Right at the moment, consumers from all around Northern Anne Arundel County and the BWI Business District are interested in your business and services.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that for most local business owners, there are only three outcomes to this scenario.
One takes into account that very few local or small businesses have web sites that can be found easily via the search engines. They will be pretty to look at, they will have all the products the consumer wants and these businesses will make the sales. But the sites aren’t easy to find.
Secondly, a large handful of other businesses will have web sites that are so focused on saying why they are the “greatest” and that they provide the “most superior” customer service, they forget to talk about what they can actually do or offer the consumer. These web sites have no value and the consumer will leave the web site quickly.
The most common (and the worst case) scenario concerns the businesses with web sites that have such dated content and function, and are so ugly and unappealing, that the local consumers judge their entire company’s value based on the poor image that they have projected online.
The second and third scenarios present what many local businesses experience daily. Regardless of your industry, you probably have competition that is making a bigger impact online because they keep their web sites up-to-date.
Your web site is the one source that provides consumers with the last word regarding the quality of your service and products when you can’t. Think of it as a virtual salesperson; you have to give a significant and serious investment of time and money toward ensuring that your web site is the perfect gateway to your business, just as strong and presentable as your brick-and-mortar location.
According to a study done in 2009 by Nielsen NetRatings, there are more than 300 million computer owners with Internet access in the United States. These users visit an average of 60 web sites per month and only spend 49 seconds on each site.
That means that you, as a business owner, have only 49 seconds to tell your web site visitors that you have everything that they’re looking for, thus there is no need to look elsewhere.
Business owners must get serious about their businesses and recognize the affluent, educated and technically savvy consumer base looking to purchase products and services in a recovering economy. And how ironic it is that these businesses that must get serious are located in Central Maryland — one of the major tech hubs in the world.
Regardless of your industry, every business needs a web site. Here’s an example.
Right now, if you were to think of one of the most obscure products for sale — like cowbells — and perform a search on any of the various search engines for the keyword phrase “cowbells for sale,” this is what you would have access to: a range of 90,000 to more than 15 million web site results. You would find web sites that talk about the history of cowbells, how you can buy cowbells and where cowbell outlets can be found, etc.
The present economic environment, as well as the individual consumer, is changing right before our eyes on both a national and local level. It is time for local businesses to evolve and start including a process that utilizes their web sites as extensions of their businesses, instead of as an afterthought.
Alexander Fakeri is chief technology officer for Mojo Web Solutions. He can be contacted via www.mojo.biz.