What’s a small business website for, anyway?
When I teach my “Small Business Startup” class at Arlington County, Virginia Adult Ed., the most common misconception that students bring to the course is the notion that incorporating their business is the most important step in a business startup.
My reply is always, well, if that were the case, and all starting a business takes is to file some paperwork with the state and pay a small fee, wouldn’t we all be in business? My students are quickly dissuaded, and we are free to discuss the essential questions in business formation of value propositions, vision, mission, and lifestyle implications.
An equally scary delusion that afflicts too many existing businesses is the notion that to run a business, all one needs is a website. Unless you are in the business of running a website, a website is and only can be an accessory to your business, not your primary function.
If your spam detector is working properly, your junkmail folder should be full of “SEO Specialists!” (Search Engine Optimization) and other emails hawking solution to your web presence dreams of daily submit forms and first page Google rankings. Either there’s a supreme demand for their services, or there are a lot of suckers out there buying in to the illusion that a website can solve all your marketing troubles.
A few thoughts
1. A website presence is not a marketing plan.
2. A website should be a significant part of a marketing plan, especially for:
a. good summary of your business and messaging
b. local business listings
c. search engine results, especially local
d. links to your social media and resources related to your business
Anything more than that is gravy, and God bless you and your website.
SEO is not the end-all of a website
1. Your baseline SEO need is if someone who is looking for you, specifically, can find you. If not, then you have issues.
2, A next SEO goal should be a web presence that can be found within your business category, whether or not it’s a top ranking.
If you are truly interested in web-marketing, you have you work cut out for you. It can be done, and it can be amazing. But, again, just having a website is not web-marketing.
What a good web-designer can do for you is
1. Identify your needs
2. Offer realistic solutions within a set budget
3. Work with you and deliver expectations
4. Inform you of next steps and scaled-up opportunities.
Yes, get that website, make it beautiful and cool. And be realistic and clear about what you want it to achieve, and get good help to get you there.
Michael Bromley is founder and President of School4Schools.com LLC and the A+ Club. Bromley is a published historian, teacher, and entrepreneur. Contact Bromley at (703) 271-5334 or firstname.lastname@example.org