We think they do! In fact, if you don’t have a web presence, then you are missing 71% of the prospects looking to make a purchase of your product or service. That’s the number of consumers who do Internet research prior to making a purchasing decision or even prior to leaving the house to make a buy.
About 79% of all adults are online for more than 11 hours a week. That’s a lot of potential customers to ignore. Yet, many small business owners think a website is something only a larger company needs — one with a national customer base. In fact, not having a web presence is a bit like locking your front door for 70% of your business hours.
Small business owners often hire someone to put up a website for them, but they don’t do the second, and equally critical, step if search engine optimization (SEO) work. When they don’t get any response from their website, they tend to dismiss the websiite as “this Internet thing doesn’t work,” forget about it, and their website becomes a lovely scrapbook and not much more than that.
SEO is how you get Yahoo or Google to index your site and rank it on the search results page. When a search is made for a product or service in your area, these search engines call up all of the web pages with relevant information to the search term. If the SEO work is done correctly, your site will appear on page one or two of a relevant search. If it hasn’t been done or its been done badly, your site will be somewhere around page 4,992, if that high.
Buying a website without SEO is like buying a billboard on the Interstate where all of the local commuters pass daily. Right before rush hour, you cover your billboard with a tarp. Just as this would be a crazy waste of time and money, it’s equally crazy to put up a website without SEO.
A site that is well indexed has been especially written for certain keywords and phrases that match popular search terms for a particular product or service. These terms are selected in advance of writing the site and woven into the text so it reads naturally. If the text doesn’t read well, the search engines assign it a low priority and send you back to the badlands of page 4,992.
A well optimized website is central to any marketing program for a small business, if it is written and indexed to attract local searches. So, to answer the question in the headline of this blog, yes, you really, REALLY need one.