First Person: Every Small Business Needs a Website

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I have a total of seven tips over two articles explaining the need for small businesses to have a website or blog in order to have an Internet presence where customers and prospects can find them. While these tips apply to all small businesses, I was particularly thinking about business-to-business sales and advertising. Image with three tips
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I have a total of seven tips over two articles explaining the need for small businesses to have a website …

*Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Do you have a small business story that you'd like to share? Sign up with the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own finance articles.

When I first started in sales and marketing, the question wasn't if your small business needed an ad in the Yellow Pages, it was "What size can I afford?" The next question was, "How many listings do I need?" That was based on, "Where will people look to find my products and services?" And the biggest challenge was, would people look where the telephone directory people thought they should look? For instance, does the average person look for "Car Repair" under "Automotive Services - Repair"?

Those days are disappearing. Your prospects use the Internet to find products and services. Now the question is, "What kind of a presence does my small business need on the Internet?" So just why do you need a website or blog?

Reasons You Need a Website for Your Small Business

- The Yellow Pages and other printed directories are dying

- Traditional advertising vehicles are disappearing

- Searching is faster and easier on the Internet

- Prospects love customer reviews and product ratings

- A web presence is cost effective, especially a blog

- If you can't be found, you appear to be out of business

- Online sales are increasing year after year

The Yellow Pages and Other Printed Directories Are Dying - Unless They Have an Online Version Too

Fewer and fewer people use the Yellow Pages in the telephone book to find what they want. Whether for business-to-business or consumer purchases, buyers find it's faster and easier to look on the web than grab a directory.

Traditional Advertising Vehicles Are Disappearing

Local newspapers are dying out unless they have an online presence. Moreover, they are facing major competition from Internet newspapers and blogs. Radio stations too are struggling since that advent of Sirius and Internet radio stations as well as MP3 players and the iPod.

It's easy online to find the specific areas that interest you. You can also quickly make purchases or request information without leaving your computer.

Searching Is Faster and Easier on the Internet

Speed is so important today. Studies are showing that our attention span is getting shorter. People want their information with the least inconvenience and the fastest speed. Web searches deliver that.

Prospects Love Customer Product Ratings

People search the Internet for is product reviews before they buy. They love comments of users. Shoppers tend to read the review to see if that customer's experience applies to them.

A web presence is cost effective, especially a blog

A website, especially a blog, is generally the most cost effective marketing tool you have. When you get your site to rank high in the search engines, you will stand out in generic (free) searches for those keywords.

Simple, starter websites and blogs are inexpensive to put up and maintain. You can get one from several companies, like Yahoo! Small Business. Thanks to the current state of blogging software, especially WordPress.org's, it is easy to install a blog. Some blogs are free while others use WordPress' free software but pay for a hosting company because we love the power to customize.

If you can't be found, you appear to be out of business

Customers are going to look for you on the internet. If they can't find you there, normally they will go elsewhere.

Online sales are increasing year after year

On December 6, 2011, comScore, reported that the "U.S. Online Holiday Spending Approaches $20 Billion for First 34 Days of the November-December Shopping Season, up 15 Percent vs. Last Year." These figures represent "a 15-percent increase versus the corresponding days last year."

A similar pattern is happening in business-to-business sales. A small business website provides a 24-hour per day, 365 days per year sales person to answer questions and provide information targeted to your ideal prospect.

While I still believe in using traditional marketing methods, the world is changing so fast. These tips for your small business website present seven reasons you need a website. Running a profitable small business is challenging enough without making yourself invisible to a large percentage of you potential customers.

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