As a small business owner in North Carolina, I’ve had the pleasure to meet many other small business owners from shop owners to innovators.  But I’ve come to learn that there is a very destructive myth floating around the business world – a website is simply not that important.

Let’s first consider the first three rules of business: Location, Location, Location.

Unless your business sits on main street, you’re missing out on a lot of potential customers.  Even if you’re sitting in the middle of main street, you’re still missing out on customers.  The reason for this is that your marketing plan is passive.  The concept of ‘location, location, location’ is passive.   That means you’re counting on that someone who happens to come to buy will be interested enough in your business name that they’ll stop by your store and take a look at your products.   You can even spend exorbitant amounts of money on television advertising and you’re still using the same concept of passive marketing.

When you’re marketing yourself to specific search results in search engines, you’ve graduated to active marketing.   This allows you to target your company specifically to customers who are actively searching for your products and services and ready to buy.   That means little effort and money is wasted on marketing.

But I do Facebook Marketing.

Don’t get me wrong, Facebook advertising is a good way to pick up a few customers, but it’s still based on the principle of passive advertising, abet you’re allowed to target a specific audience.  But the simple truth of the matter is, you’re still not actively engaging those who are actively looking for a specific product or service.  But there is a bigger caveat to Facebook marketing – you pay for every single impression and even more if a viewer likes or click your advert and never looks at it again meaning you waste a lot of effort and money.

I have a Google Company that does SEO for me.

Pro Tip: If anyone calls you and says they’re from Google or a representative of Google, they’re not.  Google doesn’t make contact with you by phone, ever.  The companies that do this are selling you a service you can easily do yourself.  It’s called Adwords.  You can simply set up a pay-per-click advertising campaign on Google for about $50 per week to drive search-specific traffic to your website.    This is a good marketing strategy, and you’re definitely in the arena of active marketing, but the problem is that you are still wasting a lot of money by paying someone to do something you could do yourself in 30 minutes of research and on top of that, the results only last for as long as you’re willing to pay that company.

SEO – A Key Component

That brings me to SEO or Search Engine Optimization.   This, when it is done right, specifically targets certain searches on search engines and permanently sends that traffic to your website.  No SEO service will ever require you to pay monthly, weekly, or annually.  This is a critical part of any website.  Without it and without a well-located company, you would have 0 customers.

The Design – Another component

SEO is a great thing to have on your website but the website has to be legible to both your customers and search engines.  Finding a design that can cater to both, at the same time, while being both stylish and aesthetically pleasing, is a monumental task that only the most experienced web developers can pull off the right way.  We’ve seen many cases of websites and in almost every case we’ve seen and studied either a website was too focused on search engines, or they were too focused on aesthetics.   In most recent cases they are very focused on search engines and human visitors are often left confused or lost on their website.   But more times than not, I’ve seen websites that just grades against any logical reasoning when it comes to the color scheme.  I’ve seen companies that believe a yellow background and purple text is palatable (nevermind that colorblind people can’t even read it), and I’ve seen websites that are just black and white.

The simple fact is, when someone comes across a website that looks like it was constructed by a kindergartner, they’re not going to take it very seriously.

Putting it all together

The final component to a website will always be your web designer and how well they can pull all of the resources together for you in order to properly develop the website, host it, and protect your band.   That’s what my company focuses on and that’s what I believe to be the biggest value to small businesses in North Carolina.  The right web developer can make you, or the wrong one can break you.