a website for your small business is to be able to sell your products and services online.
Selling products and services continues to get easier with new and better tools being built for ecommerce. Muller shares, “Shopify is the go-to for ease of use on the back end too, particularly if you are selling tangible products. If you are selling digital products, Squarespace works very well and though it has a LOT of options for designers like me, it also is very intuitive on the back end and clean, so it’s not overwhelming to new designers/business owners.”
While some businesses have jumped on the ecommerce train, others choose not to sell their products on their website. But, a website is not only for selling products, it’s also for marketing your business. “A business website is one of the most effective ways to market your products and services,” says Amira Irfan, Esq., Business Lawyer, Blogger and Coach at A Self Guru.
“It allows clients to easily see what you offer, how much everything costs and learn more about you and your reputation.”
8. Captures Browsers and Online Shoppers
Laura Rike, Pinterest Strategist at LauraRike.com, shares that “it is incredibly important to have a website, especially in this time of a pandemic/post-pandemic, because so many people have increased their online shopping, even for purchases they make offline.”
A website can benefit your business by introducing customers to your products before they make a purchase. While they may not have set out to find your business or buy your product, they may discover it while browsing and then decide to buy it or visit your business in person to learn more.
9. Lets Customers Shop 24/7
One of the revolutionary changes and benefits of websites is that customers are no longer bound by traditional store hours. With ecommerce and online shopping, customers can access your store and spend their money all day, every day. Your online store is never closed. No matter when it’s convenient for your customer to shop, your store is available, no breaks necessary.
10. Allows You to Share Your Portfolio
For creatives and artists, it can be difficult to attract customers without them seeing your work before. Your website can act as a portfolio. One of the many benefits of the website is that it can be tailored to your business to best sell your product.
For many small businesses, that’s less about actually selling the product and more about selling the brand and building a relationship with the customers. A portfolio website can benefit businesses that are looking to build relationships with customers, not just sell a one-and-done product.
11. Establishes You as a Thought Leader
A website gives you the control to market your business to customers in any way you want to. One way to market your business is by establishing yourself as a thought leader. According to Irfan, “a website also allows you to create a blog to establish yourself as an expert by creating educational content for your readers.”
12. Makes You Discoverable Via SEO
As a business, you want customers to know about you and to buy your products. Before that can happen, they have to find your business. SEO or search engine optimization makes it so that customers can find your business. Sasha Matviienko, Director of Digital at growth360 says that “building a website and getting it to show up on search engines establishes a presence for your brand in the online universe and can get you all the benefits that come with being present.”
13. Exposes Your Business to New Customers
As any business owner knows, one customer is great, but it’s simply not enough. As a small business, you must constantly be marketing your business to find new customers. A website can benefit your business by helping you to find new customers.
Matviienko shares this example: “Let’s say you own a local restaurant or a small grocery store. Imagine a consumer who is driving by, walking around your area or is planning a trip through the area where your business is located. Let’s say they search for ‘grocery store in XYZ area.’ If your business pops up, chances are, you get the sale. But you won’t be considered if you don’t have a website.”
Without a website, you lose out on a lot of new customers who are looking to buy a product similar to the one you sell simply never finding out about your business.
14. Gives Customer Insight Via Analytics
While finding a customer is the first step in making any sale, once that sale is made, it’s now up to you to keep that customer and make another sale. To maintain a relationship with a customer and keep making sales, you need to better understand your customers. To do this, you need data.
A business website can provide you with that data. With tracking tools, you can gain information about your customer and understand who is visiting your website and how they’re interacting with it. This data can help you to improve your website, your products and your sales tactics. One of the most common data tools is Google Analytics, which is free for most small businesses.
15. Saves Money
While you might be doing the math in your head about hosting fees, the cost of building a website, and paying someone to write your website content and coming to the conclusion that a website is expensive, let’s flip that logic around.
A website can not only make you money through ecommerce, it can save you money as well. Having a website can eliminate overhead costs such as paying rent for a physical location, paying staff to operate the location, paying for utilities and paying for customer service to answer a phone.
A website is a great way to sell products, handle customer service and build relationships with customers — all of which can save you money over having a physical location.
What Is the Greatest Benefit for Small Businesses That Have a Website?
There are so many reasons that a website can benefit your small business. But in the end, there’s just one to top them: “Quite frankly, it’s presence,” says Muller. “We are in a digital age. If you don’t have a website, less people are able to find you via search engines and you are reliant on word of mouth. Plus, let’s say that word of mouth does get around to someone new wanting to learn more about you; if they don't see a website, they could very well think you are out of business OR not a legitimate one. Websites = social proof. They are just as much a requirement of doing business as a bank account.”
A website can bring your business so many different benefits. But, when it comes down to the nitty-gritty, you need a website for your small business to show customers that you’re a real, legitimate business and that you take your work seriously. Now that you know all the benefits of a website for your small business, the only thing left to do is to get started building your website. Our partner Wix has hundreds of templates to choose from and can get you a mobile-optimized website up and running quickly.
Page is a freelance content marketing writer with experience writing about small business, the future of the workplace and health. She also operates a weekly email newsletter where she shares advice on living an authentic, intentional life. When not writing, you can find Page traveling, fostering older cats and working as a sexual assault advocate.