After 10+ years of working with small businesses, I have noticed a trend when talking to business owners about their website. The trend is that business owners seem to think about their website as a cost, rather than an investment. So what? What’s the difference?

“A cost is simply an expenditure of money, time, or resources. An investment is an expenditure that has a strong possibility of a return.”

Think about how customers discover you, how they determine if they are ready to engage with your business, and how the inquire or order. If the answer to any of these is “your website,” then your website is an investment and should be treated as such. This blog post will hopefully explain that your website is

For most business owners, the conversation usually goes directly to new customer acquisition. Are new prospects finding your business online and becoming customers? Sure, that is nirvana for a small business, but let’s examine some of the less obvious ways that your website can produce returns. Let’s use a small general contracting / home remodeling business called McCarthy Contractors in Houston TX as our example.

New customer acquisition. A prospect Googles “kitchen contractors Houston” then your site shows up #1 in Google, the prospect clicks to your site and sends an inquiry. This is largely an outcome of good small business SEO. Obviously this is ideal, so I won’t spend too much time here.

Even if your site gets decent traffic, not everyone who clicks through to your site will take the next step and inquire. A healthy conversion rate for a business like this might be 5%, meaning 1 out of every 20 visitors to the site takes the next steps (calls, inquiries, etc). What if that conversion rate was 10%? This General Contractor business would double the amount of inquiries or leads. It’s safe to assume better conversion marketing would be a decent investment. Conversion marketing means anything that helps a visitor take action. It can include Calls To Action on the site, (Call today for a free estimate), showing high-quality photos of your work, or a chat feature that lets the prospect get answers quickly like “are you available for next week?”.

Referrals – even word of mouth referrals can be increased with a good website. A happy customer tells their friend “I used McCarthy Contractors for my kitchen.” Then what? The “friend” in this example still needs to get in touch, and the website is the most obviously place to start. Now the friend goes to McCarthyContractors.com and can see some previous projects, learn about the owner, and inquire. In today’s digital world, information is abundant. The days of “give me his #, hold on, let me grab a pen” are coming to an end. A good business website showcases work, provides legitimacy, and helps gain trust.

Time savings from answering frequently asked questions. Imagine getting a dozen calls per day from customers asking “do you do bathrooms as well?” Your website can save you time by answering these frequently asked questions? Rather than having to start at the beginning with every new prospect, use your website to answer the most frequently asked questions. More to the point, PRICING! Showing your pricing on your site can save hours of wasted time going back and forth with customers. If you’re unsure that this is a good idea, TEST IT! For my business I find that showing my prices online is a massive advantage. It saves me and my potential customers time. Listing your prices publicly also shows what segment of the market you serve (are you a discount service or do you serve the high-end of your market?). If your site saves you even a half hour per day, you can easily quantify the value.

So, if your website does any of the above it should be considered an investment. If you haven’t already, we encourage you to try our free website improvement tool to get a personalized “recipi” for your business’ web marketing. We give you recommendations and insights on how to improve your web presence, and we can find professionals to take on any task if you don’t want to do it yourself.