Why Don't Companies Need a Website?
Wednesday, 26th July, 2017
Let’s get the obvious points out the way: if you're a company that wants to get noticed beyond a limited radius of your headquarters, you absolutely need a high performing website. You also need a credible strategy for driving traffic to it.
But what about business owners who insist they don’t need a website? So far, I’ve encountered four main reasons that tend to be put forward:
Reason 1: Local business, local channels
It’s true that there are several channels aside from a company website that are crucial for driving local awareness of a business. These include local search listings like Google My Business and Bing Places for Business; local directories that offer free and paid listings; and social media sites that offer location-based targeting (among other forms of targeting).
This is an interesting perspective but ultimately this strategy combined with a high performing website always wins in my book. A website often gives a customer confidence in your brand, especially if they’re comparing suppliers online. And it’s a natural channel if they’re looking for company information or help.
Reason 2: Too much business
I met a small business owner recently who told me that the last thing he needs is more customers. He already gets more business than he can handle, serving a relatively small local area where high levels of customer satisfaction ensure low churn and frequent referrals. Simply, he’s doing just great without a website. He doesn’t want the hassle of his phone ringing more than it already does and he has no ambition to grow his business any further.
To me this backs up the argument for why companies do need a high performing website – assuming a business wants to grow and prosper, of course. Additionally, just because your business is doing well today without a website, this doesn’t protect you from competitors doing a good job online and eventually stealing market share from you.
Reason 3: Tried it, too expensive, didn’t work
It’s hard to argue with three realities here. One: creating a successful website requires work. Two: it can be costly to employ people to do this work. Three: there are a lot of people out there offering online services, charging a lot of money for little return on investment.
For companies who have been burned, I can see why they’ve concluded a website is not worth their time and money. Yet in most instances, the experience would have been wholly different with the presence of better internal training, competent and accountable external support, a robust digital strategy, or a combination of all three.
Reason 4: Under the radar
For whichever reason, some companies do not wish to draw attention to themselves. There are numerous, shady reasons why that might be the case, but a legitimate one relates to the nature of the company. Imagine, for example, an investment company whose single purpose is to identify opportunities via their network and through their own research. One hundred percent of their business is conducted by approaching potential investments, not the other way around.
Here, at last, I find a reason that might provide an exception to the rule: for a business where discretion is paramount to success, a website may not be an appropriate marketing or service channel.
For those companies that still feel they don't need a website, you might be doing ok now, but what does the future hold? Can you really say that you can rely on the customers you have now? Are you sure that in 6 months there won’t be a new competitor in the market who hoovers up market share like, well, a vacuum cleaner? And do you really think you can rely on Facebook when users in Europe have been in decline since July 2018?
I’d be delighted to hear any other reasons as to why a company might deem a website unnecessary. Please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the form at the bottom of this page.
David is a digital professional with over 16 years' experience working for some of the UK's biggest brands.