The beginning of a new year is a good time to review your company’s goals for the coming year. Company goals for growth and sales can be better met with a solid online presence. Even if you do not sell merchandise via your website, a website can be an excellent way of attracting new customers. However, having a company website is not all that is required to have an effective online presence.
While no formula guarantees success, there are things you can do for your business that will increase the likelihood of success. Maybe we should first define success. For some businesses, success is simply staying in business another day and being able to pay all the bills and payroll with something left over for the owner (profit). For others, success is determined not only by revenue but also by growth.
Some businesses are so unsure of the future that they have suspended their business growth and marketing initiatives. Other, more optimistic firms have not only continued their marketing efforts but have increased them. Does it make sense to increase marketing and growth initiatives during such uncertain times? An investment in company growth is for the future.
Did you ever spend a long time working on a spreadsheet or entering data or writing a manual or document only to watch it all disappear before your eyes when your computer froze or crashed? Or, how about the time when you clicked on a link by accident and your computer got wrecked from a virus? And then there was the time when ransomware chewed up all your files and you could not get them back without shelling out loads of bitcoin cash. Computers can be a pain in the, well… but they don’t need to be!
There are a variety of internet search engines, but the number 1 search engine is Google. Your potential customers are using Google to find the services and products you offer. There is no question about that. The big question is, “Will they find your business, or will they find a competitor’s?”
The answer to that question might also be the answer to the second question, “Which business will still be around in 5 or 10 years?” Get found or… get lost.
Your small business needs a website. If it already has one, it may well need a new website. Small business owners are rightfully absorbed in the daily routine of running the business and they often do not afford themselves the luxury of thinking about a new website. Some think since they launched their website a few years (or, perish the thought, many years) ago that there is no need to give more thought to the website.
Some small businesses advertise by way of local business listings or diner placemats or local mailings. These are relatively low-cost options. They also have an exceptionally low conversion rate. That is, the number of people who respond and call or email from these low-cost options is small. Think about how many people will be spilling their soup on your diner placemat ad before one responds to the ad by calling or emailing. These types of outbound marketing techniques are still appropriate for some businesses but for many more businesses, leveraging the power of the internet will yield many more leads; and the leads will be better.
You might have heard that your website needs Search Engine Optimization or “SEO” to be found in Google. Assuming that you understand that having a great website is a good start but not enough in the internet economy, how do you go about getting that great website found? There are many offering SEO services. How to select the right one for your business? Some website developers or hosts will promise to “do SEO” for your site but SEO is not a once and done thing. When selecting an SEO provider, choose one that provides an analysis and review of your website, keyword analysis, link detox, manual link-building, content creation, and promotion among their services. They should provide regular reports so you can track their progress.
Was your business ready for COVID-19? Some “disasters” are thoughtfully provided by Mother Nature like storms and pandemics. Others are from humans. Ransomware and other malicious software attacks account for billions of dollars in lost revenue and remediation each year. And then, of course, there is just the failure of technology. There is never a convenient time for a server to crash or a laptop to die. But it happens and the risk it creates can be mitigated with careful planning. A New Jersey small business computer support company helped a local engineering firm prepare for the worst and they have not lost a days’ work since the Covid-19 pandemic hit NJ.
While their new website was well-received by their existing customers, their sales did not increase much. They were hoping the new website would bring in new bagel-seeking customers but instead, it just made the business more convenient for their existing customers. That was good for the existing customers, but the real goal was to bring in new customers.
They searched in Google and Bing or other search engines for “donuts near me” and “local bagel shop” and “best bagels in New Jersey” and “tasty NJ donuts” and many other search keywords but their site was nowhere to be found in the search engine result pages.
It was the best of sites; it was the worst of sites… Imagine two websites in the same line of business in the same geographic area and representing companies of similar size. Both companies recognize that they are the chief competitor of the other. Both companies want to increase revenue by getting new clients and both have decided to achieve that goal by launching a website to make themselves easier to find by new customers.
We like to think that the offline things we do on our computers are, well, offline. But in the last couple of days, Windows 10 users around the world saw a black box on their screen instead of the search box. Of course, most users assumed it was their own PC that was having the problem. Some rebooted and maybe re-rebooted to no avail. Then, as suddenly as the problem appeared, it disappeared without a trace. So, why is this a problem?
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