When the day comes that a business owner decides it’s time to get online, the website either becomes a great new business resource or just represents the business owner’s decision to follow the masses. For some businesses, creating a website is no different than having a billboard along the highway or a listing in the local yellow pages. This type of business owner tends to create the “set it and forget it” type of website – the website that does nothing but announce his services if some searcher happens to come across his webpage.
There is no shortage of sophistication in web development, not only by the big brands, but also by small companies, so it does continue to surprise me that people still have this attitude that business and traffic will come flocking to their sites the moment a switch is flipped and the site goes live. I have worked for such a company and the frustration caused by this ignorance caused hair loss, but also led to the eventual downsizing of the company. Sometimes you just can’t save people from themselves.
Internet = Ocean
The first thing I try to explain to people with new websites is that they have to imagine that the internet is the Atlantic Ocean. His or her website is a tiny pebble at the bottom of the ocean that no one knows about and has no way to find. What makes the website succeed is what the webmaster does to make that pebble rise up to the surface.
If you just create a website with bare bones content, a few pages about your services and a contact page, you shouldn’t have enormous expectations. Starting off this way is okay, if your content is beefed up, your site optimized for local search and you start becoming active in various social networks. But, if you plan is to do it once and not exert any effort into it, then it’s nothing more than an online portfolio your existing customers will see when they find the web address on your business card.
Rising to the Top
If your ambition is to create new business, you have to start out with a completely different attitude. If you’re not prepared to become knowledgeable and implement techniques to propel your website to success, then you should allocate funds to do so and hire a content writer with experience writing for your niche and a reputable SEO company. A website need not be filled with flashy images or cutting-edge design to accomplish what you want. Even beginning with a blog to share industry news and helpful tips is a step in the right direction.
Birds love to flock to billboards. But, if you want people to engage, shop, fill out a form, etc., your website has to fight the currents to the top of the ocean.
Theresa Happe works with NameFind.com, a website offering free tools for businesses to find business domain names and obtain social handles to go with them at the same time.