Small business owners need to realize that people aren’t using phone books for anything other than door stops anymore. As of December 2009, all three major search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing) began steering search queries towards local even when a user doesn’t include a local qualifier. Now more than ever, small business owners need to not only create an internet presence, but to control it as well.
While it is possible to create a Web presence without a full site thanks to things like MerchantCircle, Yelp and other social media outlets, you don’t control any of those sites. You have no say on how they’ll let you connect with customers. By relying on these “other” sites for your conversations, you severely handicap your business.
Without a real website, your small business loses its ability to:
- Differentiate itself
- Create authority and credibility with customers and within your industry
- Share and spread ideas
- Socialize your business
- Take advantage of search ranking power
- Benefit from the search engines bias to show local results
- Share your company story and information
- Create your own community
- Save costs by answering frequently asked questions
- Target your specific neighborhood (defined by zip code, points of interest, ideas, etc)
- Build an email list
Now is the time to take control of your small businesses future. Google, Yahoo and Bing’s obsession with local search has made a website an even bigger and more important part of your business and marketing plan.