In this era of internet and online shopping, it’s hard to come across a well-to-do business that does not have its own website. Because of the advent of online marketplaces and more recently, the introduction of wireless purchases and contact-free shopping (bought in large thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic), websites for businesses have become a mainstay and are deemed to present a scenario like that faced by Nokia: adapt or be overtaken. As such, businesses that don’t have websites or believe they’re too small to design and maintain a website are threatened to be run over by businesses offering this facility. However, some businesses still stick with their philosophy, so when you need them, you ask the question: how to find businesses without websites?
The fact is that such businesses are hard to find. Because online marketing and shopping has become a mainstay in the 21st century, therefore, in order to keep the coffers full and the revenues flowing, the business needs a website by which they can attract customers who prefer contactless shopping and shipping. Not making a website and preferring a face-to-face business mode is threatened by extinction; the same scenario has been predicted for such businesses as was for Nokia when it failed to catch up to the highly competitive OS market, characterized by an acceptance for the rapid software change that had engulfed the market.
Just as Nokia succumbed to its stubborn approach towards mobile OS, many (especially in the post-Covid-19 world and economy) are predicting the same fate for businesses that refuse to go online. But they still exist and offer products to the market; so, how to find businesses without websites?
The rise of Amazon is certainly a nod to this prediction: growing from just a bookstore, it has now become a lifestyle website; with everything from groceries to computers delivered to the address of the customer. In doing so, it has overtaken Microsoft to become the largest company by revenue and has made its founder and principal owner, Jeff Bezos, the richest man on the planet.
This underscores the importance websites have in the e-commerce of today and the fact that online marketplaces are here to stay now. So, any business that does not have a website is, in theory, repeating the model that caused a lot of companies to not stick the landing from the 1990’s to the tech-savvy 2000’s and 2010’s.
Let’s first get to know the ways you can find a business without websites.
How to Find Businesses Without Websites
Finding businesses without websites requires some offline research on your part. Of course, we’ve moved way past the need for there to be Yellow Papers, but there are several other iterations of utilities like the Yellow Papers, which is what you will be using to find businesses without websites. Let’s get into it,
Physically Going For the Vicinity of the Address
Several times, locally popular businesses which don’t have much business and customer volume will not have any website or even a Facebook page, but that does not mean that they cannot be found. The first method of finding a business without website would be to ask the locals of the address or any physical landmark near the business. If it really is a popular local destination, chances are you won’t have to go far saying ‘Pardon me’ to every stranger you come across.
In your first or second try, you can potentially locate the vicinity in which the business is located; be it a couple of blocks or a single block, you can then navigate around the area yourself to locate the business, or keep asking someone till you get the exact location and a sign to identify the business itself.
Secondly, there are always digital footprints of a business in a specific area, especially if the business is a frequent tourist destination. This means that there will be reviews posted on sites like Google Maps, which can point you towards the general location of the business.
You can also look for Facebook or Twitter posts of people reviewing items from the business, which might help you narrow down the location of the business to a certain spot. Then, you can use general directions and ask some locals to help you out with the specific location of the business. That will get you where you need to go pretty quickly.
Trying Online Resources like Yelp, Google Maps or Reviewing Sites
Reviewing sites were all the rage during the middle times of the proliferation of the internet; from its inception in 2004 to well into the 2010’s, Yelp posted more reviews of popular businesses, tourist attractions and other sites than any other website, and encouraged users to put in their words for said establishments. It briefly caused businesses to develop a sort of reverence for the site, with customers threatening by ‘leaving bad reviews on Yelp’, which could negatively affect the incoming business.
Similarly, Google Maps also hosts such commenting; for popular eateries, businesses and tourist destinations, you can now view reviews of them left by tourists or visitors, which can get you an idea of how the place is, how they treat customers or tourists, and what can you expect from the area in general.
Of course, if a business does not have a website, there is a good chance they are listed on Google Maps or Yelp. If they are listed on the former, well then, all of your troubles regarding the location of the business are now officially solved. Google Maps has conclusive addresses on its website, and directions to the business from your location, so it isn’t much work locating it should you find the business on Google Maps. Just tap on the ‘Directions’ tab, and the device will automatically guide you towards the location of the business.
If you find the business on Yelp, it can also be helpful, as many reviews and comments can help narrow down the business’ general location for you. If not, there are always details of the business, which contain the address. Look up the business on Yelp, and you might be able to find the address for the business you were looking for, and you can ditch the whole asking people for directions bit.
Using Business Cards or Other Physical Resources
Even small businesses have physical identification resources, like business cards, posters or adverts on billboards or other sort of advertisements that you can use to locate and find the business. For instance, in many towns in America, local attractions always have a location board in the town center or near a bulk of official location signs, which can direct you towards the establishment. You can use resources like this to get to the business.
If that isn’t possible in this scenario, consider this: many business cards or invitation cards now sport a small map, usually on the backside of it, to help newcomers locate the establishment. This is also a great help; if you do have a business card or invitation from any business you know is located in the vicinity of the business you want to find, you can use that card as a map to look for the location and the business. Several times, cards like this will also have names of popular buildings or attractions to help people locate them more easily, so you can use them as legend to navigate your way around the locale and get to the business quickly.
Other physical resources include signs like billboards or addresses on shop descriptions: these can help you know which locale you’re in, and which locale is the business located in. While these aren’t very common, they can still be useful if you know the name of the locale where the business is located but don’t actually know it on the map; so, you can use signs and billboards to identify the place you’re in and where you need to go next.
Getting Business Directories or Market Locations
This is especially helpful if the business you’re trying to narrow down is located in an area full of other businesses of the same type. Because Yellow Pages are something from the past now and are not very likely to help you out in this endeavor of yours, hotels, motels and other wayward establishments usually have a list of businesses or ‘directories’, which list down all the important particulars of the businesses that are located in a specific area. This practice is also common in some countries at a state level, so you can find such business directories and addresses in a government office located in the region.
In some countries, it is also a custom for a market to host a singular type of business; for instance, a market could have 50 establishments in there all dealing with the same product; while this makes it easier for you to locate the premise of any specific shop you might be interested in, it can make it hard for a person to narrow it down and get to it. This cluster of same businesses in the same location can be helpful as you could inquire just about the ‘Main Market’, and start your hunt to find businesses without websites there. However, bear in mind that this is a practice prevalent is some countries and as such, you will not be able to sue this technique elsewhere.
Reverse Google search
Reverse Google search means that instead of finding out about one specific business, you just type in the category and Google will pull up a map on the screen, pinpointing locations that deal in such. For instance, if you were to be looking for a particular CVS or Walgreens in a certain location, instead of typing in ‘CVS’ or ‘Walgreens’, you could simply type ‘drugstores’ or ‘pharmacies near me’, and Google will immediately show you drugstores in your vicinity, from where you can select which one you want to go to or which one was the particular establishment you were looking for.
This feature has now been made even easier now with the introduction of voice assistants supporting voice recognition and integration of maps, so, instead of typing, you could ask Siri or Bixby to locate a KFC with vegetarian options near you, and it will automatically pull up locations for you which contain the directives you asked for.
One of the last items on this list is Craigslist, or other local listings websites, that can help you locate a business that does not have a website or a Facebook page. Craigslist itself has many chapters, like Craigslist Chicago or Craigslist Washington, which only list businesses or items for sale in a specific area. Many businesses that don’t have websites are usually small businesses or establishments, usually with a single person at the helm, who feel they don’t need a website and usually just advertise on such websites that offer free listings, such as Craigslist. So, if you are in the search for a particular business that does not have a website, you can always consult your local listings site or Craigslist to pinpoint the business and maybe get some other information about them.
By following these steps, you can find a business with no website or Facebook page with ease and can either do business with them or offer to make them a website or Facebook page for the sake of expanding their business.