Illustration of the concept of business referrals received from word of mouth.

Do you have a business that stays afloat solely due to word of mouth? Otherwise known as referrals? You get new business because your clients spread the word. That’s a pretty sweet deal. The best advertising, without a doubt, is word of mouth. However, I’ve heard a number of business owners say they don’t need a website because they have so much business coming via word of mouth, or referrals. And to this I say, you still need a website to increase word of mouth business.

Where is one of the top places people ask for recommendations? It’s social media. Whether that’s on their own Facebook wall, on a neighborhood group, Twitter, Nextdoor, etc. They go there and ask, “Who should I hire for this?” And people respond with names and information. If you don’t have a website, then the only thing someone can share is your name and phone number. And that can work. But if I go online and ask for recommendation, and ten people respond, and 9 of them include links to websites… there’ a really big chance I’m going to look at those websites before I call the one without a website.

Online research

Most people, even when they get a referral, want to do online research before they hire someone, particularly someone who is going to do work on their home or property, or provide personal or beauty services. If a friend refers a contractor to to me, the first thing I’m going to do is Google their business and visit their website, look at their portfolio, and look at their reviews. If you don’t have a website… then there’ no portfolio for me to look at. While my friend or family may be a reliable source of information, that’s just one person’s experience. I want to see real evidence and see if I can trust you.

More availability

Your website is available anytime a potential client wants to learn more. Referrals might come at odd hours, and a website ensures they can get the information they need regardless of the time. I get a lot of inquiries at 2AM, but I rarely get a phone call then. Having a website allows people to contact you on their schedule, which gives you a lot more opportunities to receive referrals.

Missed opportunities due to delays

Not everyone will act on a referral immediately. If they don’t remember your name or have trouble finding contact information, you might lose a potential client. A website makes it easy for them to find you later.

Credibility and trust

A professional website establishes legitimacy and builds trust with potential clients. When someone hears about you through a referral, they’ll likely search for you online. Having a well-designed site with clear information about your services, experience, and positive reviews reinforces the positive referral they received. It shows that you are a true professional. It’s often the first impression a potential client has of you. No website raises red flags about your business. Are you legit? Are you trustworthy? How do we know?

What about a Facebook page instead of a website?

I get this question a lot. Can’t you just have a Facebook page? And yes, you should be on social media if you want your clients to find you there, but no, a Facebook page is not a good alternative to a website.

  1. Not everyone uses Facebook, so if that’s your only online presence, you just lost all the clients who don’t use Facebook.
  2. Facebook pages aren’t always indexed in the search engines, and if they are, they aren’t indexed well, so you are likely making it harder for people to find you.
  3. Facebook’s algorithm can make it hard for people to find your page.
  4. Facebook owns any content you post on their platform.

Even if all you have is a simple, one-page website, that’s at least something for potential clients to see when they try to find you and will increase word of mouth business. As long as you have a professional looking web presence, with basic information about your business, contact info, on a custom domain, you’re going to get a lot more business than if you didn’t have it.

Posted in | Tagged with
Amy Masson, Web Developer

Amy Masson

Amy is the co-owner, developer, and website strategist for Sumy Designs. She's been making websites with WordPress since 2006 and is passionate about making sure websites are as functional as they are beautiful.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.