Many small businesses believe that they don’t need a website. They incorrectly assume that since their business is face to face that they don’t need to bother. Unfortunately, as this article by Malcolm Sheppard on PC4Media explains, chances are that they’re already on the internet, and that someone else is controlling their identity and message:
Local Resources: Chatter from locally-focused networks like Kijiji, Craigslist and Facebook may mention an “offline” business in passing. The site might just grab content from local phone directories. These are generally difficult to browse from Google and in some cases (like Facebook); much of the content isn’t searchable at all. Blind searches either won’t find you, or bury you in an obscure sub-page.
Keyword Harvesting: Black hat techniques often rip long tail keywords from local directories. Surfers are likely to find these during targeted searches, when they know your business exists but don’t know anything about its web presence. This creates a high level of expectation – one that’s ruined the moment they hit a useless link farm.
Communities: Facebook, blogs, rating sites like restaurantica.com and online forums let just about anybody sound off about your business – and who knows what they’ll say? The Social Web is a great way to bring people together, but it’s also land of trolls: people who will insult your company, or worse, promote it in an off-putting, abrasive fashion.
Photo by respres.