Do You Really Need A Business Website?
November 4, 2018
You've been reading up on digital marketing, started your Facebook and Instagram accounts, and you're looking to take your digital presence to the next level. You need a website, surely. That's what all the guides are telling you to do. But what if they're wrong. Maybe, a website wouldn't aid your business in any way, shape or form.
Full disclaimer, I'm a website designer, so really, I don't want to deter you from getting your business on the web. The purpose of this post is to make the argument that not everyone needs a website. If a website won't benefit your business, then really, what's the point?
The functionality of your potential website would obviously dictate the benefits of a site to your business, this is a super generic guide. If you're after some more one-on-one advice as to what a website could do for your business, you can contact me here.
Communication with customers
If you're a café with weekly specials, it would be helpful to enable customers to find out what's on special right? Or maybe you're a gym owner, the classes you run and their times change frequently, so it'd be awesome to have a timetable customers could easily reference. If you've got a lot of information that you need to update your customers with regularly, then maybe a website is the best way to convey this information.
On the flip side, is a website really the best way to share this info with your customers? Would a simple Facebook post suffice to let the world know that your serving up a special of pizza for $10 this week? Given anyone who knows about your weekly special is likely a regular customer, I'd say it's fairly safe to say that (perhaps with a little persuasion) they shouldn't have any issues giving your page a thumbs up.
You would just need make sure your post isn't lost in your customers x-times daily social media scrolling. With this option, you're asking less of your customers (win). They're already scrolling through Facebook, they don't have to take additional time out of their busy day just to look at your website.
Limit your need for human resources - AKA save time
Have you got people constantly calling you and asking the same question? Give them the information on your site, and the phone will (fingers-crossed) stop ringing. It's easier for the customer - they don't have to call you. And, it's way better for you - goodbye answering the phone every five seconds.
Similarly, maybe you could speed up the customer journey by having people pre pay on your website. Another scenario could be if you use a lot of paper forms. Maybe they're for customer feedback, contact details, it doesn't really matter. What does matter, is that you probably find it challenging to keep a record of all of these, and maybe you've got to manually input all the data into Excel. That's not fun. A contact form (on your website) could easily capture customers' data and collate it for you.
Unless driving traffic to the site is going to make you money, then building a website to use as a marketing tool possibly isn't worth the investment. However, if people staring at your site will up your revenue, then why not expand the site to use it as a marketing tool. Content marketing is an awesome place to start, especially if you're looking to better the results of your integrated marketing campaigns.
On the topic of marketing, what is your competition doing? If all of them have websites, then what's your USP that means you don't need one? And, if they do have websites, what's the purpose of them? How do they provide value to their customers? Is it through educating with content? Or maybe through added convenience?
Risk vs reward
If you're still on the fence as to whether or not a website will aid your business, then let's go through the financials of having a website. Firstly, remember that your website represents your brand, and as such, terrible site = poor reflection of you brand. If you're going to get on the web, it's worth doing right. So what are we talking cost wise? If you're not 100% convinced you need a site, then it makes sense to have a super basic website that you can upscale later if needed.
My recommendation: use WordPress. Hosting and a domain will cost you about $10-15 a month. You can use a free theme, and a page builder if you're short on time. If you don't want to deal with the hassle of setting everything up, it'd set you back roughly $500 to outsource a basic site setup. To maintain the site time wise, what you put in is what you get out. But to just keep everything running smoothly, you'd need maybe an hour or two a month.
A website isn't going to break the bank, but if that money could be used somewhere with a higher ROI, then that might be the way to go.
Hopefully now you've got a better idea of whether or not you actually need a website? There's a lot of info out there saying it's essential, but realistically, if it's not going to benefit your business in any way then it's probably not worth it. Of course, if you can afford the cost of a site and think it might be beneficial, then why not give it a shot, if it works - awesome (on that note, flick me a message if you're after a web designer), if not - you tried, what are you going to try next?
Drop a comment below if your business has a website. Why, or why not?
Please note, a (*) denotes an affiliate link. I only recommend products/services that I’ve used personally and genuinely found useful/enjoyed.