Small-business owners make many excuses for why they don’t have a company website, such as cost and the time to set up a page. Local companies that do not maintain an online presence risk being unable to attract new customers. Last year, a Pew Internet study found that on any given day, 59 percent of American adults use a search engine to find information. The number had nearly doubled since 2004, and with the rapid adoption of mobile devices, it will only continue to grow. In addition, individuals are growing more confident in their abilities to find the products and services they want through an Internet search.

Some owners are reluctant to start a website because they have no intention of selling products online or have no time to make a page, but an Internet presence is critical to being found by potential clients. The chances of potential clients finding a print advertisement in the phone book are becoming increasingly rare.

For example, if a consumer searches for a specialty product and finds out a local company carries it, and they Google the business and find no website, he or she will be discouraged. People may not be able to find the company’s hours or phone number to call and ask if the product is still in stock. Even if a local company is close to consumers, they still may search online for special offers before making a purchase, which means businesses need to have a website.

Reasons for small businesses to move to the Web

Although people utilize search engines to find information on companies, consumers can find small businesses in their areas by using social media and review sites. Many times, these sites pull information from a website, and the only way a company can get a listing is if the social network or GPS service can accurately read business information. Very few people use the paper Yellow Pages any more because all the same information can be found online in a fraction of the time.

Websites can give customers a way to contact the company outside of business hours, and it can a cost-effective source of advertising. Some small-business owners may worry a high-quality website is too expensive, but there are a variety of marketing services that can help companies create an eye-catching and informative site. As more people continue to rely on the Internet as their primary source of information, small businesses will be able to gain more attention with an online presence.

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