Every business needs a website to promote their goods and services to new and existing customers. It seems like common sense, but there have been a series of surveys and reports over the last decade which show that around half  of all UK businesses and charities do not have a website. One of the most recent, published by BT also found that 29% of the business and charities surveyed felt “that being online was not relevant to them.”

Few would argue that the internet has changed the way we as consumers make choices about which products and services to but. Increasingly it s also changing the way we buy them. Many of us will now routinely research a major purchase online – looking for reviews and recommendations from others before making a decision. In all likelihood, we will also search for the best supplier or retailer and then either reserve online to collect later from a store, or have the goods delivered.

In the service sector, too, comparison websites have encouraged us all to shop around for the best deals or offers on everything from energy to insurance. In addition businesses that have a ‘professional’ website are seen as more reliable and professional than those that don’t.

So the internet has never been more important as a potential marketplace for all businesses – so why the reluctance on the part of some business owners to take the plunge?

I think there are three main types of reason – which can summarised as:

  • We don’t need a website
  • Its too difficult
  • Its too expensive

“I don’t need a website…we don’t sell online…This is a local business…”

Most often this will come from the owners of smaller businesses, often ones that have been around for a while. This includes high street shops, pubs, tradesmen and so on. The thinking is that customers know where and what the business is about – so what would be the point? The truth is that even a very simple website providing details of how to get in touch with you, your opening hours and perhaps a location map can be really helpful for potential customers. Less obvious is the credibility that having a professional looking website gives to any business – it provides a reassuring point of contact which will encourage more people to do business. We know from anecdotal and survey evidence that people prefer businesses that have a website – so for many of those that don’t have a good website you can be sure that their competitors do!

“Its too difficult…I’m not technical…I wouldn’t know where to start…”

I think fear of the technology does deter many business owners. This issue is growing as the technology spreads and internet content is accessed by a growing range of devices from smartphones to internet-enabled TVs.  The good news is that as the technology spreads to make the internet more widely available – so too does the technology for developing and maintaining a professional website.
At Time to Get Online – we base 99% of our websites on WordPress – a content management system which simplifies the development and maintenance of websites. For most projects this means a much faster development, which keeps the initial costs down. More importantly, it also means that we provide a much more user friendly way for business owners to make changes, to add new information and to keep their own sites up to date without having to rely on (and keep paying) the developer.

“Its too expensive…We don’t have a budget…Websites cost thousands of pounds…”

Cost is a factor that needs to be carefully considered by all business owners. However, a professional website doesn’t have to cost a fortune. You can always start with something quite simple and then build it up later.  All good web designers are happy to discuss your requirements and then to come up with a price based on what you want to achieve. Another approach is to set a total budget and trim the scope of the site. At Time to Get Online we take this a step further. There are two fixed price ‘packages’ to get started – or for a more ambitious site we will provide a firm, fixed price in advance.

In real terms owning and running a website is a very cost effective part of your overall marketing strategy. Compared to other forms of advertising, the costs are modest and your site is available 24/7/365 worldwide. If your business actively sells online – the benefits are obvious, but a good website for all businesses will be providing contact information, building customer confidence and allowing you to take messages, provide quotes and gather contacts.

Every business needs a website.

For many business owners, “getting the website sorted out” is often something that’s been on the to do list for a while but which keeps being put off for a variety of reasons. The simple truth is that any business large or small that doesn’t have a good website is missing out and that lost business is probably going to a competitor that does have a good website.

That – in a nutshell – is why every business needs a website.