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Half of Small Businesses Don't Have a Website

businessman-no-website.jpgThat is not a joke headline. It blows my mind, but last year, an Ad-ology study found, 46 percent of small businesses surveyed said they did not have a website.

What are they waiting for?

Granted, the number of small businesses with websites took a jump in the past two years, from 33 percent to 45 percent, a Discover study showed. How many more small businesses will join them this year? It's unclear.

In the Discover study, 46 percent of respondents said it's a myth that every company needs a website. And they're right--companies that don't want to be successful certainly shouldn't spend the time and money to develop a company site. So every company doesn't need one.

Yes, you can still be found in online phone directories and on Google maps and such, without a company site. But is that impressing prospects? Does your company have LinkedIn or Facebook page, without a company site to link to? I'm doubtful.

It's possible many of these skeptics plan to cave in and put up a website this year. A VistaPrint Small Business Survey last year showed 32 percent of small-business owners surveyed said they would work on Web development if they had more time or more money to devote to it. Perhaps as business improves, we'll see more sites sprout.

The no-website attitude reminds me of a prospective copywriting client I interviewed recently. He was dying to hire me to write content for his website--as soon as he landed his first client. How would he do that without the site to sell the company's services? He wouldn't--I've never heard back from him.

If you're on the fence about having a website, I have one question for you: How many big, successful companies don't have a website? I'm betting none. That's because a company website is just a basic, must-have marketing tool for the 21st Century. 

Even better, online it's a level playing field for small business. You can make your company look just as good as bigger competitors, for very little money. Why would you pass up that chance?

If you don't have a company website, weigh in here. Why don't you have one? Do you have plans to get one in 2010? Do you believe small businesses don't need websites? How do customers find you online, or do you not get customers through the internet? Leave a comment and let us know.

Carol Tice, a freelance writer, is chief executive of TiceWrites Inc. in Bainbridge Island, Wash. She blogs about freelance writing at Make a Living Writing. Email her at carol@caroltice.com.

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