Website Ownership Realities
According to a joint study conducted by Nielsen and WebVisible, 44% of small businesses do not have websites. So what is stopping these business owners from getting on the web?
There are a variety of possible reasons that vary from cost, technical ability, perceived usefulness, and preference for other methods of advertising. The biggest obstacle overall seems to be misinformation. All around the web, there are many myths that scare business owners away from launching their own websites…
Websites Are Inexpensive
Probably the most common deterrent is cost. Many businesses think that they cannot afford professional web development, along with all of the other upfront and ongoing fees that come with having a website. There are many options out there in all price ranges.
You Dont Need To Be Technologically Savvy
Many business owners also think that a person needs to be technologically savvy in order maintain the website after it is launched. However, this is also not true.
A good portion of websites today are built around content management systems (CMS), which enable you to easily edit content, all without any advanced skills. In fact, if you are familiar with using word-processing software, such as Microsoft Word, you will be easily able to use many content management systems.
Your Customers Are Online
For businesses that target a wide array of customers in various geographical regions, the need to have a website is fairly obvious. However, if your customers come primarily from your local community, you might not think it necessary to create a website.
But according to the study, your customers ARE using search engines to find you and are often frustrated at not being able to locate information about their local businesses. Also, because of not being able to find the businesses that they are looking for, they might choose to go to a competing business.
An overwhelming majority of searchers (92%) say they are happy with the results they get when using search engines, despite the fact that 39% report frequently not being able to locate a particular known business. Webvisible said this means that while searchers don’t always find the specific business, they may choose to contact a similar business with a stronger online presence.
So, why might local customers look for your business’ website online? Some reasons include:
- additional information about your products or services
- exact store location and directions
- contact information such as a phone number, fax, or email
- store hours
Traditional Advertising Methods
According to the study, many small businesses still rely heavily on traditional methods of advertising such as placing ads in the local newsletter or yellow pages. But the study also showed that people who are looking for companies are moving away from these methods in favor of the internet. So if potential customers are moving online, you should consider moving your business online as well.
Additionally, internet advertising has proven very useful and cost-effective. Some reasons why you need to consider the internet in your marketing strategies include:
- You can reach more people. Your website can be accessed by anyone with an internet connection. So you can definitely reach more people than via other offline advertising methods.
- Your website works 24/7. A website is also available all the time. What this means is that when you close up shop for the day, or late at night when newsletters are no longer being distributed, your website is online, easily accessible by all of your potential customers.
- A website is cost-effective and sustainable. Advertising in the newsletter or yellow pages can be very expensive. But worst of all, it only lasts a short period of time. The yellow pages is typically only used 1-2 years, and newspapers are typically discarded within 1-7 days. With a website, you have a longer period of time to recoup your investment. And, based on the nature of the web and search engines, you will be able to take advantage of free advertising.