According to a recent estimate in the Republic of Ireland, only 46,061 businesses have their own websites, a far cry from the suggested CSO figure of 141,000 websites.
OnlinePages.ie, a new company that has created an online search directory of the number of business websites in the country suggests that there are just 179 electrician websites in the country, 231 plumber and just 88 sites for painter/decorators. They haven’t of course “logged every site but, by checking large random samples of sites against their database, they are very confident to have captured at least 74% of all sites out there.”
I know you’re thinking…”So what, why would my business need a website, we’re a small one person company, it doesn’t really matter that we don’t have a website.”
Well here are five very good reasons why every business, no matter how tiny needs a website
1. Customers use the Internet to research goods and services before buying
What many businesses don’t realise is how MANY people are using the internet to research and to ultimately purchase goods and services. It is estimated that by 2020, the project value of the Irish internet economy will be €21.1Bn. In 2014 alone €5.9Bn was spent online by consumers and this is projected to rise to €12.7 Bn by 2020.(Source: The Second UPC report on Ireland’s Digital Future).
So it IS happening, people are buying more online. Not only that but they are also using it to get a better understanding of products/services. Nearly nine in ten regularly use the internet to help them find better deals and/ or make better purchases, while seven in ten have used it to research products before buying them locally.
That is the single biggest reason for any business, no matter how small to have a website. People, your potential customers are using the internet for research and ultimately to spend their money on goods/services. If you’re not online, you’re invisible. And this is so important I’m going to say it again, IF YOU’RE NOT ONLINE, YOU’RE INVISIBLE.
2. Your Competitors are already online
You may not be convinced that you need to be online but you may be sure that your competitors are. And if potential customers are searching and they find your competitors, then you’ve lost a sale and maybe more than one. Yes you may be lucky to be recommended by your current customers, which is great but no business can afford to rely on that. If your business isn’t found, then you haven’t made a sale. How many more people will you lose?
3. Customers like to see and read about who you are
Having a website, is like having a shop window. People like to browse your businesss, to read about you, see what you’re like. They can get a feeling for you from just the content and tone of the website. If you have testimonials on your website (and if you don’t then get some and put them up there), then people can be convinced by previous customers without even speaking to you directly! Having a website is the start of your relationship with your customers. They get to know you who are, why you do what you do and how you do it. If they are going to trust you with their hard earned cash, then they want to find out as much as possible about you and your website is the first place they will look. So it must be convincing, it must reflect you and it must prompt customers to get in touch and ultimately give you their business.
4. A website is part of your brand
Having a website is part of your brand, your professional image and can say a lot about you. A well designed, functioning website says you’re a professional, you take your business seriously. No website or a badly designed website can say the opposite. It sends the message that if you can’t even be bothered putting time and effort into your own website, how much interest are you going to have in their job? Think about the last time you researched a product or service? Where did you find the supplier? Did you look at their website and were you convinced by it? Or did it look a little dodgy?
5. Easiest way to market your business
Having a website is the easiest and cheapest way to market your business. Before this advertising in print or on the radio was expensive, too expensive for many small business. And it was hard to judge the effectiveness of any marketing campaign (how many people actually read your advert, who knows?). With a website, you can create a specific page tailored to your special offers or latest deals. Using social media to drive interest, you can link from Facebook/Twitter or even a newspaper advert back to your website for interested parties to get in touch or fill in your contact form. Marketing in this way means you have hard facts and figures about what is working or not working, you can change it at any time and it’s very affordable.
In the furore around social media and its power and effectiveness, don’t forget that having a website is still key to a successful business. It doesn’t matter if your business is small or micro, you do still need a website, even if its a one page website. One page can be enough especially if its linked to your social media. And it doesn’t have to cost the earth.
So tell me now, do you still think your business doesn’t need a website?