Small business owner? Well, you aren’t the only one asking these questions. Many small business owners wonder just how important web presence is to their brick and mortar. Technology is moving at high-speed; it’s easy to feel lost when it comes to the newest marketing methods.
I just paid for a new website 5 years ago; do I really need a new one?
Websites are not only about aesthetics. There’s nothing wrong with a little lo-fi charm, but if your website is five years old or older, there’s a very good chance that it is lacking certain functionalities that users have come to expect during the intervening years. There’s a big difference between making stylistic choices and simply being behind the times. Websites do not become outdated overnight; the process takes time. You don’t have to know all of the latest web trends, but paying attention just enough to know when your website needs a facelift is great for branding and keeps you in the running for winning business through your website that you might not have gotten otherwise.
2. What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. In short, it is crafting your website in a way that allows people using search engines, like Google, to find your website. In a little more detail, it is improving the way search engines view your website so that they allow your website to be found more often by people using search engines. Good SEO is systemic; it is not simply paying some company a large sum of money to keep an eye on your keywords. The text and headlines on your website’s pages can be optimized so that your content is clear and keyword rich. The layout and navigation of your website can be optimized so that all of your menus, links, and buttons work as advertised. Your metadata can optimized so that you can target your ideal readers more carefully, and readers can find what they are looking for more easily. There are many facets of SEO, and there are plenty of simple things you can likely do on your own to ensure you establish a strong base.
3. How important is social media, really?
Social media can be an extremely powerful tool; it is well worth the effort of doing well, and not to be taken lightly. Most social platforms tend to be visually rich, which works really well for most target markets, especially younger ones. Each platform works slightly differently so it is important to hash out which ones will work best for you. The most important thing is to stay within your comfort zone. If you don’t think Twitter will work for your brand, then don’t use it. Using every platform under the sun works best when you have the time and attention to devote to them and to keep them consistent. If you overextend yourself into social media, you may well end up doing more work, and less effectively. In the worst case scenario, a rogue social media account could damage your brand. Make sure you either have enough time to do it right, or enough resources to allow someone to handle it for you.
4. Do I need an app, or a mobile website?
Apps can be handy, especially with the proliferation of smart phones and tablets, but more important still is having a responsive, and mobile-optimized website. Responsive websites are phasing out the need for mobile sites. “Responsive” refers to your website’s ability to shift and resize its content so as to provide the full website experience on any size screen. There was a time when mobile sites were popular. This was before responsiveness caught on. Now, instead of building two websites, you can satisfy all of your needs with one responsive site. If your brand has a large, dedicated audience, then creating your own app might have value. It is a good way to utilize calls to action and other marketing pieces, but only after you’ve established a strong presence with your actual website.
Initially, it was easy for small business owners to write off web presence as trendy and irrelevant to their brick and mortar. That time has passed. Web presence has become essential, and the best news, more accessible for small businesses.