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Old 11th June 2008, 04:35 PM   #1
smartsites
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Default Small Biz Owners Please Answer This Question.

Hi everyone,

I build, update and maintain websites for small businesses. One thing that really drives me crazy is the amount of small business websites that are in serious need of help. I can't understand why a small business would care more about how their business cards look than their website.

With the huge shift towards the web by customers and potential customers you would think that you would want to stay ahead of the curve.

My questions are the following:

What would it take for you to consider improving your existing website?

Do you think it's to expensive to update?

How open would you be to updating your website yourself if it were easy?

What could someone like me do to get your business?

Thanks everyone!

Craig

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Old 11th June 2008, 09:28 PM   #2
K&G
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I am one of those small businesses with a pitiful website, but it's enough for me. My business comes from people who walk in my store. I put my web address on most of my advertising but no one goes there, so why should I spend money on it? I'm content to let it sit there and collect dust.

I don't ship products -- all my business is local. When I list my website address and phone number in a website, the customer calls. It's easy enough to count how many hits I get on the website and how many phone calls I get, and about 90% call me. I think my customers appreciate someone who will take their call -- there is no phone menu, just someone who picks up the phone and says 'K&G Pets, may I help you?" And we usually have the answer right there - no searching required. You just can't get that kind of personal attention on a website. If I found that more people would actually visit I would do something about the site, but they don't.

The fact is it's difficult to use SEO to develop local traffic, and I think my time and money are better spent putting together nice store displays, developing good ad copy and talking to my customers than trying to get them to visit my website.

http://www.kgpets.net


Last edited by K&G; 11th June 2008 at 09:34 PM. Reason: to add url
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Old 12th June 2008, 06:15 PM   #3
RayGoneFishing
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All good points you raise there, K&G. However, I still feel you could attract more customers to your store if you improved your website.

One thing that struck me when I looked at your website is that you don't list your address anywhere on the homepage. Visitors have to click thru to Driving Directions and Contact Information just to figure out where you are. Not good.

So once I knew where you're located, I googled for [pet store mebane] and found you on the third page, #24. Since there are just over 5k results for the search term and only one of them has all three keywords in the title, it should be fairly easy to get into the top 10, maybe even the top 3.

So my suggestions, if you can spare half an hour to work on your website:

1. Put your address on the homepage
2. Change the page title to "K&G Pets: Pet Store in Mebane, NC"
3. Add a meta description tag to your pages

With just those small changes, I'm sure your position in Google will improve significantly. Give it a shot!

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Old 14th June 2008, 09:37 AM   #4
bdorland
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Quote:
I can't understand why a small business would care more about how their business cards look than their website.
To answer your question directly...Since so many small businesses still use referrals/sales/networking as their main source of new business, a business card still holds a lot of power. And if your target buyers don't necessarily use the web to make their buying decisions, then delegating the resources required (time, money) to build a great website may be low priority.

Don't get me wrong, I'm in a similar boat Craig. (Note my article: Run A Referral-Based Business? 4 Reasons Why You Still Need a Solid Website)
I agree that many businesses (of all sizes) need professional website help (and internet marketing guidance) if they are serious about business growth. But unfortunately, many of these businesses won't come to this realization until they start physically hearing that their poor website was a deciding factor in a customer's buying decision.

Coincidentally, while meeting with a potential new client last week (they need help with their website), I handed them my card and received an immediate, "Nice business card..."

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Old 20th June 2008, 04:46 PM   #5
autumnbiz
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I think that once small businesses start feeling the crunch of the falling dollar and higher gas prices, they will look online for customers. As the younger generations enter the market, businesses will realize that people are looking online for products and services, rather than driving to a location for the same effect. If a store or service provider has a eye-catching, easy to use website, they will receive and keep more business. Perhaps this has already started to happen.

The other issue, is that people seem to have an aversion to paying for a good website. They will pay $80/month for internet access and $100/month for a cell phone but they balk at paying $15/month for web hosting and $500 to set up a website.

The market is changing. I am a small business owner, under 25 and realized the potential of the internet before any other marketing ploy. It has done wonders for my business. I paid $700 for my site design and all my customers absolutely love it. It is the best choice I have made in my business.

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