Should local businesses rely totally on social?

What is worse than your website being down? Not having one perhaps?

You would think that the answer to this question is obvious but this is not entirely true. Data and some recent research shows that many small businesses are relying on social profiles alone to promote their business and engage with their audience, rather than having a rounded online presence (which included a website at the very least.)

If a little digging is done, the statistics also point out another potential problem. In a survey of around 400 small businesses, more than half claimed they didn’t have a website. Of the companies which did, a large proportion didn’t have a mobile optimised site, meaning arguably, their presence was hampered at the very least anyway.

In light of the above, the question becomes are websites worth it for small businesses? The answer is undoubtedly yes but they face new challenges and headwinds compared to the state they have traditionally been in. It is relatively simple to create a website today and the cost can be quite cheap if you know a little of what you are doing so there is ‘no excuse’ in some respects. The problem is with the addition of social media, directories, review sites etc, the impact has become diluted because all these other areas are involved. A further report  crystallises these points by showing just how popular social media is for small business, partly at what would seem to be the cost of search and websites.

The important thing to remember however is none of the above means the era of the website has demised – far from it. The website has a very strong place in any businesses portfolio of marketing and we truly believe that relying on one thing totally – (placing your eggs in one basket for a better term) truly isn’t the best approach.

To back the above up, there are many reasons why having a website is extremely important for a small business (or any business come to that.) In the rest of this post we will consider why it shouldn’t be forgotten.

1) Research shows that nearly a third of people wouldn’t consider a company or business that didn’t have a website. As mentioned above, the reasons for this are largely down to the fact that a customer prefers to see a range of different platforms for interaction. As the title of the post suggests, relying on social (or anything else) alone isn’t enough.

2) You only have to consider the power of search engines and the traction that they have on the market. One separate study found that over 95% of consumers used or would use a search engine to find a business. With figures as high as this, the point doesn’t really need any further explaining.

3) Arguably one of the most important reasons of having a website is down to trust. Consumers are very reluctant to trust businesses that do not have a website, as they feel this is not a normal thing, and absence of a website implies that something is odd. This is different to point 1 (above,) where people just feel that they would prefer to have other options.

The conclusions are all valid and perfectly sound reasons. If you are a small business or indeed any business and don’t have a website, then we strongly suggest that this is one of your top priorities. Having this, coupled with an effective SEO and PPC campaign can ensure that the time, effort and money more than pays for itself!

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