Why have a website for your business?

Today we’re going to talk about why a business should have a website. It sounds like a silly question but it’s really a very good one.

After 10 years of this Internet boom, 45% of businesses in the United States don’t have a website yet. I find that incredible. Fifty percent have websites that don’t do much for their business, and five percent have websites that are really performing for the business, and they’re wiping the floor with their competitors. Now let’s look at three reasons to have one; three simple reasons why every business should have a website.

First one is, Yellow Pages are dead and dying, they’re really not being used anymore. I ask people all the time, how they find things, and Google is the tool. Yellow Pages stay in the drawer and Google sits on their desktop at work, at home, and that’s how they find solutions for services, products, everything.

Number two: People judge a book by its cover, and websites are just that – it’s the new cover. So when someone goes searching for a solution for their wedding needs or for their hair, or massage needs, they want to go and do business with a place that has a good first impression at the very least. If they get to a website that looks amateurish, they’ll go away and go find some other business to work with.

Number three: Websites are like the new direct mail. Now direct mail’s great and still works, but it’s a one-way conversation. Your company sends mail out and it’s a lot of work, and it goes out to your customers and you hope for a one, two, three percent return.

Websites are a little bit different. People come in; they find you online through various sources, through other websites, business directories, through Google, on blogs, and they will link to your site. Not only do they come into your site, but you have the opportunity there to grab an email address and start a newsletter and mail out. So direct mail’s one way; websites are really a two-way communication.

Let’s talk about search a little bit. If you run a search for, let’s say your service or your product in your area – let’s say you’re looking for catering services in the Boston area or in Worcester or maybe out in the Berkshires. If you get junky results, in other words, you go to Google and you type in ‘catering Worcester’, ‘catering Worcester Massachusetts’, and the results you get just don’t look like catering companies, then you have a great opportunity there.

You really have an opportunity to get your website up to speed, get it optimized for Google, and then own that search when someone in Worcester is looking for a catering company. You’ll be there every time, and new people move to the area, they’re not connected; they’re going to go to Google to find a solution.

Now if you do a search and you get a list of your competitors, then you have some work to do. Just so you know, that’s where your customers are going, or your potential customers are going, they’re going to your competitors.

So, to wrap it up, the three reasons why you must have a website today: Number one: New people are finding your business via Google, or at least they should be. Number two: Once they find your website, they’re judging your business based on the impression they get on your website. Number three: People search and find links and get to your website, and you have the ability to promote via email, out from your website.

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