Personally, I've always considered small business to be the backbone of the US economy, and as such, I've admired small business owners for their strength, ingenuity, & their entrepreneurial spirit. That's why I was somewhat astounded when I saw the results of a recent survey of small business owners conducted by Yodle, where they uncovered statistics that roughly half of small business owners have websites.
After seeing the results of the Yodle survey, I recalled results of similar studies over recent years that have echoed the same findings. It seems one possible culprit could be the stigmas that have long been associated with creating a website; that it is often an expensive & time consuming process. Nowadays, there's a plethora of options when it comes to creating an online presence and those stigmas are simply not true, yet it seems they remain. In fact, I recently I saw a post on WeddingWire that helped referred to 4 Common Website Myths that small business owners face when considering whether or not to create a website. These included:
Not having enough money to create a website
Not having the staff to maintain a website
Not needing a website unless you sell things online, and
Not having a website because they feel like they're not 'tech savvy' enough
As a creative working in the industry for many years, I can attest that the myths brought up in the WeddingWire post are not at all uncommon. This is why I wanted to weigh in on this topic, and to add that especially in today's economy, I can't stress enough the importance for small business owners to establish an online presence, & the easiest way to to so is by creating a website for your business.
Why do I say this? From personal experience. When I'm interested in learning about a new business in my area, what's the first thing I do? I search for them online. Then, when presented with a search results page full of business listings, generally I've always felt there's a certain level of credibility & value added from having a website for your business that is lost when a small business only has a social media page as their only representation online. When considering this, one of the most important things is to ask yourself how you want your business to be perceived by potential customers? My recommendation is to treat your online presence with the same care and consideration that you treat your businesses' physical presence, since a website, or your online presence is essentially the "face" of your business online. Just as historically having a high quality products, service, and presentation in business is often a factor in determining how credible a business is, nowadays, the same is true for a small business website.
Essentially, I think there's a large potential client base available online that you have the ability to attract simply by establishing a website for your business, therefore I see no logical reason not to have a website so that you can reach those potential customers. It's up to you to market your business and make sure that potential customers are able to find you, both online and off.
Overall, if you're a small business owner who doesn't have a website yet, there's no need to focus on the myths that can hold you back from moving forward & establishing yourself online. Take the reins and take control of your business' online presence! Sarah Petty of Sarah Petty Photography and Founder of the Joy of Marketing has also provided us with this awesome video that has a few great pointers about how to get started.
(P.S. There's a special surprise at the end of the video too! - to redeem, make sure you mention you were referred by Sarah Petty when you sign up!)