The small business owners just don’t get it. We, the technical types, can hype ourselves about HTML5, Flash, patterns, interactivity, social features, geolocation and other cool buzzwords, but regular small shop owner couldn’t care less. They have enough on their hands to worry about, so why should they care about brand new web site if they already have “a web site”? Just because you want their money it doesn’t mean they are willing to give it to you.
Here’s what you can you, as a small business owner, should know about the web site and his business. First of all – even though you may not realize it, people are talking about your business. With the proliferation of the web sites like Yelp, Kirtsy and omnipresent Craigslist, there’s always somebody talking. As an example, let me tell you a little story of one of my remote relatives who owns a shoe repair business in Williamsburg.
One day he came back from work and told his family that one of his clients told him that someone somewhere on the internet posted that his business has closed. Family council have decided to take immediate measures and my number was dialed. I was told to fix the internet or whatever was saying that his business is closed. As you can imagine – I was thrilled at the task of fixing the whole internet on such a short notice. As it turned out – it was nothing more than some weird check box on Yelp’s web site that anyone can tick signifying that business has closed. Of course, there’s no way for Yelp to verify that, so they have just gladly accepted it – just like they did accept my correction of this. In just a click of the mouse the internet was repaired and continued to go on as usual.
As I have read, with much amusement, the business already had quite a few reviews. Most of them discussed the pricing structure – or rather a lack of one. A few more things here and there that I thought my relative should have known about – and I was ready to bring the happy news back to him.
What this boils down to is this – now matter how small your business are, in this day and age, there’s something online about your business. If it’s not your web site – then it’s someone else’s rant about your business (not necessarily a happy one). If, after such a rant, your potential client will see a web site that was designed by an 8-year old, that potential client will never become a real one. A few years ago you only competed for customers’ attention amongst your competition, but you always were. Now you’re competing against a number of sites that hold numerous reviews and ratings, people’s blogs and tweets and whatever else. Keeping up with all that flow of information with old and antiquated web site is just impossible.