Did you know 97% of consumers search online to find a local business? But for some reason, many small businesses have been slow to get online.

Fortunately, the number of small businesses with professional websites is increasing steadily. From a relative handful of businesses having websites ten years ago to about two-thirds of businesses today (the numbers vary, depending on the country and survey you look at).Yet that still leaves thousands of businesses behind the times. So, what’s the holdup?

In surveys, many business owners say they don’t have the skills, the time, or the money to build a business website. But a surprising number say that their business doesn’t need a website either because they use social media instead or they don’t feel it is going make a significant enough difference to have one.

That’s why this post is going to look at the top 6 reasons why your small business should have its very own website. If you’re a small business owner who is still on the fence, read on!

Why have a website? Our 6 top reasons:

#1 A professional website meets shoppers expectations:

Today, more than ever, your customers expect to be able to find information about your company online. In fact, most consumers now do research online before they make a purchase, even if it’s to purchase something locally. If you don’t have a website, you’re sending 1 of 2 messages. Either that your business is stuck in the Dark Ages, or that you aren’t a legitimate company—and neither of these are messages that you probably want to be sending.

Consumers aren’t looking for a multi-page encyclopedia about you. Just a few simple pages, usually including an address and some photos, to legitimize your business. As well as some basic information that’s tailored to their needs. Most importantly, information should be accurate and up-to-date, since out of date info is one of people’s top pet peeves when it comes to using local business websites.

#2 Control information and branding:

User reviews and comments are great, but shouldn’t you have the final say about what information your company is presents to the public? Having a website for your company instantly creates an official presence on the internet. This eliminates the dependency of others speaking for you. And you can make it look exactly the way you want, with your own logo, colors, and fonts.

#3 Websites are more affordable than traditional advertising:

Many small businesses still use mailers, billboards, and local magazine ads for advertising. Though, these still are avenues for customers – nothing is more cost effective than digital advertising.

#4 You can find existing and potential customers or they can find you:

Not only are all of these people able to see your website, but they can also interact with you through it. Using email, contact forms, guest books, and chat apps, you can talk with customers from the other side of the globe. Instant communication gives you the opportunity to get feedback about your new products and services, or even ship orders thousands of miles away.

With proper and consistent SEO efforts – ranking your website in a large variety of keywords is like creating hundreds of digital storefronts at the exact moment your customer is looking to make a purchase.

#5 A business website levels the playing field:

Although the budgets and project scopes vary, there is no real difference between the website of a Fortune 500 company or a local friendly plumber and his work truck. A clean and professional looking website completely levels the playing field as you can present yourself and your company any way that you prefer. If your company is able to help meet the needs of a customer, you can gain the opportunity to compete against the big guys/gals.

#6 Social Media is great, but you still need a website.

Plenty of business owners assume that having through social media, a business profile is “enough.” Maybe you already have a Facebook page and some pretty good reviews on Google and Yelp, (or at least you aren’t int he list for “worst restaurants ever”). And that’s great.

But there are some problems with this strategy. First, you’ll always be dependent on the social media platform you choose (see #2.) Algorithms change, rules change, and what’s working one day might not work a few weeks from now.

If you have a website, it belongs to you, and you control the contentand the message. Part of the reason business owners venture off on their own is so that they don’t have to follow other people’s rules—so why would you just do what a social media platform tells you to?

Trends change, as well. If your customers are on Facebook today, they might be on Instagram or maybe even a new platform tomorrow. As people switch from one tool to the next, your website acts as an anchor. No matter what platform customers prefer, they can always find your website in the same place, available to everyone.

So do you still think you don’t need a website?

I understand coming from a digital marketing company, we may be a bit biased. But truth is, if we didn’t believe in what we were doing – we wouldn’t be doing it. Comment below are send us an email on your thoughts!