The short answer is yes! I speak to a lot of prospective customers about website design and weather its is in my local area of Newcastle Upon Tyne or anywhere else in the UK or around the globe, a lot of companies still do not feel it is necessary to have their own presence on the web.
Firstly I very much understand some of the reasons business owners have of being wary about having a website and an online presence. There are so many “horror stories” floating around in the press about the dangers of online security and email spam etc etc, most of which are over hyped as with any other story in the press, but some to have foundations in the truth. Yes having a website and displaying your email address can leave you open to some shady characters, viruses and spam email, but then if you open a store or office you leave yourself open to robberies, tons of unwanted leaflets and if you have a phone line, you will receive cold calls from sales people. Honestly there is no difference between the two, one is a set of physical issues, the other is digital.
Now when people tell me that they have no need for a website you may think that this is one of the main reasons why, and surely being concerned over your business’s security is a top priority but this is not the main reason why people decide not to have a website. Cost is very high on the list but the main response I get is that the business owner doesn’t think its worth while.
Well, here’s my view on that. Just to dissolve any preconceptions you may have, not all business owners who don’t have website’s are old and close to retiring, this is simply not the case, so try not to imagine someone in their 60’s when I talk about a business owner in this respect.
YOU NEED A WEBSITE – IT’S AS SIMPLE AS THAT
Every new business that starts up, has a website. The reason for this is because having an online presence gives your company substance and provides a fantastic launching pad for any marketing you plan on doing. It allows you to sell yourself and your products 24/ 7 and all over the globe. I cant think of anyone starting a new company that would not include a website in there start up plans and budget. Now existing companies that are already trading are, for some reason different. I get a lot of responses along the lines of, “We already have lots of customers, why would we want any more?” and “My customers don’t use the internet so a website would not be useful” heck, I’m not in a position to tell you that I know your existing customers better than you do, its your business after all, but, and there will always be a huge but ( ahem!) I always answer with “What about all of the potential customers your loosing because you don’t have a website?”
Here is the main crux of my argument about having a website, the majority of people today when looking to purchase and consume products and services; so that’s basically everything, will start up their computer and go to a search engine before they do anything else. That’s a fact you can take to the bank people and the data is only showing an increase in this reality. Yes some people will ask friends and family for a referral sometimes from a business they know, and a tiny section of people might pick up a phone book, but honestly, when was the last time you picked up an actual yellow pages? do you even have one in the house that is in date? probably not likely.
I imagine in 20 or so years this blog will be erroneous, as all businesses will have website just as all businesses were listed in the phone book before the internet came of age, but right now we are at a crossroads and there are so many company’s dragging their heels over the online issue.
Yes having a website will create more work for you, and yes expect to shell out at least £750 for a decent site (and it needs to be good folks – see my other blog) yes you will get spam mail every single day, and of course you will need to look after the data you keep very carefully to avoid issues but honestly, the benefits massively out weigh the negatives. You will make a lot more money, that is a fact, you will broaden your customer base and make your business more flexible to weather storms such as the sick man economy we currently endure. You will also open your business up to much cheaper marketing opportunities, no more spending thousands on printing monotone flyers to shove through peoples mail boxes when you can email all your customers with a free click of a button.
My list could go on and on but safe to say my campaign to get Britain’s business online starts today! Vote Digital Yak! and Vote for Website’s for Businesses! And you better believe I approve this message!