Your small business does not need a website!
What is a blog about websites and making money online doing saying your brick and mortar small business does not need a website?
Perhaps it would be best if I clarify.
You don’t need a website for your business. You need a marketing funnel. You need a web presence that creates a desire for your product or service as well as advertises your existence. The websites of many small businesses often fail at both.
If your a small business owner you probably either have or are constantly offered one of two different types of websites.
- An online storefront for selling products directly online
- A "Name, rank, and serial number" type of site that really just states facts about your business to create an "online presence."
Neither of these web presence ideas really helps make your small business more profitable.
The first is fine if you have a product or service that can be shipped to the customer at a financially feasible price. The second is not much different than phone book ad that fails to make you different to the potential customer.
At least once a week, I received calls by web developers for my small business.
Some wanted to create an online store for me. Great, but my business did not have something that could be sold online. The others wanted what I still consider obscene amounts of money to design a fancy looking site that would basically put my phone number online so I could get more useless calls like theirs (I am not saying don’t put your business phone number online, just make sure you will get more than telemarketers calling when you do it). This I could have done myself, I just failed to see the point.
I bet you get these calls too.
I also bet, that, if you have had one of these website developers create a site for you, at least one of the following is true:
- You paid over $1000 to have the site made
- You are paying over $50 a month for hosting
- Your website does not rank first place on Google for your own business name (instead some national site like CitySearch does)
- Your site only gets traffic when you pay for ads
- If someone is really trying, they can find your website if they need your address or phone number
- You cannot update information already on the site easily if you need to
- You cannot add new stuff to the website without paying more
- You have at least one perpetual "Under Construction" page
- Your pages sometimes look funny because the graphics don’t load
- You are wondering where all the money this website is supposed to bring in is
Most likely several of the above statements are true.
Some of them may be true even if you did not get a telemarketer call, but decided to find a website designer yourself. OK, maybe you paid even more.
Too often, businesses get a website designer that creates fancy graphics and a pretty looking.
Fancy graphics will not get you more business. A pretty looking site does not make more people come to it. In fact, some of the most profitable websites are somewhat ugly (Wal-Mart stores for the most part are too, and they make a lot of money).
What do you need from your small business website?
- Reasonable ranking in search engines like Google
- Give basic information about your business to those looking for it
- Be simple and fast for updates or additions by you or your sales and marketing team/person
- Most importantly, your website should share what makes your business unique – why should the potential customer come to you
- Your website should have testimonials from your other customers
- Share benefits of your product or service
- Hopefully, get some information from the potential customer so you can contact them with more information (including a well written sales letter).
- Create a desire for your product or service
Too many small business websites fail to provide a real reason the customer should come to you.
Too often, small business websites share the same trait most phone book ads share-nearly identical and have no unique selling point. You can often just change the company name and a competitor can use the website. Sometimes, even a company in completely different field could use the much of the site. If the customer does end up calling or contacting you they are only left with one question, "How much does (insert product or service here) cost?" Price then becomes the only factor the customer can judge by. All you can hope for is that you have the best price of the places they call. They usually end up going to Wal-Mart.
This is true in most small businesses.
It was true in my profession (photography) and I know that I have been left with the same choice by other small businesses. Unless your website separates you from the other businesses like yours, price becomes the only real factor a customer can judge you by.
You do not need an expensive website to do this.
It can all be handled extremely well by WordPress. No expensive software to buy. Once set up, it is easy to use and update. WordPress also has some advantages that you can use to make your site even more popular.
Over the next few weeks and months I’ll be going over in detail how to set up WordPress for your small business website.
I’ll include everything you need to use and download to do it. I’ll have video on how to set up the site. My goal is to show you how to do it so you can spend your time making money and not fooling with your website. You can do this without spending huge amounts of money and save that money for your family.
Your website can be an effective marketing funnel in bringing in new customers and keeping old customers for your small business.