In today’s age of advancing technology, it is critical for small businesses to be online. I always stress that every business should have a website. It is an essential of small business marketing. Even if you think you’re not going to get new customers from the web, you should - at the very least - have a single landing page with your general information.
More and more people these days are turning to their computers (or phones, tablets and other mobile devices) to get information. This includes information about your products or services, your phone number or location, reviews of your business. If you’re not online and your competitors are, you’re at a huge disadvantage. The main point here is: Increase your web presence as much as possible!
You’re saying, “I don’t have the budget to create a web site right now!” Don’t assume that a web site has to be an incredibly costly endeavor. Do some research. Shop around. I recently talked with a small business owner who has a fitness studio and nutrition consulting business. She said she had someone create her website for $4,500, which was (allegedly) half-price. She was ecstatic about the deal, while I was shocked that she had paid so much.
Certainly, some web sites will cost a few thousand dollars and be well-worth the investment, and may even be an amazing deal. But, for a small business (requiring 8 pages or less), you can probably find a professional to develop your website for about $1,500 or less (without the gimmick that it’s 50% off). After I checked out this business owners website, I was further surprised at the inferior quality of the web site. The text was illegible in some places and the graphics misaligned and unprofessional. I felt disappointed because I know I could have developed this web site and made it more visually appealing, more user-friendly and better optimized for search engines. And it would have cost her half the price that she paid!
If you think you can pool a little money together for a website, do it. It is well worth the investment. If you have limited dollars, keep your budget firm and shop around. If you’re willing to make some sacrifices in the complexity of your site and go with something simple, you can definitely get a professional web site up and running for under $1,000.
If your business is suffering (like many are) and you don’t have two extra nickels to rub together, consider just getting your business information online in is as many places as possible. While this is not nearly as beneficial from a marketing perspective, it will at least allow your customers and prospects to get your basic information from the web.
You can go online yourself and list your business information with Google, Bing, Yelp and other search engines as well as review sites or listing agencies. This is small business marketing at a minimum...it'll help your business get some attention even without a web site. Go to GetListed.org to get started in the process of listing your business information on relevant sites. This can be a little time consuming, but well worth the time and effort. Search engines are replacing paper directories like Yellow Pages. If your business is not coming up in these search engines, it’s like you don’t exist to many of the potential customers who are looking for you, or businesses like you, online.