Does My Local Business Really Need a Website?
Do you remember the last time you used a phone book? It was a convenient tool back in the day for looking up business listings because of those infamous "yellow pages". But now, since Google and Yahoo became popular, those days of thumbing through the book almost cease to exist. So why continue to spend money and effort into advertising in there?
Today, the success of small businesses drives the American economy and yet many of those businesses do not have a website! I know, from personal experience, that small business owners are among the busiest people, and I have heard that they do not have the time or budget to have a good website developed. This needs to be reconsidered! Thousands of customers are constantly searching the Internet looking for products and services to meet their needs. And, more often than not, they will judge whether or not to do business with your company on the basis of your website. Here are some small business website myths revealed:
Myth 1: It will cost tens of thousands of dollars to create a website
There are plenty of excellent websites that can be produced for under $10,000 and can help drive customers to your business. However, the more pages of information that you want to share, the greater the investment.
Myth 2: I don't have the staff to update the website
This is definitely a legitimate concern with small business owners. Having an out-of-date website, that is rarely updated, is possibly worse than having no website at all. But many Content Management Systems (CMS), like the ones used to build most of our clients websites, are so good now that it is an easy task to update the website.
Myth 3: My competition does not have a website so why do I need one?
The other variation to this is "My business isn't the type that needs a website." Two words: Not true. In this information and technology driven society you need to have a presence on the Web. It could mean the difference between your business getting new customers or having them go somewhere else for products or services.
Myth 4: I can get away with a simple, free website
I often see that a company has created a 'brochure' website. It has a Home page, About Us, Contact Us, and that's about it. I actually had a few of my clients come to me with their "brochure" sites they made on those web building sites asking for an overhaul. Their original sites were not engaging to their customers and they didn't accuratley portray their business.
Myth 5: All of that search engine stuff (SEO) is too hard to figure out
SEO or search engine optimization refers to using the words and phrases on your website that your customers will use when searching for the products and services you offer. Let's say you are a flower shop and there are several competitors in your area. A family is all of a sudden unhappy with your competitor because the wrong flowers were delivered to a loved one and now they are searching for a new shop. They go to Google and search the type of business you are (flower shop) as well as your area. It is good to make a list of possible words and phrases that your customers may use to find you and use that list to optimize your website. Having optimized keywords will bring your site higher on Google and Yahoo and is fast becoming the single most important thing that can help your business.
So if you are a small business and have a less than great website or no website at all, you are missing a great opportunity to be there when potential new customers are looking for your product or service. And you are also missing an opportunity to tell your story in a fun and engaging manner. Customers are looking for what you have to offer. Will they find you?