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The News Chair

A Website Wonderland

wonderland

 

It still amazes me that as we stand on the threshold of 2014, I still encounter many businesses that do not have a website. Whether in my professional endeavors or simply as a consumer, I frequently find myself wanting to learn more about a company, hopping on the Web to do research, only to come up empty.

Christopher Lloyd

Christopher Lloyd

 

I might find a MapQuest listing or a Yellow Pages link that simply gives an address and phone number, perhaps a Facebook or Google+ holder page with no content, or possibly a user-generated write-up on Yelp or a similar site.

 

But there’s no actual dedicated site maintained by the business to showcase their products and/or services and invite visitors to learn more.

 

A front door for customers

What these Web-less companies don’t realize is they aren’t just behind the times, they’re automatically relegating themselves to second-tier status in the marketplace.

 

The harsh truth is a business without a website in 2013 is like a retail store without a front door for customers to walk through. People might eventually find their way in around back, but you’re forcing them to work harder to establish a connection with you.

 

Many potential customers simply won’t make the effort, preferring to turn to competitors who share a wealth of information about themselves online.

 

Missing out on potential business

But they’re out there. Google puts the number at 15 million businesses in the U.S. that still aren’t on the Web. According to various surveys, the percentage of small companies lacking a website tops 70 percent in some states.

 

In fact, there are so many companies without a website that an actual business model has emerged based upon helping people find them. MailingList.org’s Businesses Without Websites, for example, provides data to marketing/Web firms looking for potential clients to pitch.

 

Though there’s no way to quantify it, many of these businesses lack a Web presence because they feel they’re too small to need one. Of course, by maintaining an offline-only presence, they’re only helping preserve their tiny status.

 

A knock on credibility

On the flipside are successful companies that already have plenty of clients, so they don’t see the need to “advertise” for more clients with a website. That may hold true today, but what about in the future as consumers turn to the Web even more for shopping and selecting vendors?

 

YP Advertising Solutions has a good rundown of what you’re missing without a website. One of their key takeaways is nowadays people see a Web presence as a sign of legitimacy. Without that point of entry — the front door, so to speak — people have a tendency to walk away.

 

“Even if you rely entirely on word-of-mouth, a website is paramount to establishing your credibility,” according to YP.

 

If you’re a Web-less company looking to take the plunge, Coles Marketing offers full-service website design and maintenance, whether you’re upgrading an old blog or creating a new site from scratch. Make sure to check out our portfolio of custom Web design.

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Categories: 2013 December Newsletter, Newsletters | Tags: Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,