More Small Businesses See Value of Websites

Small businesses are finally beginning to appreciate the value of having a website, if recent surveys are any indication.

In late 2009, Ad-ology, a marketing and advertising research firm, conducted a survey that found that 46 percent of small businesses did not have a website.

Only six months later, another report sponsored by Network Solutions and the Center for Excellence in Service at the University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business, indicated that about 67 percent of small businesses plan to have a website by mid 2012. That same report said small businesses don’t plan to abandon their website in favor of a social media-only approach.  Instead, 30 percent of those who use social media said social media is the reason they intend to spend more on their websites.

Another study by American City Business Journals (ACBJ) of over 1700 small and medium businesses (SMB) found that those whose owners are more involved with the Internet overall enjoy a greater market share than their less web-engaged owners.

Search engines have become the ultimate business reference desk.  People seeking information about an important product or service purchase will conduct an online search, hoping to learn more about their subject, as well as available providers and, if possible, those providers’ credibility.  Businesses that don’t have websites risk being defined by others – or worse, not found at all.  The days of letting your fingers do the walking through the yellow pages or dialing 4-1-1 are over.

Websites enable small businesses to do the following:

  • Describe concisely what the business does, its intended customers, and the problems and needs it solves
  • Build credibility by presenting information that underscores its expertise and conveys its integrity
  • Showcase a unique brand, helping to convey the company’s personality, and the set of attributes that set it apart from the competition
  • Establish a direct communications channel that allows prospects to contact the business directly, while those prospects are in the process of making a purchasing decision;  it’s also a platform for facilitating customer care
So what are the first steps for business owners who may be undertaking the creation of a website?  That will be the topic of the next post.
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