To most of us reading this, the entire world seems to be online. If it isn’t on Google it doesn’t exist. Am I right? That is an illusion created by the fact that we spend an enormous amount of time online, and find everything we use on the internet. The reality is that over two thirds of businesses in the USA have no online presence.
Those businesses are missing out on an enormous opportunity. The internet has democratized mass communication, giving regular people and small businesses the ability broadcast their ideas and message worldwide, more or less for free. A company website is like a physical store location, except with far less overhead, and needs to be treated as such.
Your cyber Real Estate
As with your street address, you want an easily accessible location. To accomplish this, you need to rank highly on the Google search engine. This can take time and effort, but that is how you get walk-ins for your cyber location.
Make sure that you get a simple and straightforward web address that both the Google search algorithm and a human web surfer can recognize as relevant to you. It should not include any numbers, misspellings, or gibberish. This will help you rank better in the search engine and help people to take you more seriously.
You will also need to build your website yourself. You can do that with an open source content management system. The coolest one is undoubtedly Drupal, but if you’re new to website building you will probably want something simpler, like Quick.CMS or boring old WordPress. They will help you organize create a website quickly and easily with code that won’t give Google’s search algorithm a stroke.
Attracting visitors to your online location works differently than bringing people to your physical store. Like any store, the hardest part is to get people to come inside in the first place. But unlike a physical location, getting people to come inside often requires making the visit worthwhile regardless of whether they buy anything.
Remember, visiting your website requires no significant investment, in transportation or time, for your customers. If they went to your site, maybe to look up a recipe for raspberry pie, they are more likely to think of you later when they need to buy cookware.
One of the biggest mistakes that businesses make online is that they treat content as advertising space. You should we working to get your business to be part of the conversation in an organic way, or you run the risk of being lost in an ocean of Nigerian princes and penis enlargement pills.
Content marketing takes some effort to do properly, but it’s worth it because you can do it with an investment of time and effort and no overhead.
When you think about the cost of real world advertising, which does not have the large scale potential of internet marketing, and the cost of building, purchasing, or renting a physical store, you begin to see the incredible potential of the internet, where everything that isn’t free is still so much cheaper.
Jared Whitehead is an old hand at web development and sandwich engineering. One of those is more relevant to the subject matter than the other, but both define him. He likes to volunteer at the humane society and annoy his friends with pictures of cats.
Image courtesy Paul Inkles