One of the big phone companies in my area has been running an incessant ad campaign for their website builder service. The gist of it is, “Unless your company is on the web, it might as well be invisible.”
Thing is, that’s not actually true. And the truth is much, much worse.
Just because you don’t have a website of your own doesn’t mean your company isn’t on the web. Do a quick Google Search for your business name and you’ll probably find several “business directory” web sites like Manta.com or Google Places or any one of several online Yellow Pages sites. If your company has ever been mentioned in a newspaper article, or if someone has posted a review of your product or service, that might turn up too.
And all of those records might not be particularly flattering or helpful to potential customers.
A couple of examples:
- A small business owner recently came to me with a problem – Google their company name, and one of the first results was the text of a lawsuit filed against them. They wanted to know if there was any way to remove that item. (There isn’t.)
- Another client came to me because a blog posting about a billing dispute had become one of the top search results for her name.
- And the bus company that takes my son to school doesn’t have a site of its own. The last time I tried to find their phone number via Google, I got six different listings from various business directory sites – each with a different number listed.
Now, the phone company isn’t giving this (incorrect) information out of the goodness of it’s giant corporate heart. They’re looking to sell a “quick-and-easy” web site solution – one that allows you to design and publish your own site with a few clicks of your mouse.
Couple of problems with that approach.
First off: “quick and easy” doesn’t necessarily mean “good.” The websites generated by these tools are very limited, and they tend not to be optimized for search engines to read. That means your site might not out-rank all those other listings for your company.
“Quick and easy” also doesn’t necessarily mean “inexpensive.” Or even “cost effective.” The phone company’s website solution starts out cheap – just $4.99 per month to start. But adding features – like an e-mail with your own domain name or the ability to sell products online – cost extra. (The phone company? Nickel-and-diming customers? Shocking, I know.)
Here’s the reality: your company does need a website. But you’re going to be much better off in the long run with a site under your direct control, built in a system that is optimized to be read by the search engines, that can be configured to do exactly what you need without incurring a host of monthly add-on charges. That might cost you a little more at set-up, but you’ll make that money back – and more – over the life of your business.
Contact us for a free price quote and we’ll be happy to help.