You have a decision to make.
Obviously, Studio O’Riley is a web development business, and I’m the owner, so there’s some inherent bias in this article, and you probably could survive as a business without a website provided the right circumstances:
- You have a public location in a high-traffic area.
- Your sign is eye-catching and markets you well.
- You consistently deliver a fantastic customer experience.
- You make it easy for happy customers to share your business.
- You spend time and money on print ads and gimmicks.
- You spend time and money on online ads and gimmicks.
- There’s significant need for your products or services in your area.
- You advertise and keep up with your customers on social media.
- You have strong working relationships with other local businesses.
In 2023, most businesses can’t thrive without a website for the simple reason that it’s hard to find a good location that facilitates all of the needs above without depleting your budget. As a new business owner, myself, I can testify to that fact. Studio O’Riley started up officially on January 1, 2023. If you’re interested, you can visit the About page for my origin story. The short version is that I started up entirely online and the whole business model hinges on having a website to replace a physical location.
That being said, not everybody is a web developer and I understand that building a website is a daunting task for most people, even with options like Wix, Squarespace, Webflow, and WordPress to make the process simpler.
It’s especially harrowing for people whose experience does not lie in computers or in navigating—nay, surviving—the “interwebs.” Whether or not you would like my help building a website for your business, this article is meant to help you take that first step and make the best decision for your business. If you’re interested in hiring Studio O’Riley to build your website, get in touch! I offer free consultations and personalized service.
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What Others Have to Say
In an effort to remove as much personal bias as possible from this article, I decided to research what others have to say about running a business without a website. As you may know, Google has announced its next big feature in Google Search: Search Generative Experience (SGE). The basic idea is that upon the release of SGE, your search will be aided by AI. See how it works in this video from Google. This screenshot is SGE’s response to the search query, “how to make my business thrive without a website,” including the three most relevant web pages.
You can visit the featured results here if you like:
- 10 simple ways to promote your business offline | Kwik Kopy
- Can You Build a Business Today Without Social Media? | Voy Media
- Can You Have a Successful Business Without a Website?
The gist of these results is essentially what I said at the beginning of this article: that you can build a successful business without a website, but that it takes unceasing diligence to make that model work. Don’t take me wrong, running a website takes work too, but it also affords your business reach that isn’t possible without one. Think about it this way:
Depending on the scale and complexity of your site, it costs very little to run compared to the potential business you lose by not having a website. In other words, there’s little to lose by having a website, and a lot to gain by having one!
Why Small Businesses Need a Website
There are lots of reasons, but I’ve tried to distill this list down to just the most important ones to make this decision as easy for you as possible. The fact is that even if you don’t want a website, you’re going to have to do some form of online marketing regardless, such as social media or email marketing. And when you do that, people are going to ask about your website…
Visibility & Brand Recognition
If you’re not online, people have to have some way to find out about your business. And if they don’t regularly pass down your street, that’s not likely.
Cohesive Online Presence
The reality is that you need to do social media and email marketing anyway, but customers are fickle folk, and if there isn’t one place they can go to find information or reach out to your business, they’re going to look for a competitor who’s easier to find. Your website is a central place where you can represent your business however you want to, advertise and sell new products and services, and post updates to create a community around your brand.
A Place to Showcase Your Work
Your website is the perfect place to showcase the work you’re proud of. When someone learns about what you do, it’s great to be able to show them examples of your best work. This helps them make an informed purchase decision, and more importantly, solidifies your brand in their mind. When a person’s seen your work, they’ll remember you when they need a similar product or service.
Reviews & Testimonials
Really, the only other way for new customers to find your business is through word of mouth, which means you need to be very vocal about what you do, and it becomes essential to have previous customers spreading the word!
Having a website allows you not only to point new customers to a single place for information about your business, but gives you a posterboard for reviews and testimonials. Don’t make your customers take your word for the quality of your work. Let other customers vouch for you!
Brand Distinction & Credibility
These days, all the big players have a website. It’s not like your website even has to be that complex or beautiful. People just expect you to have one.
Of course, if it’s not beautiful, you’re missing out on an opportunity to wow your customers before they ever make a purchase. With the innumerable design options and tools available these days, there really is no excuse for not letting your brand shine.
Having and maintaining a website with your own unique style gives you a checkmark in potential buyers’ minds that “Hey, this place is at least professional,” which goes a long way toward solidifying your business’s credibility.
How much does it cost?
Depending on the complexity, most small businesses can expect to pay between $1,000 and $10,000 for a website. I believe that the web should be open to all, so I don’t hide my services behind a high paywall. In fact, as an opening-year promotion, I’m offering a basic website package for just $300 If you hire Studio O’Riley within 2023! This won’t get you all the bells and whistles, but you’ll have a website at a fraction of the usual cost.
Interested in this opportunity? Give me a call!
If you’re still not sure about getting a website, take advantage of my free consultations! I’m happy to chat about your business and give you a better idea of what to expect. There are no strings attached, no obligation to hire me. Studio O’Riley is about helping people succeed online, and that includes people who have the fire in them to build their website without Studio O’Riley.
Whether I hear from you or not, I wish you all the best in your business and, hopefully, your website!