Why do small businesses build websites, anyway?
I’ve come to believe that most of them (the businesses) are suffering from dysfunctional strategy. Perhaps hypo-strategy is a better way to look at it — a sort of neglect where it comes to developing any overall business philosophy or vision.
Why would I say this?
Most small business websites do just about everything except what they should be doing.
Websites should do 3 4 things for a business:
- Get you noticed
- Turn prospects who notice you into raving lunatics who will stop at nothing to buy your products or services.
- Give those prospects multiple ways to: contact you, interact with you, buy from you, and (depending on your business) receive their purchases immediately
- Get you noticed some more.
If I were to reverse engineer the strategies behind most of the websites put up by small businesses, I would conclude that the driving business goals were (in no particular order):
- Duplicate our print brochure (from 4 years ago) in HTML
- Show our competition that we can do do that (have a website) too
- Throw uncle/cousin/nephew/grandchild/friend-of-a-friend who “knows about the internet” a bone
- Show the world our lack of taste by giving us a crack at designing (rather than paying for real design work)
- Set it and forget it
- Make it as hard as possible for anyone who might need or product(s) and/or service(s) to actually find us
- Create yet another piece of marketing for which we have no means of measuring effectiveness and ROI
Hey… if you don’t need any more customers or any additional revenue, then by all means, build your website with some of these goals in mind.
But if you’d rather get some results, then there are a couple of things you need:
- Your own self-managed hosting account running Linux or Unix with Apache, PHP, and MySQL
- There are lots of hosts, but I recommend 1and1.com
- A couple of hours to download, upload, install, and tinker
Why WordPress, you ask? Two Three reasons:
- It will get you noticed (as long as you have decent content)
- It is user-updateable
- It will get you noticed
Full disclosure: it would be impossible for me to own any stock in WordPress, because it’s open-source (and they give it away), and the link to 1and1 is an affiliate link (meaning after you buy your account with them, they’ll issue me a small credit).
“But David, we don’t have anything worth putting into a blog… and we don’t want to have to keep writing all the time.”
Then just do us all a favor: close your doors now.
Plus, you can use WordPress as a “content management system” in addition to using it to publish your frequent blog posts.
There’s a lot more to internet marketing than what we’ve mentioned, of course, but in a world where content is king, where frequently-updated content is the supreme king, and where everyone who needs what you’re selling will search for you (most likely using Google), you absolutely must turn on a customer magnet… or watch as your competition gets your future customers instead of you.
By the way, here are some snazzy examples of businesses using WordPress:
- Michael Pink at Selling Among Wolves
- Nourish The Dream (OK… a little shameless self-plug)
- Justin DeStoppelaire at C Service Consulting
- Dr. Kassicieh at Sarasota Neurology
There are lots more, of course. But the main thing to look for is whether a particular business is getting noticed!