Why should a business have a website? More specifically, why do small businesses need a website? Surely for small business owners, there’s enough to be dealing with already! Ultimately, you need to be responding to how your customers are behaving.

Before trying out a new business or service, many people now turn to the Internet to make an informed choice about their purchase. This makes having an online presence essential for business success in the modern economy. The benefits of having a website when you run a small business are huge.

Despite this, many small businesses are not harnessing the Internet’s full potential. The Guardian has revealed that 60% of small UK businesses do not have any presence online whatsoever. Although it is clear that business is becoming increasingly digital, small business owners are often unconvinced about why they should build a business website. If you are a local professional who only serves a small area, it may seem like a waste of time setting up a website. Surely word-of-mouth recommendations are enough?

Here is a run-down of the top reasons why your business needs a website:

1. It’s an easy way to gain credibility

Credibility and reputation are vitally important for surviving in the business world. In the past, local services only needed to ask their customers to recommend them to a friend in order to market themselves. However, times have changed. It’s no longer viable for a small business to ignore the need to have a presence online.

Nowadays, if you are a small business, you need a website. Otherwise, you risk looking like a tiny operation that isn’t going to be able to deliver great service. Having a professional-looking website is a very simple way of boosting your reputation. Potential customers are increasingly tech-savvy, and before trying out a small business, the first place most people turn is the Internet. If you don’t have your own website, but your competitors do, potential customers will start to wonder why.

There are numerous free platforms out there that will help you to build a website for your business. However, the danger with these services is that they can produce websites that aren’t very unique or dynamic. Also, you will have to create the website yourself if you use these platforms, which isn’t practical for a small business owner with little spare time. If your design and tech skills aren’t great, hiring a professional is your safest bet. You need a website that will represent your business in the best light possible. Investing some of your marketing budget in hiring a web designer to create a website for you will save you a lot of time.

2. Facebook alone doesn’t cut it

Many small businesses ask the question: ‘do we still need a website if we are active on social media?’ The short answer is you absolutely do. Of course, the sheer numbers of people who use social media sites mean they can be a great way of accessing new customers. But, for a small business, it can be very difficult to cut through the noise. Platforms like Facebook that now have over 1.59 billion users, so competition for likes and clicks is fierce among businesses. Therefore, it is dangerous to see social media profiles as a good substitute for your own website.

There are a number of drawbacks to only using social media to promote your business online. Firstly, social media sites regularly change their algorithms, and this can affect the reach of your posts. Unless you have a lot of spare time to dedicate to understanding these changes, it’s not a great idea to only rely on Facebook and Twitter to promote your business. Don’t be deceived into thinking that your business is reaching a large audience just because Facebook has a large number of users.

It takes just minutes to set up a Facebook page or a Twitter account, and anyone can make one. If your only online presence is a free-to-use social media account, potential customers may become suspicious of your trustworthiness as a business. Having a comprehensive and informative website, that goes into detail about your business, is a great way of quickly establishing trust among potential customers. After you have established your website, you can use social media to compliment your web presence rather than as a substitution for it.

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3. Grab the chance to show off your work

It can be difficult if you are a local service provider to differentiate yourself from the competition in your area. From the perspective of a consumer, it can be very tricky to find the right professional for their job. Often the only information consumers can base their decision on is the price. It can be hard to know what the quality of the work will be.

A great solution to this problem is to build a website that showcases your work. The easiest way of doing this is to display images of jobs you have already completed. As a local business, you need a website to give you this competitive edge against other local services. By including images of the jobs you have already successfully finished, a potential customer is much more likely to have the confidence to book you for their project.

A custom-made website for your business is highly personal, and it can be easily updated and edited. Other forms of advertising, such as print, are static and cannot be changed once they’re public. A dedicated website will properly showcase your dynamic and growing business.

4. Unless you’re online, customers won’t find you

When was the last time you trudged through a phone book to find a local service? Those days are long gone. Instead, the smartphone has taken over, and now it completely dominates how people access the Internet. An enormous 70% of adults in the UK own a smartphone. That figure rises to 90% when you focus on 16-24 year-olds. Crucially, they’re not just using their phones to take selfies with. For banking, shopping, and booking appointments, young people especially now turn to their phone first. Thinking digitally is essential for small businesses to succeed in the long run. For that reason, investing in a website for your small business sooner rather than later is the smartest way of tapping into a younger audience.

You need a website in order to compete with those local services that are already targeting customers through the web. Speed, efficiency, and ease of access are all top priorities for consumers looking for a local service. If a customer can quickly fill out an online form to book the service they need, they are far more likely to book than if they need to speak to someone directly.

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5. You need a website to keep yourself in business 24/7

Owning a small business is a time-consuming job. Marketing your services can take up a huge amount of your time and resources. Wouldn’t it be better if you could get back to focusing on your passion? Shouldn’t providing great customer service for your clients to be your top priority? You need a website in order to keep your business running in this fast-paced, digital age.

The joy of having your own website is that your business will be constantly available. Consumers now expect businesses, even small local ones, to be available online 24/7. Businesses hours no longer apply, as a prospective customer can inquire about your services whenever they like. This continuous access has the potential to grow your customer base enormously.

This is also why it is so important to invest in a quality web designer. The web designer needs to build you a responsive and good looking website from the very beginning. To keep your business competitive, you need a website that is both functional and stylish. An informative, well-structured, beautiful website will decrease the amount of time you spend on answering customer questions.

6. You can’t afford not to have a website

Many people have the misconception that hiring a professional web developer will be out of their budget, but a custom build web site is actually becoming increasingly affordable. Individuals and businesses are increasingly becoming aware that they need a website, so competition between designers is high. If you need a website built, there’s never been a cheaper time to start.

If the price still seems off-putting to you, consider how much you are spending on other non-digital channels. Other forms of advertising like local newspaper adverts, or printing and delivering leaflets to people, do not come cheap. These methods also have some major disadvantages. They don’t offer you the opportunity to target specific demographics. You can’t know how many people are viewing your adverts. Having a website offers you fantastic opportunities to get to know your audience. Ultimately, this gives you a chance to discover how to turn those clicks into paid customers.

Hiring a professional web designer is an investment in your company’s future success. It can be easy to underestimate the power of good web design. The crucial thing to remember is that you get what you pay for. Using one of the many free website builders available may seem like a good cost-saving strategy. Yet, this could cause you to end up wasting time and money on an unimpressive result. The safest bet is to invest in an established, experienced web designer with an impressive portfolio. Get started today by finding a web designer through Near Me.

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7. Build trust and create a loyal customer base

Reputation is incredibly important when you are a small local business. Many small businesses rely on word-of-mouth recommendations. However, the importance of your customers recommending you to their friends and family is being challenged. Before committing to purchasing a product, most people are now in the habit of reading online reviews. They want to know if they are investing in a quality product or service before parting with their hard-earned money. The same goes for local services. Over 77% of consumers have consulted online reviews before hiring a local service professional at least once. What does that mean for your local business? This trend makes it clear that you need a website of your own so that you can control your own online reputation.

Even if your business only covers a small geographic area, it is highly likely your customers are talking about you online. The growth of social media means that your customers can share their experience of your service instantly. Showcasing good reviews on your own website will provide potential customers with a positive impression of your company. If you don’t have a professional business website, you may raise suspicions among potential customers. Any doubt a customer has about your business can, of course, lead them to look elsewhere. Don’t lose out by making the mistake of thinking you don’t need a website!

So, what are you waiting for? You need a website for your business, so get started now by finding a professional web designer through Near Me!

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8. It’s more cost-effective than you might think

Getting a great website for your business doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. There are loads of great platforms you can use to get the right website, at the right price, for your company. Here are a few of the best ones:

Wix

Wix offers a ready-to-go website design solution, taking care of everything from domain registration through to web hosting. It’s refreshingly easy to use, so making your website with Wix is always a stress-free affair.

The only major drawback is inflexibility: once you’ve chosen the template you want, it can’t be changed without starting from scratch. Cost wise, it will set you back slightly more than some of the alternatives, such as WordPress.

WordPress

A popular choice, Word Press allows you to customise your design to the max, making it the ideal choice for small business owners with an especially specific idea of what they are looking for.

One disadvantage is that, at first glance, it can seem complicated to use and, although it’s generally a very cost-effective platform, particularly exclusive designs will set you back a bit more.

Square Space

Another widely used choice, Square Space are all about quality over quantity. Pros include integration with Google, Adobe Image Editor and Lightroom, and the main cons are a limited template selection, restricted customisation options, and the platform’s position in the highest price tier of popular website builders.

SmugMug

SmugMug is a website design service made for photographers, making it the perfect choice for professional and amateur photo-enthusiasts. SmugMug portfolios are optimised for screen size, social media sharing and E-commerce conversion, making it super easy for potential clients to check out your portfolio.

Photoshelter

As the name suggests, Photoshelter is another platform designed specifically for photographers. One of its best features is compatibility with Lightroom and Photo Mechanic, along with helpful SEO tools, easy social media integration and E-commerce conversion.

Oxxy

Oxxy offers an all-in-one fully hosted solution that allows individuals and small businesses to build websites, from portfolios to e-commerce stores to blogs. No programming skills are required. Oxxy offers ease of use, giving the freedom to customers to apply ready-to-use templates, fully customize or build a design from scratch. All this at low fixed prices – available to all.

Why it’s still better to get yourself a custom website

Your website is one of your business’ most important features. So it’s important to make sure that yours is the right one for you, and, although templates can be great, more often than not this means getting yourself a custom design. Can’t find a designer who you can trust? Near Me connects you to first-class web designers with different specialities, so you’ll be able to find the best one for your business in no time at all.

The great thing about custom websites is that every detail is geared towards your business, and you’ll be able to rest easy in the knowledge that the template you used isn’t being eyed up by another business.

Custom-built websites are also more suitably coded for your business, so you can rest easy in the knowledge that your site will be SEO and mobile-friendly. Bespoke sites also allow for growth-driven design, which analyses user data from the start and helps to adapt your website to the ever-changing nature of your business. Website templates can be great, and there are some brilliant providers out there should you choose to go down this route. But the best way of designing the right website for your business is by getting a good web designer to tailor one just for you.

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