One of the common misconceptions holding back many businesses, especially in rural areas, from having a website is the outdated thinking that it costs a small fortune. Maybe it always did many years ago. But not today.

I can’t stress this enough: Every business MUST have a website. It shouldn’t be a debate. Google is the new ‘Yellow Pages’. If you don’t have a presence on the web, you are not showing up in the search results of potential consumers. Forget that old slogan “Let your fingers do the walking.” Today, it’s all about “Let your mouse do the walking.”

Even if you don’t want a full-blown website, consider having at least a basic site or one-page website with your business essentials. It’s interesting that some businesses will still pay extra dollars to have their listing highlighted in the paper edition of a phone book, or in a newspaper, but will still ignore having a website. Think about that. What makes is absolutely essential in today’s digital era?

The major reason that web design has decreased significantly in cost is because of CMS platforms (Content Management Systems). Free open-source platforms such as WordPress, Drupal and Joomla mean you no longer have to pay for having a website built from scratch like the old days. A good chunk of the work is done. Likewise, each of these free open-source website platforms have large communities which are constantly developing plugins (tools to add more functionality to a website). In the old days you would’ve paid a web developer lots of cash to build such applications from scratch.