After years in Florida, I attended my first Chamber of Commerce Christmas party in North Carolina. The great evening gave me a chance to connect faces to names of local business owners I had not yet met in person, and I was happy to hear some people read my first article in the previous edition of The Mountain Breeze!
One of the most common questions I received was “Do I really need a website?” My answer is always “No. Unless you want a successful business, then you do.” Based on conversations at the Gala, I thought it might help to share some of the myths and truths about websites.
Myth 1: “Small businesses in small towns don’t need a website.”
Truth: If you want new people to find you, whether new customers or new-to-the-area, it helps if people know you exist and what you’re about.
You may not need a big, fancy website. In fact, you may just need a scrolling landing page that provides the important facts about your business, but you should definitely have something out there on the Internet, and social media alone isn’t enough.
Myth 2: “Websites cost too much, especially when you are a solo or entrepreneur.”
Truth: Websites don’t cost as much as they once did, and depending on your business and how much content you need to share, they can be a cost-effective marketing tool.
Aside from the actual website design costs, you should expect to pay an annual hosting fee, and basic security for your site. You are probably asking “how much?” Well, I shouldn’t publish this, but… let’s just say that if you only need a basic site, you may be able to get set up for around $1,000.
Myth 3: “I can build a site myself.” OR – “My neighbor’s kid can do it for next to nothing.”
Truth: If you are very techy and have lots of time on your hands, you can do it yourself. But, why would you want to learn good graphic design, research hosting and build your site yourself? Instead, focus on serving your customers and building your network. As for your neighbor’s kid… yes, kids today are very good with technology, but that doesn’t mean they know the ins and outs of marketing and design.
Myth 4: “I have had the same website for many years, I’m good.”
Truth: Technology has changed a lot over the years and a modern website brings modern advantages.
Old websites look outdated and make your business look outdated, too. If you have a website that is several years old, at the very least you should update the photos and text. But, chances are, you would be better off starting fresh so your design is modern and your website works on mobile devices. In today’s world, if your site is not responsive… you DEFINITELY need a new one.
If you want to build your business, you can’t afford to lose customers to competitors who have a professional website. So, regardless of the size of your business, make sure you have a website that showcases your great work!