This is a question I see over and over again – do I, as a small business, really need a website? The answer is… it depends.
In the spirit of transparency I sell the service of marketing to small businesses: brand identity, building WordPress websites, social media set up and maintenance. However, I don’t recommend a website for everyone. While many people will say (including me) having a website is a minimum requirement for every business, in fact there are some instances where it isn’t needed.
Here are some things to think about:
- Do I know who my target audience is and where to find them?
- How do I plan to reach out to prospective clients?
- Am I comfortable using social media?
- What do I plan to sell?
- What is my budget?
The answers to each of these will impact the need for a website.
Who Is Your Target Audience and How Do You Reach Them?
The most important part of marketing today is understanding who your target audience is and where to find them. Do you want to sell to new mums? entrepreneurs? CEOs of large corporations? Each of these demographics are going to be found in a different place and have different expectations.
Anyone under the age of 30 is going to expect to find you on the web through social media of some kind – Instagram, Tik Tok, Twitter or whatever. Understand the expectations of your target audience and how they prefer to communicate. If they can find you and communicate with you on social media, you may not need a website.
For myself, when I am looking for service if I find someone who only has a Facebook page or no valid review I am less likely to buy from them. When I am shopping around I don’t find the information available on social media to be enough. I want to see an about page, contact information, pricing and maybe some customer referrals. I want to get to know them and their business.
Having said that, if you have a social media presence and you are happy with your marketing results then don’t worry about a website. You may be getting plenty of referrals and new clients with what you are doing now. Eventually, as your business grows you may need a website, but not right away.
What Do I Plan To Sell?
If you start out selling a single product or service you may be able to market that using social media without needing a website. If you are selling more than one product or service it can be complicated to effectively communicate the details of your business through social media.
For example in my business while I do offer WordPress Website services I also offer virtual assistance, digital marketing, email, and content creation services. It would be difficult for me to organise a marketing campaign around each of those services entirely on social media and be effective. A website allows me to present my suite of services in an organised way. I market through social media with links back to my website.
Utilising a website also allows me to analyse what gets the most traffic and from where. There are some software programs that allow you to schedule your social media posts and these can have analytics, but not as detailed as a website will have.
How Comfortable Are You On Social Media?
I am very comfortable on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, I’m also very comfortable with a WordPress website.
There are a lot of people who live and breathe social media on one platform or on many. If this is you, a website may not be necessary. As I said it really does depend largely on what your business offers. One of the best ways to express that individual personality is on social media; videos, podcasts, livestream and posts can all show who you are and make you stand out from your competitors.
While creating a website is also possible it does require a bit more planning and technology than posting videos on YouTube.
What Is Your Budget
The most common reason I hear for not having a website is the expense. Social media is free, web hosting generally is not.
The cost of having a website can vary widely according to the hosting provider, who creates the website and any additional software (Plugins) you might add to your site.
The expenses you should expect are:
- The domain name – this is generally an annual fee of about £40
- The hosting platform – this can start as low as £3 per month but you need to understand what you get for the money
- Website creation – if you are not comfortable creating your website you can pay someone to do it for you. Prices can be as low as £200 from some web providers to £1000+ from independent web developers. Understand what you are paying for before making any commitments.
In my opinion it is important for every small business to have at least a basic website once they can afford it. A website will present a more professional image to prospective clients than a Facebook or LinkedIn page. It will make you look more like a full time professional.
If you are interested in learning more about building a WordPress website, digital marketing or just want to chat, drop me a line.