Six years ago, the thought of owning a website seemed unimportant to me. My best friend had set up a free site through angelfire.com. I remember thinking to myself, what can a website do that a telephone or the yellow pages can’t? It seemed like a waste of time to put his information online, especially since the only people who visited his site were in our group of friends and knew the extremely long web address needed to even find it. I had discussed with my best friend whether or not a website was a good idea, and the only answer he could give me was, ‘shut up, it’s cool’. This didn’t really answer the question but got us into one of many fights in our younger days.
I’m sure many small business owners ask themselves the same question. What can a website do that the telephone or the yellow pages can’t? Being old fashioned, it may seem hard to realize that besides the television, the internet is now the second largest form of advertising. It has become the new yellow pages. (In fact, the Yellow Pages even has a website now) Some small businesses may not be able to keep up with more business, being booked solid off of a few calls a month from people who saw them in their local yellow pages. But this shouldn’t matter.
There are a number of advantages to putting your business online, even if you have no desire to grow as a company. As more1 and more people look to the internet for their information, the phone calls to your small business will dwindle off to an occasional ring. Why call a number and a name to fire off ten questions about the business, when you can read one or two pages online and in less time come to a conclusion about the company. As a small business owner, do you have the time to sit there answering phones, answering repetitive questions about yourself? Below, I’ve detailed the six major reasons how having a website can benefit your small business, no matter how small your company is.
- Get more business! Use your website as a 24-hour marketing tool. It’s fast, easy, and doesn’t require an employee to sit and answer phones.
- Who we are. Use your website to tell people who you are, and what you do. People form their own conclusions about you, so why not give them some solid information to base this conclusion on.
- Show off. Whether you sell a product or a service, no one is going to pay you money without first seeing what you are capable of. The old saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words” never fit better.1
- Professionals. Having an attractive website helps to convey to customers that you are a professional business, and gives them more confidence in your capabilities.
- Contact us! Answering phones, although direct, takes time. Having a contact us form on your website allows interested people to inquire about your services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can get as descriptive as you want with a contact us form, ensuring that required fields are filled in before they can submit any requests.