A website can be a boon to your small business, helping you reach new markets and explode your profits. Not all websites are created equal – for each successful website, there are many more that do not meet the grade. This article explores the good, bad and ugly of small business websites.
Small Business Websites – The Good
A website boosts your small business’ credibility.
When I taught my first website strategies class in 1998, websites were the exclusive domain of the most cutting edge businesses. Now, the first question a prospect will ask is “What is your website?”
They won’t ask if you have a website, because everyone expects a bona-fide small business to have a website.
A website makes it easier for your raving fans to refer you business.
A web address is easier to remember than a telephone number. For that reason alone, having a web address your fans can remember smoothes the referral process. The benefits don’t end there. By including testimonials, case studies, and samples on your web site, you make it easier for referrals to become clients.
The right website shortens the sales cycle.
The right website, created with persuasive content, will lower the number of calls you get from tire-kickers, looky-loos, and people looking to “nickel and dime” you. Instead, a website can weed these people out, so that you get calls and emails from prospects that are ready to buy.
A website expands your small business to new markets.
The market for a bricks and mortar store is typically a 5-mile radius. The Internet erases boundaries: the market for an internet-based business is worldwide. A search-engine friendly website makes it easy for people in other countries who want what you sell to find your small business.
A website levels the playing field between small and large businesses.
There are many small and micro-business owners making phenomenal profits through their websites. An affordable, top-producing website is within the reach of almost any small business. A prospect who visits your website does not need to know that your “corporate office” is in your basement.
Small Business Websites – The Bad
Not all websites are created equal, though. For each small business earning phenomenal profits from their website, there are several others that don’t even make enough to cover their hosting fees.
Low earning, low traffic websites can be traced to a number of causes, including:
* website components that actually block your website from the search engines,
* content that does not connect with your audience,
* no calls to action, and
* no way to collect leads.
Small Business Websites – the Ugly
It is bad enough to have a website that is not bringing in results. What is truly ugly, however, is when there are prospects actively searching for your business that end up being directed to your competitor’s website.