Friday, June 26, 2009

Small Business Tips: Get a Web Site

I am about to renovate a bathroom. I began my search for a new vanity by going online to see what my local kitchen and bath stores had to offer. I came up dry. One place I used for my last renovation three years ago still has no Web site! It has a listing on Yahoo! yellow pages, but it has nothing to click-through to. Other places with Web sites had sites with nothing to look at. They say they have to come out and measure and design. Guys! Give me some choices online. Give me some ideas. Don't make me drive all over.

If you want to sell, if you want customers to come in the door, you need a Web site. The Web site is your gateway to the world, even with a local business. These small business owners have no idea that local people search locally. I read recently that about 30% of small, local businesses still don't have a Web presence. That is crazy. The majority of people have broadband and shop online.

But the big companies are no better. Kohler's site is too hard to navigate.

I finally went to a kitchen and bath store and sat down with a salesman. He took me all over the store, gave me two thick catalogs, and wrote up a computerized proposal. He kept up-selling. Maybe that's why the places don't have Web sites. They want to up-sell. But you need people to come in the door first. Let customers find you on the Web.

If you have a business, put up a Web site. You can do it cheaply -- about $10 per month for an off-the-shelf template -- or very well -- thousands of dollars for a great site with all sorts of capabilities.

Let the public get to know you online. Bring in the traffic. Research shows that most people shop online and buy in the bricks and mortar store. I repeat - if you have a business, you need a Web site.
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