Believe it or not, you may not need a website! I know, that sounds like sacrilege coming from someone who has been helping clients with their websites since 2003. Before you pull out the pitchforks and torches, let me explain.
My team and I work with all sorts of organizations. Some of them are brand new organizations, while others have been around for years. Some are sole proprietors and already have all the business they need, while others are large organizations that could handle tons more work.
Suffice it to say, each organization is in a different situation and has different needs. So who am I to say every single one of them should get a website?
Let’s look at a couple specific examples where people I met with didn’t need a website. Then let’s take a look at some reasons you may not need a website. Finally, we’ll finish up with some website resources.
Ready to retire
“Hi there, I’m Tim. What do you do?”
I was at a networking event at a bank, and an older gentleman was standing at the edge of the crowd. When I go to networking events, I often look for someone not talking to anyone else to engage them in conversation.
“I’m actually in insurance,” he responded. We chatted for a few minutes about his business. I learned that he had been in business in years and had all the clients he wanted. In fact, he was actually close to retirement. He shared that he was part of a national organization, and when he retired his clients would get absorbed by the organization.
“What do you do, Tim?” he eventually asked. I shared that I helped people with websites and other digital marketing.
“Would it surprise you to hear that I don’t have a website?” he asked me.
“Not at all,” I responded. “In fact, it sounds like you don’t need one.” I continued by sharing that because of his situation, I thought getting a website would be a waste of time and money.
While he agreed with me, he was very surprised to hear me admit it!
Referred by a friend
A couple years later, I got an email from a client. “Tim, I’m sending someone your way. John is in my networking group, and I’ve been telling him for years he needs to talk with you about a website. He’s finally listened to me and wants to schedule an appointment with you.”
I replied, “Happy to help him. I’ll let you know what happens.”
Within a couple days, my client’s friend reached out to me. We scheduled a meeting, and just a week or so later, John and I were sitting in the T&S conference room.
As we talked, I quickly discovered that John was ready to move forward. Despite having never met me before, he had brought his checkbook and was ready to start on his website. However, it was also obvious he was only there because my client had sent him. He was willing to buy a website, but he wasn’t really going to use it at all.
“John,” I asked, “I’ve got to share something that’s a little uncomfortable for me. I respect our mutual friend and appreciate you coming to meet with me today, but I don’t think a website is a good choice for you right now.”
By the end of the meeting, John agreed with me. We made a decision to touch base in a year. When we did touch base again, John said he still didn’t need a website, but thanked me for not just taking his money when we first met.
Signs you don’t need a website
Let me be 100% clear. Everyone could make use of a website. It could be beneficial for any organization or individual. But just because it could be beneficial doesn’t mean it will be beneficial.
Here are some signs you may not need a website:
- You’re getting ready to retire and don’t plan to sell or leave your business to someone else.
- You won’t really make use of the website.
- Nobody ever searches for you on Google.
- Trust isn’t important in your industry.
- You already have more business than you can handle.
- You never waste time answering the same questions more than once from clients, customers, and prospects.
- Your sales team closes prospects in one call with no follow-up needed.
- How people perceive you isn’t important.
In reality, nobody needs a website. They need the solutions a website can bring. So if a website can’t or won’t solve any of the issues you’re having, you don’t need one!
Business goals a website can accomplish
Of course, it’s much more likely you could use a website. A website is a tool that can be used to accomplish your actual business goals.
Your website can be used to accomplish any of the following:
- Sell online
- Support your offline sales process
- Provide customer service
- Reduce information distribution costs
- Generate leads
- Communicate changes in services or products
- Increase awareness of your organization
- Educate potential and current customers
- Establish expertise
- Get fewer calls and emails
Let’s take a look at three that—in my experience—are the most common.
Whether you’re a new organization or you know you need to get your company or nonprofit in front of more people, you can use your website to let people know what you do. Simply having a website probably won’t achieve this goal, but it’s a start.
There are lots of places online where you can find your target audience, including sites like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Regardless, it’s helpful online to have a home base.
You have control over your website, but you don’t really control changes on those other websites. Sending people to your website from those third-party sites means you get to control how your organization appears and can ensure that the information is accurate.
Generating and nurturing leads
If your business has some sort of sales process, part of that process is prospecting and generating leads. And while your sales team should be generating a lot of those leads, your website can help with that as well.
The website can be used to nurture leads as well. Nearly everyone includes their website address on marketing collateral like brochures, fliers, and business cards. So if your salespeople are passing any of those items out, you can put even more information on your website to help with the sales process.
Get fewer calls and emails
Depending on your situation, this may seem like a crazy goal. But if you’re an already established organization and get tons of calls and emails, a website can help you resolve that issue.
Having videos or blogs on your website that explain questions or concerns you often receive can help you spend less time explaining them, and it will demonstrate your expertise as well. It may even be a good idea to have an FAQ page where you outline those Frequently Asked Questions and offer up answers.
Regardless of the reason you think you need a website, a digital marketing expert will talk with you about your organization’s specific situation, the problems a website could solve for you, and whether or not you should really invest in one or not.
As you might imagine, we’ve put together a number of website resources since we started building them for clients back in 2003.
To kick things off, here are a few articles about websites that we’ve written over the years:
- How to maintain a WordPress website
- How to tell if your website is frustrating to use
- Creating an effective home page
- Best practices for your homepage video
Second, maybe you do need a website, but you’re not sure what to look for when hiring a web design company. In that case, I’ve got great news! We put together a free ebook to help you pick the right company!
Finally, maybe you’re already talking to web designers and are worried that one of them might be a dud. Watch episode 16 of PixelTV to discover three red flags your web designer may stink.
Finally, I’ve already mentioned it multiple times, but we’ve been helping people with their websites since 2003. In fact, I’ve been personally working on websites since 1996! If you need a new website, website management, managed hosting, or just want to see how we might be able to help you, we would be happy to have a conversation.