Does Your Small Business Have A Website?

If the answer is “no,” you are in good company. An article running in Industrial Distribution from the Associated Press notes that more than half of all small business owners do not have a website.

That is mind boggling to a person who relies on a website to do his or her job each and every day.

Some business owners argue that their website has been a source of invaluable growth for their business and have cut down on the number of calls they field as the owner. But not everyone feels that way.

According to the article, “Small businesses that don't have one say they don't have the time, think it will cost too much, or don't want the rush of orders that comes with being online.”

The last point is the one that keeps one entrepreneur from hanging a shingle on the World Wide Web: Steve Love sells handmade sausage from meat raised on his farm, and he doesn’t have any more farmland available. The last thing he wants is a want a website to bring him new business and new orders that he can’t fill.

My dad is the same way: he has been a small business owner for the majority of his life and doesn’t even list his company in the phone book. He’s a farrier (he drives around to other farms in the state and takes care of their horses’ feet) who runs his business based on word of mouth – and he could work 24/7 all year long if he really wanted.

When you run a business in an industry that requires a physical touch to deliver your product, and one that is so niche that there is very little or no competition, you have the luxury of naming your price and neglecting to list your business anywhere.

Most of the time, this is not the case with distribution.

Low margins, multiple sourcing options, and the thunderous emergence of e-commerce in the sector has changed the need for visibility in the industrial sector. Many distributors are struggling to provide that information that their customers want and at the pace at which they want it. Websites can help do this.

In addition, a well-rounded website that details your business partners, company story, high-level employees, and well-written customer testimonials can lend your business more credibility than your competitor who doesn’t have one.

I recently read a blog by a freelance marketer who had sustained hail damage to her home during a Montana spring storm. When she and her husband set out to find a contractor to do the necessary repairs, she opted to use the internet to weed out her options, hoping to find someone that had a valuable presence both online and offline.

“What we found wasn’t necessarily surprising, but certainly disheartening,” Julie Green wrote.

The lack of polished websites for contractors in her area led her question their level of expertise – and doubt their ability to pull off a competent fix on her home.

Her advice: “Whether you’re a contractor, a manufacturer or a service provider, having a clean, content-rich, updated website is more than just about promoting your business. It’s about providing potential customers the information they need to WANT to do business with you.”

If you have a website, what do you use it for? If you don’t have one, what is holding you back? Let me know in the comments below.

For more news and opinions from Abbigail Kriebs, subscribe here and follow her on Twitter at @AbbigailatID.

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