When I sit down with small business owners, the number one thing that they find surprising is how much is involved with doing business online. The expectation is that a website is simply ‘enough’ to get business moving from the internet to the retail store. While this would be a great notion, it is not the case.
Soon after relating a website-only web presence to a billboard out in the middle of the wilderness, small business owners quickly realize how far behind they have fallen by not investing in all parts of a web presence sooner. It is usually at this point in the conversation that I give a brief explanation of the parts of a web presence and how each part functions to grow a small business on the internet.
The myth of ‘enough’
Most of the small business owners that come to the realization I described above, are already on the internet, barely. For years, a lot of them have had a website that has been ‘enough’ for them to say, “Yes, we are on the internet.” These websites are usually in various phases of deterioration. I know it may sound odd to describe a website as deteriorated, but it happens. Let me explain.
A website that stands alone, as a testament to the early years of a young internet, that has had its web hosting and domain bills paid automatically, and remains untouched since its birth to the internet has never truly lived. Unfortunately, it began deteriorating the day it was published to the web.
Over time, the internet has changed and it will continue to do so for the unforeseeable future. Many things come and go from the internet that a small business website may not have control of. Some examples are: Hyperlinks that stop working due to websites going offline or moving, Images that have been removed or moved to a new location, and web services external to the website that are no longer in service.
A website does not have to deteriorate. Minimal maintenance on a simple website can be the determining factor to the livelihood of a website for years to come. Yes, websites can age gracefully and should, because an aged website can mean a lot of great things for a small business.
The value of time
The internet is still in it’s youth, hardly an adolescent in terms of how long it could potentially last even in its current form. As the internet ages, older websites stand out in the cloud like pylons of trust and authority. Seriously, these are the correct terms to describe aged websites. Not all old websites are considered trusted or an authority, but websites that continue to be maintained by their owners and continue to be a resource to their visitors will continue to thrive on the internet.
The morale for small businesses with aging sites is to continue to invest in your online presence. Continue to keep with the trends and connect with your customers. This may mean introducing social tools to your website to interact with your customers. It could also mean branching out from the website to other locations on the web. It might possibly mean finding new ways to deliver a product or service to internet visitors.
Whether it is all or one of the ideas I mentioned, each will continue to add to the trust and authority your small business needs in order to survive a growing and aging internet. Why is trust and authority so important? Because to both visitors and search engines, trusted authority sites rank higher than all others. When your small business website is the premiere authority website, your competitors stand in your shadow.
Mediaryte provides all local small business services mentioned in this post, including new methods of product delivery and marketing on the internet. Contact Mediaryte now to dust off your old business website and have it shiny and new once again, as the beacon of your business on the internet.