A website isn’t a prerequisite for running any business, even for e-commerce companies, so the quick answer to this question is yes, of course. Nothing can stop you from starting a home-based business right now without a website. The real question is, should you?

There’s no quick answer to that one, except perhaps “it depends.” Approximately 31.7 million small businesses (half are home-based) in the United States, about 29% still don’t have a website in 2021. Moreover, 32% of small businesses that don’t have a website claim they never needed one, while 33% said their social media pages were enough.

Statistics are sketchy for home-based businesses without a website. However, deducing equivalency based on the available information, about 4.5 million home-based businesses have no website, and about one-third of that don’t believe they need one.

Meanwhile, conventional wisdom says that all businesses must have a website. One of the reasons cited is that nearly all (97%) consumers look for companies online, and 30% won’t patronize a business without a website.

So, it depends.

The numbers don’t tell you the characteristics of home-based businesses with no website that go a step further to claim they don’t need one. Perhaps the clue to the puzzle lies in that distinction.

Key Takeaways

  • Approximately 29% of home-based businesses don’t have a website, and 32% don’t think they need one.
  • Some home-based businesses don’t need a website because they have other online means of reaching out to their customers.
  • About 84% of people believe that companies with a website are more credible.
  • The three general types of home-based businesses are service, product, and computer-based.
  • The need for a website doesn’t depend on the business type but the specific needs of the individual home-based company.

What Are Some Common Types of Home-based Businesses?

The choices for home-based businesses are mind-boggling. It would seem there’s no limit to the possibilities. For instance, did you know that there is such a thing as a golf ball diving service? After all, someone has to do it, and golf ball divers earn a decent living at about $200 a day (before taxes) as independent contractors.

How about professional line-standing? It’s a thing. If you are still looking for your place in the sun, you can find some great ideas for your home-based business online.

Home-based businesses tend to be eclectic. They can run the gamut of nearly all types of companies across most industries. As long as you can conduct business from your home ― and zoning laws allow it ― it’s a legitimate home-based business. Generally, however, home-based businesses fall under three types: service, product, and computer-based.

Service-based Businesses

Service companies you can start from home would typically depend on your skills and resources. For example, if you are an accountant, you can begin an accounting business. If you have a vehicle, you can do ridesharing or delivery. A few other examples of home-based service companies include:

  • Dog walking
  • Landscaping
  • Personal shopper
  • Pet grooming
  • Tutoring
  • Bookkeeping
  • Housecleaning
  • Car repair
  • Photography
  • Professional consultancy

Perhaps the ultimate in home-based businesses is a bed and breakfast. Like any other business, a home-based business also receives payment for carrying out a task for a client. Home-based businesses cut across industries. If you have a talent for braiding hair and people are happy to pay you for it, that can be a service company.

Product-based Businesses

You’ve probably heard about many people making sourdough or taking up painting and other crafts. These are viable businesses anyone could start at home as a product-based company. Some examples of these include producing:

  • Baked products
  • Candles
  • Jewelry
  • Clothes
  • Home decor

A product-based business is anything that provides physical goods to your customers. One surprising hit in the home-based business sector is bath bombs, which surged in popularity in 2018. While interest dipped some in early 2021, it’s picking up again. You can start a bath bomb business quite easily.

Bath bomb search trends
Bath bomb search trends worldwide
Source: Google Trends

Computer-based Businesses

A computer-based business is in a class of its own because it’s often both a service and a product, delivered virtually. Take website development, for example. A website developer performs a service for the client and delivers a product that would be the final website. However, most e-commerce companies deliver physical goods to customers, but it’s primarily a service since the main function is delivery.

Sell Online with Shopify
Source: Shopify

These types of businesses require computer hardware and software and a certain skill level in a particular task. Other computer-based companies include:

  • Content writing & editing
  • Graphic designing
  • SEO
  • Video editing
  • Blogging
  • Virtual assistance
  • Data entry
  • Software development
  • Social media management

The subject of social media creation, such as YouTubers, is interesting because it’s not a traditional business where you perform a service or provide a product in exchange for money. It deals with influence and, as such, social media content is arguably a marketing tool rather than a business. However, there’s no denying that a successful social media creator makes a lot of money, even though monetization mechanics are somewhat complicated.

Are Certain Sectors or Industries Suitable for Running From Home?

Many iconic companies started as home-based businesses. Henry Ford, for instance, built the prototype for what was to become the Model A in his garage. So, it would be fair to say that suitability has nothing to do with it. Many successful businesses started at home and eventually moved out, regardless of sector or industry.

However, what’s notable is that most of the big businesses that began from home or the garage are computer-based businesses. If you had to choose a sector peculiarly suited to running from home, at least in the beginning, it would probably have something to do with a computer and the internet.

In What Scenarios Would a Website Be Unnecessary?

Despite what most people say about websites, some home-based businesses can function effectively enough without a website. Dog walking, for instance, is a service limited to a tiny area, so a better way to tell people about your business is to tell people about it. Word of mouth, flyers, and posters on telephone poles and community centers are all effective marketing methods for this type of service.

Some e-commerce businesses can also dispense with websites. Dropshippers, for example, can do their best work with e-commerce platforms that specialize in dropshipping, such as SaleHoo.

SaleHoo
Source: SaleHoo

A separate website would be redundant in this case, as would any company that exclusively does business on similar platforms, such as Etsy. Social media personalities are also dependent on their platforms, so unless they are also selling merchandise or products, then a website isn’t necessary.

Some would argue that selling on these platforms means fierce competition from thousands of others, so it’s better to have a website. However, putting up a new website means competing with millions of other websites as well. Wouldn’t it be wise for entrepreneurs to focus on outdoing the competition on niche marketplaces rather than die trying to get traction on search engines with a new website?

In What Scenarios Would a Website Be Necessary?

If you were to search the web for an answer to this question, you would see about 169 million results, almost all explaining why businesses need a website. However, that isn’t true.

What is true is that in most cases, a website will make you more visible to a broader audience. More importantly, it helps you establish trust and credibility, according to about 84% of the population. Why is that important? Well, you want people to do business with you. That isn’t going to happen if a home-based business looks dishonest.

For example, if you are an accountant offering your services to small businesses, you’ll be handling sensitive personal and financial information. People who have availed of your services may hesitate to refer you to other people without an established online presence, which includes a website.

Another scenario where a website would be necessary is selling software as a service. Granted, SaaS companies often use a third-party platform to host their software, but clients need to find it, appreciate the benefits of the software, and understand how it works. The best way to do that’s to establish the product using a website.

DigitalOcean Saas Help
Source: DigitalOcean

Generally, a website would be necessary for a home-based business if the said business is dependent on online means for generating leads, communicating with customers, and providing information about the company.

Can You Add a Website Later?

Suppose you own a home-based business that relies on word of mouth and the local community or online marketplaces and social media platforms. In that case, you can decide whether to add a website once you have established your business a bit more. Delaying the launching of a website won’t significantly affect your business, at least during the initial stages.

If you’re in a business that relies on online communications, don’t wait around until you have a website to start your business. You can always spread the word and establish your reputation online through social media until your website is ready.

Remember that putting a website to good effect takes time. Creating ― or having someone create ― a website is easy. The hard part is getting traction on search engines. Your best bet is to start your home-based business without a website so that when it’s ready, you already have some great testimonials, videos, and posts to showcase there.

Conclusion

You can run a home-based business without a website and, in some cases, you might not even need one. The important thing isn’t to let the absence of one hold you back from launching your business.

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