If you are a small business owner who wonders, “Will a website increase your business?” you are not alone. According to statistics quoted in a 2013 article from Forbes, 52 percent of small businesses do not have a website, and 56 percent do not measure the results of marketing programs. Although small businesses account for 54 percent of all sales in the United States, over half of them do not have a strong web presence. Would a website help to drive sales and promote small business?
The Importance of a Web Presence
In today’s digital age, people shopping for products and services are more likely to do an online search than they are to flip open the phone book. Businesses that can be found online can attract new customers more easily than those that rely on curb appeal and print advertisement. A business website is one important part of a strong online presence. However, just having a website doesn’t mean your business will automatically attract new customers. You need to make sure your website:
- Can be found easily through search engine optimization (SEO)
- Is attractive and user friendly
- Contains accurate and up-to-date information
The Cost of a Web Presence
Building and updating a website can take time, and it often costs money. However, there are easy, affordable ways to establish a web presence. Social media is one of the greatest ways to reach out to potential customers, and it’s free. Whether or not you have a dedicated business website, creating a Facebook page to provide updates and keep current customers informed of sales, corporate events and other business information is a great way to grow your business. Twitter is another great way to get the word out about your business. Just be sure to read the user agreements carefully to make sure you are not participating in violations that could result in having your business page or Twitter account shut down.
There are several affordable ways to create a website for your business. You can turn to professional web designers to get help with a website. If money is tight, consider free or low-cost options such as a WordPress blog page that you personally update on a regular basis. Affordable, do-it-yourself web hosting is also available from GoDaddy or InMotion. These are great for startups with little capital. However, busy small-business owners often find it worth the expense to hire a web design firm to handle the website for them. A website that is unattractive, contains outdated information or can’t be found by potential clients isn’t worth much.
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An online presence is essential for tapping into the modern market. Small business owners do need websites to increase your business. Keep in mind, however, that a relevant web presence requires attention. By actively engaging customers and potential clients on social media and keeping your website updated, you can attract clients that many small business owners have ignored.