Having an online presence is critical to the success of local businesses these days, and you’ve been told time and again that your business needs a website for that. However, if you think about it, you might not need a website for a good online presence. Given that websites are resources that can help your customers use to find useful information about your business, websites might not be completely necessary. You can save a considerable amount of time and money when you weigh out your options before resorting to creating a website. There are alternative ways to cater to keep your customers informed about your business and for creating an online presence.
But you’re probably wondering if it makes sense not to have a website for your business in a world that is becoming more digital by the day. Well, that is a very valid inquiry. Perhaps, you needn’t cancel out the idea of having a website, but what I’m trying to say is that it can wait. Given the options, there are a few practical and actionable alternatives to having a website. But before we get to that, let’s look at some particulars.
Why do local businesses need a website?
Primarily, the following five reasons are why your local business needs a website.
- A business website can help you optimize for search engine rankings and subsequently increase the likelihood of your business ranking for local search queries.
- If you’re an eCommerce business… Well, that’s a no-brainer. You have to have a website.
- If you’re a local business with a brick and mortar store, your marketing needs have to be more focused on offline marketing activities. So, a website can be an embellishment to your marketing, but not a necessity.
- You can tackle customer service problems head-on by creating additional resources to help them deal with your product. This includes blog content and FAQs that your customers can turn to in order to find solutions.
- But the most important reason that businesses need a website is to provide accurate business information for search queries (both direct and organic), that is, name, address, phone number, working hours, and other such details.
- So, unless you’re an eCommerce website, or if you’re selling a software, or if your primary source of lead generation is not through online means, you can afford to put off your website plans for the time being. And to add to that, your business goals and plans decide whether you require a website or not. So, here’s the issue we’re trying to solve:
Local Businesses Don’t Really Need a Website, Here’s Why:
- Sometimes websites are just a nominal requirement for a business’ online presence. Having a website for your business is not synonymous with having an online presence; it is merely one of the many factors that can contribute to your online presence. Adopting alternatives to a business website can help you save a whole lot of time and money and still give you the same (if not better) results.
- A brand needs a website. A local business doesn’t, really.
- Business information is made readily available when search queries are made. When you make a direct search for a business on Google, you’ll find a knowledge graph or a snippet on the top right-hand corner of the search results. The user conducting the search wouldn’t further click on a website link if the business information is made readily available. So, a Google My Business profile would suffice.
- If your business has a brick and mortar store setup, having a website is more of an ornament to your online presence. If you narrow it down, you’ll see that your customers are only looking for “directions” or business address information, contact details or appointment details. As mentioned in the previous points, this information will be readily made available to people conducting searches.
Alternatives to Having a Website for Your Local Business
Getting your business listed in online directories like Yelp and Yellow Pages can increase your business’ online presence and optimize it for local search queries. All you have to do is make sure that your business information is updated accurately and consistently across such directories. Here’s the information you need to update:
- Business name, address and phone number
- Email Address
- Working hours
- Product and service information
In doing so, your potential customers will find you on online searches to a resource that is just as informative as your website can be, and engage with you accordingly.
Google My Business
Google My Business, the all-in-one Google listing management dashboard, is a very lucrative alternative to having a website. Creating a Google My Business page gives you access to several features that you can use to your benefit. Aside from providing people with business information, you can use Google Posts, Reviews, Photos, Google Insights and build a DIY, basic functioning website for your business through Google My Business.
With Google Posts, you can promote events, promotional offers and even blog content with added images and call-to-actions. These posts will appear on the search engine results page in the knowledge graph box that appears with the map in the top right-hand corner. You can even track all the related analytics through Google Insights. In addition to Posts and Insights, your Google My Business page will also fetch you reviews. If the GMB page won’t do, you can even create a website that is quite basic. The feature is mostly free, is SEO-friendly, has a provision for adding call-to-actions and is also mobile-friendly. Once you get onboard Google My Business, you can afford to put your business website plans on hold.
(Learn more about creating a Google My Business page for your business here.)
Create a Facebook Business Page
Having a Facebook business Page can help you scale your business without a website given its labyrinth of features. It is a holistic environment for you to engage with your customers and promote your business. You can run ads and promote them directly among your target audience. Facebook has two billion active users who are segmented based on interests and demographic data. Facebook also allows you to generate reviews that you can use to build your business as a brand. The more reviews your business gets and the more you respond to them, the better your business as a service looks to your customers.
(Learn everything about building a Facebook business Page here.)
An Instagram Profile
Having an Instagram profile for your business is a very good option as opposed to a website. Instagram has an active user base of 500 million users and has a growing engagement rate of 53% year-over-year. With a huge number of active users, you can create posts and disseminate them as ads. In addition to this, you can add call-to-actions on your business page like “Directions” or “Appointments”. This can help you build leads without having a website. You can add a link to your Google My Business Page or your Facebook Page in your Instagram bio.
So, Yay or Nay?
In conclusion, does your local business really need a website? To sum it up, you needn’t have a website if the alternatives mentioned above are enough for your day-to-day business activities. You can begin to plan on getting a website when your business is starting to scale in terms of sales and revenue. A website would make sense in terms of such an expansion. Until then, you can focus on your everyday business tasks without worrying about not having a website for your business.
We’d love to hear if you agree or disagree! Let us know in the comments below.