Next Page International

Why almost every business needs a website

You probably need a website – even if it is only a very simple one.

It doesn’t have to be com­pli­cated. Just some basic info about you and your com­pany, to stake your online claim.

It’s such a cliché that every com­pany needs this or that when it comes to online marketing.

I’ll be the first to tell you: No, you don’t need a blog. No, you don’t have to be on Facebook or Twitter. No, you don’t need an app.

Marketers who hone­stly think that every little com­pany can and should spend their time and resources cha­sing after the newest thing, shouldn’t be allowed any­where near some­body else’s business.

«Oh!» they say. «But they can’t afford not to.» Please stay away from mar­ke­ters like that. They’re dangerous.

Having said that: Unless you’re run­ning a very special kind of busi­ness, it’s fairly cer­tain that you do need some sort of web pre­sence – even if it is only the sim­plest web­site you can imagine.

People are talking about you online

Why? Well, it’s pretty obvious that the Internet is here to stay. That is no reason in and of itself, of course. Books are here to stay, too, but I’m not saying you abso­lutely, posi­tively need to write one of those.

However, whether you like it or not, you pro­bably already are online. The pro­blem when you don’t have your own web­site, is that it’s most likely your least satis­fied custo­mers and your com­pe­tition who’s speaking loudest.

You see, one of the things people use the internet most actively for, is chat, com­plain and gossip – a lot. (Just like out in the real world.)

For any busi­ness worth run­ning, every pro­duct worth sel­ling and every ser­vice worth offe­ring, there is a disu­cu­s­sion going on somewhere.

Is it any good? What’s the best? Who do we avoid? Have you heard the news? Can you believe it? Is it true? Yes. Yes. And yes. I looked it up online.

That means that there’s pro­bably a discus­sion going on about you. And if there’s not, that’s not a good thing – that’s a problem.

Another thing people do: They rese­arch. All the time. From any­where. For almost anything.

Know a good place to eat? A rea­so­nable lawyer? A dog park? Check online. Need your glasses fixed in a hurry? Feel like get­ting a mas­sage? A 24-​hour lock­smith? Google it. Sick of your old dry cleaner? Need to replace your old invoi­cing system? Broke a piece off your favo­rite thin­ga­majig? Don’t worry, you’ll find a new one online.

From a mobile phone, no less. While wai­ting in line at the post office.

To sum up: If your doing somet­hing wort­hwhile, people are tal­king about it – or should be. And, if people are tal­king about it, they are almost cer­tainly sear­ching for it online. And people looking for infor­ma­tion, are going to find it. The only thing you have any chance of influ­en­cing then, is what they are going to find.

Use a website to tell your side of the story

Choose your side

If you want to tell your side of the story, you’re going to need a soap box …

Have you Google’d yourself and your offe­rings recently? (Hint: If you want a rea­li­stic search result, you’ll want to go inc­og­nito.)

Many busi­nesses leave it to others – like Yelp, Citysearch, Google+ local and others – to pre­sent them online. Most often that’s just reviews from others. And, the thing about reviews: If anyone feels strongly enough about you to spend time wri­ting about it, unso­li­cited, there’s a good chance they’ve got somet­hing to com­plain about. The reviews could even be from your com­pe­ti­tors, more or less ano­ny­mously. (Hint: Ask your custo­mers to give you reviews.)

Now, many com­pa­nies have dis­gruntled cli­ents and com­pe­ti­tors who play dirty, but why would you let them pre­sent you to new custo­mers and col­la­bo­ra­tors? What hap­pens when someone looks up your busi­ness online, and the top result in Google is a nega­tive review? If they have an alter­na­tive, they’ll choose it over you.

What hap­pens if, God forbid, someone spreads a bad rumor about you. It doesn’t matter whether or not it is true. If it gets into local and social media, or even just spreads mouth-​to-​mouth among a small clique of your custo­mers, people are going to believe it.

If you don’t have your own web pre­sence – at the very least a visible web­site – you basi­cally for­feit any opport­u­nity to tell your story to people looking for answers.

A good website makes you findable and discoverable

English: TO DISCOVER THE TRUTH AND FIGHT FOR T...

It’s your truth, too. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You want to be fin­dable for people who’ve heard of you, and dis­cover­able for people who haven’t yet. Not even because you neces­sa­rily need to win over these people (though that wouldn’t be such a bad thing) but because they’ll find you online anyway. You want to be the first to be given a chance to intro­duce yourself to others. And you want to be able to have the last word on news about yourself.

Even the sim­plest web­site – a single page with con­tact infor­ma­tion, ope­ning hours, a quick pre­sen­ta­tion, and maybe links to some social media – will estab­lish a web pre­sence, help you con­trol what infor­ma­tion floats to the top, and pre­pare you to tackle bad pub­li­city if it ever rears its head.

However, it’s impor­tant to launch your web­site before it’s urgent. Otherwise it’ll be too late. It takes a bit of time to estab­lish a web pre­sence, because Google won’t auto­ma­ti­cally put your site at the top of its search results just because it exists.

Having a simple site, how­ever, will be a huge first step.

Want to get started, or learn more? You’re in luck, since that’s exactly what Next Page does. Just drop us a line, and we’ll set up a quick meeting to discuss your options and pos­sible next steps.