by Paige Burton-Argo on February 18, 2014

“I’m a small local business — do I really need a website?”

Yes, yes you do. But don’t just take my word for it…

BrightLocal, a search engine optimization (SEO) agency, recently conducted a survey about local business websites. They asked participants questions about the kinds of information they look for, the importance of design, and what role a website plays in whether they choose to use a local business. The key findings:

  • 36% of respondents said that a “clear and smart website gives a local business more credibility.”
  • 32% said that they are “more likely to contact a local business if they have a website.” More specifically, 41% of those aged 18-34 said they’re more likely to contact a local business with a website.
  • Overall, 68% said that “having a website — ideally one that is well designed — is a key factor in the opinion they hold about a business and directly influences their decision to use a local business.”
  • Identified as the most important info listed on a local business website were: products, pricing, phone number, physical address, and opening hours.

With nearly seven of ten people saying that a website is part of their decision to use a local business, there’s really no room for interpretation. A professional, user-friendly website to act as a virtual front door and provide the information people are looking for is a must-have. (We’ve known this all along, but we love having numbers to back it up!)

And as you can see, people really aren’t expecting a lot from these small-business websites. At a bare minimum, they want to know what you offer and how they can reach you.

I moved back to Kansas three years ago, and have been working in Manhattan for the past two. So for the past couple of years, I’ve had to start from scratch in my search for local businesses (like finding a new hairdresser, dentist, dry cleaner, etc.), and websites are my number one resource. When I find a website that gives me what I’m looking for within a navigable, appealing design, it shows me that the business cares about their online presence and they want to make it convenient for me to do business with them. Their website may just be a couple of pages, but if it delivers what I’m looking for, that’s all I need.

Something we’ve realized at New Boston is that there are a lot of really awesome small businesses out there in need of better websites that reflect the quality of their products/services. And many of them need exactly what I’ve been talking about — a simple yet professional website that showcases what they offer without breaking their budget. They DON’T need a cookie-cutter template in the same way that they DON’T need a huge site busting with features and doodads. They DO need a presence online that is clean, easy-to-use, provides useful information and is built with their needs in mind (including their budget).

OK, the moment I’ve been building up to…a quick plug about a new product we’re really excited about — Sprout! Sprout sites are an affordable option for those small businesses, organizations or start-ups who need a basic website, but still want to have control over their site and give it a bit of their own pizazz. With Sprout, we create a design that’s unique and authentic for your business, within a site that’s manageable for your budget and level of tech savvy. If you’re interested, you can learn more about Sprout here.

Now that you know how important your website is and what information should be there, you can be on your way to having your own top-notch presence online. You can make an impression on the people who find you there (and the number of people finding you this way are constantly increasing, guaranteed). You can deliver on your consumers’ expectations — or even exceed them — with a simple yet great website that reflects your business. Allowing you to be as amazing online as you are offline.