You can just have word of mouth. You can just have listings on selling websites Amazon and eBay or what have you. You can just have your business info in a directory. You can just have social media pages. You can just have sales funnels. (Though, admittedly, the last ones are forms of websites.) They do work for people. Sometimes, they are far easier to maintain.
If your business is working for you without a website, great!
Here are alternatives to websites:
Social Media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, TikTok
Sales Funnels: Clickfunnels
Directory and Review Sites: Yelp, Google MyBusiness, Local Chamber Of Commerce
Listings Sites: Amazon, eBay, Facebook Marketplace
.... But Also Yes.
Websites are cheap. Sometimes even free. There is almost no reason not to have one.
Websites help build your brand for long term reputation.
A website is your hub. It should contain everything you have.
It is no secret we are in the age of the Internet. Businesses with no website are suspicious if searched on Google. They are often thought of as a front for money laundering or a shell company of some sort for possibly unethical activities. The worse services I've ever had were from businesses without a website.
If I Decide To Get One, What Would I Need?
If you just want to test out the waters, sign up for a WYSIWYG web editor. WYSIWYG is short for "What You See Is What You Get".
Honestly, though, a lot of websites made by business owners look quite horrible and ancient. If you are starting out, keep it simple and keep it just information based. Keep it looking like a professional flyer. In fact, if you already have a flyer, just copy your flyer.
You absolutely need your business information, at the basic level, the NAPE: Name, Address, Phone Number, Email. Google will need to find this information from your website.
You also need a place to capture your possible customers information, a contact form. Sometimes, this is just an email sign up. At lot more service based businesses ask for the customer's NAPE, that's right, name, address, phone number, and email. And of course, a place to tell you what they want.
Of course, you need to list your services offered and prices. Be very descriptive, because you want customers to choose you. If you sell stuff online, link your product listings. Put your social media on there, too.
Those are the very basic things you need for a website. Remember, keep it simple! Do not do things like put a ton of clipart, flashy animations, games, counters, and other things that do not help your business. Keep to using only three colors that complement each other.
What does look very nice is using a single high quality photograph. If you look at the top of my website, there is a really nice photograph. If you do a lawn mowing service, for example, a close up shot of grass in the morning sun with dew looks really professional.
Looks better than this:
Don't do things like put a lot of pictures on one page. it looks disorganized. Using the previous example, if you dump a whole album of lawn mowing photos, it doesn't really help make your point. If you need to put more than one, just don't dump it all. Limit it to three good ones.
So that all sounds good. What should you use?
Weebly: (click here to get Weebly)
This very website uses Weebly. It has a very neat design as you can see. Weebly is free until you need more features like adding a domain name.
Squarespace: (click here to get Squarespace)
Wix: (click here to get Wix)
Wix is very similar to Weebly. However, Wix can be a resource hog in my experience, in other words, can make your computer slow down into a crawl. I prefer Weebly for that reason.
Google Sites: (click here to use Google Sites)
Google Sites have always existed, but it somewhat recently (at least more recently than last time I looked at it) seems to have been overhauled. All you need is a Google/Gmail account. I am very pleasantly surprised by its new quality. It is also free.
Once you have an actual business and brand, it's time to get a domain name. This further helps build your brand.
Google Domains: (click here for Google Domains)
Name Cheap: (click here for Name Cheap)
GoDaddy: (click here for GoDaddy)
If you have more technical skill than most business owners, look into getting hosting and a website plugin like Wordpress. This is often more inexpensive in the long run, however, again, this takes a lot of learning to do if you aren't already a technical, computer person.
Bluehost: (click here to use Bluehost)
Bluehost is one of the most inexpensive and popular hosting solutions out there. Get the plan with unlimited domains so you can create as many websites as you can.
Wordpress.ORG (NOT Wordpress.COM): (already included with Bluehost, but click here if not using Bluehost)
Wordpress will be the engine if you choose to do a hosted website route. If you opt in to Bluehost, they offer a one-click install of Wordpress. However, if you use another service, they may or may not offer the same feature, so to get it, you must go to Wordpress.ORG. Wordpress.COM is a blogging site associated with, but wholly different from the Wordpress plugin. Don't get confused!
If you have a real business, you probably are very busy person with no time to dabble on making a website. That's totally fine! We want to focus on the things we can do and are good at.
But understand that you are losing a lot of money, sales, and customers by not having one. It's okay if you want to let those pass by if you are already overwhelmed. But if you aren't getting much business at all, you need to invest in one for the long term.
Thus, you need to find someone who can make you a website. Prices range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. This is a business expense, and you need to budget for it.
We take some clients for websites creation. Contact us if you want to be considered.
Samuel Garcia helps entrepreneurs, small business owners, and hobbyists succeed in using the Internet to increase their business.