Many businesses have websites but many businesses still do not have a business website. What is the purpose of a website? The main benefit of a business website is for someone to find out something about you and your company and/or your products which you carry before contacting you. Based on your website, it can give the impression if you are a large or small company and the types of services and products you provide. Are they needed to get new business? It depends. If you are providing a commodity such as a product or service, then it may help your business. However, if you are looking for a certain type of client, advertising may not work. If you are looking for a financial planner for example, will you look up a name in an advertising directory or will go ask a friend and find one by way of a referral. Accountants are the same way. Some get 99% of their business by referrals. The customers who use for example Yellow Pages may not be the type of customer you want or may not be a customer who has any loyalty, they may be shopping purely for price and if someone is $1 cheaper, they will go to the next person.
If you are selling a widget and lots of people carry the same product, then price is important and advertising works. If someone does a search on the Internet and your website comes up first, the chances that you will be contacted is high. However, to be effective, you need to be on the first 3 pages of a search engine. If you are on page 100, the number of people who will find you are small.
What is an effective website? That is the million dollar question. You need to identify your business, something about your company if you are selling the services of your company. Location of your company is also important. the Internet has made the world much smaller. You may find a company who is a perfect match but if you want to physically to see the owner of the company then you need to make sure that they are located in the same town or city or even country.
Many small retail firms do not have a website. It does not cost a lot of money to create a website. If you have a website, make sure that it is registered in local directories. You cannot create a website and hope that someone will find it. You should ensure that you can be found otherwise, how can your website be a marketing tool?