Web News

Do Small Businesses Need Web Dev Agencies in 2024?

June 11, 2024
June 18, 2024
Episode Number:

The classic 5-page website is often called a "small business website" or a "basic website" among web development agency owners. It's a staple of the industry because it symbolizes a basic site that many businesses will start their online presence with, and it can easily be sold as a package deal alongside hosting to onboard new clients. As the web has matured, other tools such as Squarespace, Wix, and Webflow have come up with DIY solutions that bring the power of web design, ecommerce, and hosting to users with often a single affordable monthly fee. In this episode, Matt and Mike discussed the small business website landscape to-date in 2024. Through their discussions they debate whether it's worth it for a web dev agency to offer 5-page small business websites anymore, if there's any value in a 5-page website in today's SEO, and whether a business' budget makes a difference which direction they should go.


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Show Notes


  • A standard package the many web development agencies used to offer was a “small business website” or a “basic website plan” that consisted of:
    • 5 pages
      • An email form on the contact page
      • A slider on the home page for marketing
      • Image gallery
      • About Us
      • Applicable misc (ie product page)
  • Similar basic website packages are still available at some web dev agencies, and can commonly be found on the Fiverr marketplace to this day
  • The problem with taking on these small projects as a web dev agency is that they’re usually expected to be delivered: perfect, fast, and cheap
    • A lethal combination that can have you working on a $500 site for more than a month
    • Small businesses are often not flush with cash, so they commission jobs at a low price point and need the results to pay off quickly
      • We’ve had countless requests to ensure that these small 5 page sites will go right to the #1 spot in Google…and often times without any copy provided by the client
  • The web has evolved a lot since the days of the small business website being prevalent as more sites flood the market and services are offered remotely across the globe, gaining any sort of traction online requires effort, expertise, and long-term devotion

What does a 5 page website do?

  • A slightly more advanced “business card website”
    • A “business card website” is a site that is super basic, and is often one page
    • It’s used by a business, or individual, to point people towards (ie from a business card), offering legitimacy and a place where customers can reliably find contact information they may need (ie phone number, email, address)
  • Benefits of a small business website:
    • Shows legitimacy
    • Can help potential customers to a final decision (once they’re on the site)
    • Great place to point people to on business cards or from events
    • Reliable place to house information that customers may need (ie your address)
  • Problems of a small business site:
    • Getting someone onto the site in the first place will be a challenge (SEO - more on that below)
    • If someone is worried about price enough to get a small business site, they may not have the time to dedicate to updating their site’s content (gallery images get dated, new phone numbers don’t get updated on the contact page, etc.)
    • Usually an after thought for the business (they aren’t a digital business, so they don’t “really” need a website) 

Are small business websites relevant in 2024?

  • By default, yes if the business is okay with the benefits listed above
  • In general these benefits are not enough, as lead generation (#1 Google) is the main reason why people want a website
  • A small business website can kind of be compared to a house
    • The 5 basic pages are the foundation
    • The rooms are the content topics
    • The furnishings are the actual written content covering the topics
  • Can SEO work for a 5-pager?
    • In theory, yes - depending on the niche and the SEO of the pages themselves (ie content on them) then a small business could possibly get some good leads (especially from local sources - for example, if they’re the only ice cream parlor in a small town)
  • SEO - Content is King
    • Keyword research
    • Content generation that’s relevant and lead-generation worthy (ie write a guide on what VPS hosting is and then offer your VPS hosting service right there at the end of the article)
    • Keeping content up-to-date, or at least writing new pieces that are relevant as time moves on
    • You can think of good SEO-articles as multiple flyers
      • Sure one really well placed flyer may generate you a bunch of leads 
      • But the chances of success is much higher if you have several flyers across town in strategic spots

So what should small businesses do in 2024?

  • If the budget is tight:
    • Use a DIY website builder w/ CMS (ie WordPress + Elementor hosting)
    • Learn how to write SEO-friendly blog posts
      • Keyword research
      • Get assistance from AI
      • Learn how to sell your product in a blog post that is less a sales pitch and more a help to as many people as possible 
  • If the budget is not tight
    • Hire a web development agency or marketing agency that knows web development and SEO
    • Prepare a list of topics that your business covers
    • (It’s still a good idea to learn a little bit about how to write SEO-friendly blog posts, so you can help guide your hired team)