5 Reasons you DON’T Need a Website

So, you’re building your marketing strategy and you figure, hey – I need a website.  Well the truth is, just like every decisions you make in building marketing strategy, maybe you do and maybe you don’t.  Never assume you should do ANYTHING when building marketing strategy.  The strategic question is — does it fit with the rest of my marketing strategy?

5 Reasons you DONT Need a Website5 Reasons why you don’t need a company website.

1. They’re expensive

Sure, I know.  You have a friend, relative, etc who can build a website for $500. But what will a site like that look like?  Will it fairly represent your business?  And, isn’t that money that could be put into something else that would have a higher payback?

Costs for developing a small business website vary dramatically, but you can expect to pay at least $3500 for a functional, reasonably attractive website.  More in a larger city.  A nicer site with more functionality, more pages, and some nice visual impact can easily cost over $100,000.  You can use offshore developers to save money, but you’ll have more hassles and it takes longer.

Website proponents will argue you can build a WordPress blog for next to nothing.  While that’s technically true, is that the image you want for your company? Take a look at some blogs, especially the free WordPress themes, and you’ll see these aren’t particularly attractive.  And, to get the functionality you need, you’ll have to pay for a theme and customize it heavily.  Do you know how to do that?

And, don’t forget, your website will have to be updated periodically to reflect changes in your business, like your product line.  You may also want to add promotional elements, such as sales catalogs to your site.  Thus, there’s an ongoing cost associated with having a website.  So, you’ll need to allocate money every month or every quarter to keep your website fresh.

Does your marketing plan allow for these expenses? What marketing strategies will you have to cut to make room for a website in your budget?

2. Build it and they will come

People have this “Field of Dreams” notion when it comes to websites — all you have to do is put one up there and folks will flock to your website.  Estimates from early 2008 suggest there are nearly 1.6 BILLION websites with about 30 BILLION webpages.  And that number only reflects ACTIVE website.  The number is much larger if you include dormant websites.  A staggering number of websites are NEVER VISITED AT ALL.  In fact, 40% of the time people spend online is devoted to just 20 websites.

Driving traffic to your site takes a concentrated effort combining SEO (search engine optimization) and social network marketing.  It also takes traditional advertising and promotions to bring eyeballs to your site.

If customers and potential customers don’t find your website, why have one in the first place?  Do you know how to optimize your website for search engine traffic?  Do you know how to engage consumers on social networks to build traffic?

3. It takes time

Setting up and maintaining a website will take time — time that might be better spent managing your business.  Static websites, ones that don’t change very often, don’t build traffic to your website. So, it takes time to build traffic on your site.  You’ll have to add material to your blog, if that’s the route you go, every day or at least several times a week in order to get some traffic.  You’ll have to become a fixture in at least 3 social networks to gain some visibility there.

Of course, you can hire an employee or a consultant to manage your website, but that will increase your costs.

4. You customers might not be there.

Its true that internet use is increasing dramatically and spreading throughout the world.  Its true that the internet is replacing TV viewing for many people — especially young adults and teens.  But, let’s look at what they’re doing online.

Internet usage falls into 4 categories.  Roughly on order of time spent, these categories are:

  1. social networks – like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube
  2. entertainment and news sites- such as Hulu, Wall Street Journal
  3. Gaming sites – such as Farmville
  4. Shopping sites – such as Craigslist, EBay, and Amazon, as well as coupon aggregaters such as Groupon.

Online product search and e-commerce are still somewhat anemic, although growing.  Moreover, much of this search occurs at well known sites, such as Target, or for specialty products that are hard to find.  Broad product categories are almost never searched online, especially utilitarian products and food products.

Does your target market search for businesses and products in your industry online?  Will your website provide some value-added services to encourage your target market to use the website?

5. Does a website FIT into your overall marketing strategy?

A bad website is worse than no website at all.  Your website is an extension of your brand and should reflect the same brand image as the rest of your marketing efforts.

A website also consumers scarce resources of time and money, so that these resources are NOT available for other projects that are important for your marketing strategy.

What are your goals for your website? Is achieving these goals realistic?  Will your website support your other marketing strategies? In a cost/ benefit analysis, does developing and maintaining a website make sense?  Is there a better use for the resources you will commit to developing and maintaining a website — ones that have a higher cost/ benefit?

Conclusion

A website MAY be a valuable addition to your marketing strategy, but there are 5 issues you should consider before embarking on a website: 1) they are expensive; 2) the internet is cluttered with websites, so yours will be hard to find; 3) they take time; 4) your target market may NOT be searching for you online; 5) a website may not FIT your marketing strategy.

Comments

  1. says

    Angela,
    I have been following your posts for a little while and the reason I started following was your posts about someone stealing your articles and posting them on their own site and claiming to be the author.

    I started following because it seemed to me you must be writing some good articles for people to be stealing them.

    This article’s subject is laughable though when you consider the technology age we are in and the power of the Internet.

    The yellow pages are dead.
    Newspapers are dead.
    If someone wants to find something they just go online and do a search.

    In my opinion there is zero chance of your business growing without some sort of a website.

    Even though I don’t recommend using a free blog site because you don’t make the rules and it could be taken down anytime by the host there are many free blogs that get ranked on the search engines so it seems to me anyone with a business these days is foolish not to even try to get a blog going at the very least.

    • says

      Thanks for your comments. However, its just such a knee jerk reaction my post was arguing against. Many people can’t think of NOT doing business without a website. That’s because most people reading the post have a strong online presence and sell services to others with an online presence. In fact, many comments come from people who make their living selling services to companies to help them create this online presence. As a test, keep track of everywhere you buy products and services for the entire week and check on their web presence. I would bet that, expect for national companies, some of the people you deal with don’t have their own website, but show up because of a local yellow pages search.

      Blogging, tweeting, etc takes time. That’s time you don’t have to run your business. In many businesses, there’s more to do than there are hours in the day. Should blogging take place and let your payroll wait?

      Are your customers online? Sure, every business has some customers online, but it only makes sense to have a website when many of your customers are online.

      Do they seek your product online? For instance, do you do a web search to find a gas station or use your GPS? Some product people search for online and some not.

  2. says

    ARE YOU KIDDING?! A website expensive?! The days of a “reasonable” website for $3500 and over ARE GONE! There are so many strong CMS such as WordPress, Drupal, Business Catalyst, etc. that allow businesses to get started with EXCELLENT websites for under $1500. I know because I HAVE DONE them and know people, in the US, who have done the same and with good quality.

    AND “Your Customers may not be there”…. having social media as the number one in your list IS THE REASON someone should have their own website. It is NO LONGER needed to be found within the BILLIONS of pages online and through search engines. All you need is a good solid stream of content and a network of individuals (friends, clients, those interested in a hobby related to your business) and you WILL get traffic from the social networking websites. If you look at the research, multi millions of links are shared and followed on social networks on a daily basis.

    EVERY company needs a website! This is your home base online. This is where people are searching for and talking about you. Even though you have a static website, at least someone can find you online and give you a call at the least.

    • Angela Hausman, Ph. D. says

      Obviously my opinions are somewhat different than your own, but I welcome discussion. Thank you for posting your comments. Please come back and comment of future posts or suggest topics you would like to see covered in these pages. You’re also welcome to submit something as a guest blogger on this site. Please contact me if you are interested.

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