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How many small businesses have websites? A recent Fit Small Business roundup on website statistics reveals that 71% of small businesses have a website.
This is a substantial amount of growth from 2018 where statistics showed only 50% of small businesses had created their own websites. The uptick in overall small business websites may be a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that put the spotlight on the value of a website and its overall importance in the lifecycle of a small business.
Is your business among the percentage that doesn’t have a website? Every small business should have a working website, especially brick-and-mortar storefronts. Here are some of the benefits that come with establishing this kind of online presence.
1. Online retail is growing.
Findings from a September 2021 survey conducted by Digital.com revealed that online retail grew by 5.5% from 2019 to 2020.
Despite this ongoing growth, Digital.com notes that 23% of retail businesses still do not have a website. The reason for staying offline, according to 29% of businesses that don’t have a website, is that these businesses say their customers don’t go online.
Perhaps this is the case for some customers. However, those who do go online are spending an average of six hours and 42 minutes each day on the internet. Some of that time may be spent participating in online retail’s growing trends, like online shopping.
Businesses that do not have a website miss out on the chance to be part of that conversation — and enjoy the boost in sales for their business.
2. Social media can’t always do it all.
In the September 2021 Digital.com survey, survey respondents were polled to share why their business doesn’t have a website. Thirty-three percent of those surveyed said that social media satisfies all their online business needs.
Could you, or should you, invest in social media platforms over a website? The answer will vary for every business. However, we do advise business owners to consider the recent social media outage that impacted platforms like Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp in October 2021. These platforms were down for several hours, making it impossible to post content or conduct business.
Even if you think social media can satisfy all your business needs, small businesses are ultimately not in control of these platforms. A situation like a major outage requires a backup plan. Will the business be able to wait out the outage or would it be helpful to build a website where they can communicate with customers?
Having a small business website gives you the chance to reach out to consumers when (and if) social media platforms are down through communication methods like phone calls, email and visiting the storefront location — if the customers are local.
3. Websites act as a spotlight for your brick-and-mortar business.
It’s your time to shine on a website! You can use your website to build credibility for your business by:
- Sharing aesthetically pleasing photos of your products or offerings.
- Creating a blog that allows you to share advice and helps position your company as a thought leader in its given industry.
- Embedding your physical address from Google Maps so customers know where to find you.
- Displaying positive customer reviews, media mentions and award recognition.
- Linking to social media pages and anywhere else your business may have an online presence.
4. Increase your small business visibility.
There has been a 21% increase in small business website creation over the last three years. One of the key reasons for this kind of growth ties in with visibility.
Small businesses that create websites and add keywords and content that is search engine optimized can be found by their customers. A customer who knows about a brick-and-mortar storefront’s website will continue shopping with the business and referring customers.
If your business doesn’t have a website, it becomes a lot harder for customers to find you online. The lack of visibility can become so frustrating that customers may stop searching for the business altogether. They might start shopping at another business. These customers may move on to a competitor simply because the competitor has a visible online presence.
The best way to nip this issue in the bud is to create a website for your small business and optimize it for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes. Think of a website as a second storefront for your business: It’s another space that allows customers to discover your business and shop with you online.