Why You Need a Website
Why You Need a Website â€“ Now
By Chris Hunter
March 9, 2005
Often, Iâ€™ll be at a function and a small business owner will approach me and ask "Why does my business need a website?" Usually my answer is â€śYou donâ€™t have a website yet?? How can you afford that?â€ť
You see back in 1996, I worked for a small company here in Bryan/College Station and I saw what was happening with the Internet. I tried to convince them to put up a website. I even told them Iâ€™d do it. But every time I talked with the owner about it, I was greeted with nothing but resistance. I was told that it was a fad and that they couldnâ€™t use a website for anything.
Boy were they wrong.
Let me tell you something that isnâ€™t really a secret, the Internet isnâ€™t a fad. Itâ€™s definitely here to stay. According to Nielson//Netratings1 in the month of January 2005, the average person visited 102 websites. The average PC time per person was almost 80 hours per month. Thatâ€™s two work weeks per month!
Also, according to Nielson//Netratings1, an estimated 198 million out of 296 million people in the United States have access to the Internet. Thatâ€™s 66.8 % of the American population. When I saw this statistic, it blew my mind!! According to Internet World Stats2, thatâ€™s a 111.5% use growth between 2000 and 2005.
So what does this tell us? First, it tells us that more and more people are using the Internet. This shouldnâ€™t be a surprise. Second, this tells us that the Internet is becoming more and more of a daily tool for people.
Why a Small Business Website?
Every big company has a website, right? Weâ€™ve gotten used to using websites for everything from sales, to customer support, to product and company information, to actual tools to managing your account online. So why should a small business have a website?
First, you need a website because you need to compete. You need to compete with other small businesses. You also need to compete with the â€śBig Guysâ€ť. The Internet has done a very unique thing that no other medium has ever done; it has leveled a lot of playing fields.
A well designed website can make you look a whole lot bigger than you actually are. It can drive sales to you whether you have an e-commerce store or not. It can be used to demonstrate your products and services. It can inform people about your business. It can be used just as a technical support staff once was used. It can be used as Human Resources to accept employment applications. It can be used as a community to keep people coming back to your website.
No other medium (television, radio, print) can do all of this. And it costs a fraction of what all of the above costs. A full page Sunday ad in the newspaper on will cost you a thousand dollars plus some. This is for a single ad that is run just once.
A television ad campaign will cost five to ten thousand dollars for production of a high quality ad and the cost of running the ad for thirty to sixty seconds will run about eight hundred dollars per month. Radio ads are just as bad and cost around eight hundred dollars per month also. A high quality website costs just a fraction of all the above to design and maintain.
Now this doesnâ€™t mean that you can give up all of your marketing efforts and just use the Internet. You must still use other more traditional marketing mediums such as television, radio and print because for some reason, people still give more credibility to traditional media. But maybe with a well designed website, you can cut back on traditional marketing.
This also doesnâ€™t mean that any website will do. You must have a professional looking website to be taken seriously. A website that is thrown together with FrontPage or one that looks like your 15 year old nephew threw it together will actually detract from the credibility of your business. This just tells your visitors that you didnâ€™t care enough to put together a well designed website.
According to Nielson//Netratings1, the average duration of a web page viewed is 60 seconds. Thatâ€™s it! So if you donâ€™t grab the attention of your visitor in that amount of time, guess who will get her business? You guessed it, your competition.
What is a Well Designed Website?
So what is a well designed website? This depends. It depends on your industry. It depends on what information that you have or plan to provide your customers. It depends if you plan to build an ecommerce store front.
In my opinion, a well-designed website is one that attracts more business. Itâ€™s that simple.
Sure there are many things to consider such as your target audience, clear and easy to use navigation, good photos, easy to read text, accessibility, and attractive colors but it does all come back to the fact that it will attract more business.
At our Holiday party this year, I had a client tell me that within a month of his website being live, it had paid for itself six times over. Thatâ€™s powerful and thatâ€™s what the goal of any website should be.So to sum up, donâ€™t delay. Contact Brazos Valley Design today to get started on your website. We can do all of the above and with the latest statistics, youâ€™re probably behind the curve if you donâ€™t have a well designed website already. In fact, you are losing business if you donâ€™t have one.
Plus, Internet usage statistics are most likely higher in the Bryan College Station area (itâ€™s really difficult to get data from the ISPâ€™s around here) than the national average because we are a college community. People here are more Internet savvy and they use the Internet to research businesses before they buy from them.
Donâ€™t wait, contact us nowData Sources:
1. Nielsen//NetRatings â€“ Source data from http://www.netratings.com (new window) on March 2005.
2. Internet World Stats â€“ Source date from http://www.internetworldstats.com (new window) on March 2005.