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Many small and medium size businesses either do not have a website or have one that was thrown together by cousin Bob. Basically, it is a second or third thought and not something that is considered important enough to spend either the time or money to do it right. Think about this: If you are not online, you do not exist. Period. Even worse than not existing is having a bad existence online.
For many owners, the idea of having a website sounds great because, well, everyone is doing it. Once the business owner gets into the nitty gritty of having to have one created, the sudden overwhelming information of what to do, who to hire, how much to pay, domains, hosts, and what the heck is that seem to land like a brick on them. With that in mind, here are some simple ideas to help you organize what you need in order to be online:
There is no excuse for any type of business to avoid a presence on the Internet today. In fact, not being on the web can hurt your business, especially if you own a retail location. Whether you are involved in social media or any number of check in websites, something needs to exist. Many businesses find that they are on these sites whether they choose to be or not.
Sites like Yelp, Foursquare, and others allow customers to create your business location for you. This takes things out of your control. While this may be ok, it is preferable to be engaged with your customers and embrace the new type of social networking. Many of them allow you to post coupon's for those willing to check into your business on their site. Taking advantage of this and other promotions can actually increase customer loyalty by providing bonuses for those who checkin a certain number of times.
Through the years I have worked with many customers who seemed to think that simply having a website was enough to draw millions of new customers. Though I would caution them to lower their expectations for any new website, they were absolutely convinced it would happen. Usually, this thought was pushed by marketing people who wanted to sell a marketing package that had unreal expectations (read as scam), friends or family who "heard" about some guy who made millions by creating a single page on the web, or some other urban legend. The truth is you have to market your site or no one will ever know it exists.
Sure, within days all of the search engines will index your new site and begin the process of ranking it. However, with no age, no marketing, no one referencing it, no traffic, and no effort on your part, the site will sit idle and be ignored by the search engines as being irrelevant. In order to get your site in a high ranking position you need to have fresh content and marketing efforts. Traffic is always measured by the search engines, so conceivably when you have more traffic you'll get bumped up to a higher position in the search results. Before that happens, you need to put yourself out there so you can be found.
Most small business owners understand the importance of having a web presence. However, many make the mistake of not placing the appropriate priority on ensuring the design is done well. Instead, most will focus on making sure the product or service name is mentioned as often as possible. Others will go to great detail to explain what is being offered in order to make sure the customers are finding their products. Here are five simple mistakes that are being made by small business websites: