Even if you're not planning on selling online, a well-crafted site is essential for any business.
Even if your business is very small, with a handful of employees, and your product really can't be sold online. Do you really need a website?
Way back in the formative years of the internet, the future of e-commerce was anybody's guess, but even the most negative futurists agreed that all the signs indicated that a large portion of future business revenues would be derived from online transactions or from offline transactions that were the result of online marketing efforts.
So should your business have a website, even if your business is small and sells products or services you don't think can be sold online? The answer is: Yes, if you have a business, you should have a website. Period. No question. Without a doubt.
Don't be so quick to dismiss your product as one that can't be sold online. Nowadays, there's very little that can't be sold over the internet. More than 20 million shoppers are now online, purchasing everything from books to computers to cars to real estate to jet airplanes to natural gas to you name it. If you can imagine it, someone will figure out how to sell it online.
However, you shouldn’t put all your efforts into selling your wares over the internet, though if your product lends itself to easy online sales, you should certainly be considering it. The point to be made here is that you should at the very least have a presence on the web so that customers, potential employees, business partners and perhaps even investors can quickly and easily find out more about your business and the products or services you have to offer.
That said, it's not enough that you just have a website. You must have a professional-looking site if you want to be taken seriously. Since many consumers now search for information online prior to making a purchase at a brick-and-mortar store, your site may be the first chance you have at making a good impression on a potential buyer. If your site looks like it was designed by an amateur, your chance at making a good first impression will be lost.
One of the great things about the internet is that it has levelled the playing field when it comes to competing with the big boys. As mentioned, you have one shot at making a good first impression. With a well-designed site, your little operation can project the image and professionalism of a much larger company. The inverse is also true. Many big company websites are so badly designed and hard to navigate that they completely lacked professionalism and credibility. Good for you, too bad for them.
So what if yours is a small operation, when it comes to benefiting from a website, size does not matter. It does not matter if you're a one-man show or a 10,000-employee corporate giant; if you don't have a website, you're losing business to other companies that do.
Here's the exception to the rule: It's actually better to have no website at all than to have one that makes your business look bad. Your site speaks volumes about your business. It either says, "Hey, look, we take our business so seriously that we have created this wonderful site for our customers!" or it screams, "Hey, look, I let my 10-year-old nephew design my site. Good luck finding anything!"
Your website is an important part of your business. Make sure you treat it as such.