There are a lot of people and businesses that have websites (or webpages) around the world. There are a lot more of each who don’t have websites but probably should. When it comes to being or trying to market a business, a general question that has to be asked is whether it’s viable for the owners of that business to have a website or not.
As a former internet marketing consultant who’s still an independent consultant, the overall answer is easily yes. The reality, however, isn’t so cut and dry. Let’s explore the positives first. Continue reading Should You Have A Website?→
Whether you have a business website or are trying to make money off the web, invariably just being online offers you the opportunity to make money in some fashion. Many people have an idea of what making money online means to them, but it’s often a limited view, which you’ll see if you visit “make money” websites or blogs. I’m going to give you some of the basic ways that people make money, whether directly or indirectly, and a general idea of how it’s done; I’m betting most of you know these ways already.
One, you can make money by selling products. This is the easy one that most people think of, as you can sell products you make or products someone else makes. Affiliate marketing works well for some people who have niche blogs or websites.
Two, you can make money by selling services. You find this more often with people that offer coaching, counseling or consulting services.
When you think of this model, you have to think both short term and long term marketing. For instance, if I have a link up it means I’m trying to sell short term services; not necessarily that I’m hoping you’ll only use me once and go away, but these are immediate services that I want to be paid up front for.
When you have a business website and you provide services, most probably you’re working on long term services, which doesn’t mean you only offer services that last a lifetime, but are looking to build your authority and presence over time so that you can become known as an expert and thus charge more for your services.
Three, you can make money by accepting advertising. Within this model you can include things like Google Adsense and other pay-per-click (PPC) or pay per subscriber/buyer models. If you have a business website you should think long and hard as to whether you want any type of advertising on your site because there’s the potential of you sending people away. However, if you have other sites like blogs that don’t talk about business specifically, accepting advertising is a great way to build income, but you have to be cautious in how you do it.
Advertising can also take other forms. If you write a blog on a certain subject you’ll often have someone ask if they can pay for a link on an article that pertains to what they do. That’s one of the powers of being a prolific writer; there’s always someone willing to pay for some authority to link back to their site. Being known as a publisher or content curator of original information can pay well.
You need to evaluate your business to determine what your websites goals are. If you’re highlighting your business, then stay away from many forms of advertising. If you’re somewhat flexible, there are lots of options you can explore.
I’ve always said that I created my first blog to help highlight my business. Before I go any further, if you’re interested in learning more about blogging in general I’m going to recommend you check out this post on Better Blogging, the second half of that post, then check out my blogging tips. If you’re not a better blogger after all of that then you’ll never learn the game. 🙂
Plain and simple, for almost every business a blog will help enhance visibility and show people what you know. Sure, there are some services like snow plowing where having a blog might be a waste of time, but even landscape businesses could benefit greatly from having a blog.
Here are some facts about business blogging.
Statistics have shown that businesses with blogs get anywhere from 85% to 100% more leads than businesses without blogs. Those same statistics show that they’ll get nearly 50% more leads from other businesses than sites without blogs.
You have two stats. Now let’s look at the reasons.
One, the more new content the more opportunities you have to increase your website’s presence, hence the higher you’ll rank on search engines.
Two, when people can learn what you do from you, they’re more likely to work with you.
Three, when people like what you have to say and how you say it, they’re more comfortable with you and people like working with someone they’re comfortable with.
Four, you can branch out into many areas which gives you a lot to talk about. For instance, I know someone who wrote for a website that installed artificial grass. What she did was highlight famous places around the world that used artificial grass, and every once in awhile threw in something about the different types.
Five, as I mentioned above, you can hire someone else to write for you if you’re not a great writer. Of course this isn’t preferable for most of us but since I write for a couple other blogs it’s fair to point it out.
Six, it keeps you visible with your clientele.
I think that’s enough, though there are other reasons. At least consider it, but also consider this. Don’t start a blog that you don’t think you can maintain for at least a few years. Nothing looks worse than a blog that’s never updated, and that could hurt you as much as having the blog could have helped you.
Many of you know that I write blogs for others. One of the sites I write for is a massive real estate blog. It concentrates on home communities and home builders, though I also get to write some commentary here and there.
What surprises me is just how many home builders and contractors there are that still don’t have a website. Sure, they’re listed in some fashion via Yahoo maps and Google maps and Manta and other phone number tracking sites, but beyond that there’s no further information on these companies.
It’s frustrating for me because I try to find out more information about either a community or a home builder, and there’s nothing there. In many areas around the country they don’t have home communities, just neighborhoods, and sometimes it’s hard trying to figure out who built those homes. And when you can find them, there’s nothing about them, just a phone number. You don’t know if they build single family, multiple family, condominiums, townhomes… nothing.
Of course it’s not just home builders, but many brick and mortar businesses in general. My wife and I were trying to research snow removal companies that were in our area, but there were only two online, and neither one specifically near our home. Sure, there are plenty of numbers on the search engine, but it would be nice to know which specific neighborhoods these snow removal people like to work in because my wife leaves the house by 5:30 in the morning and it doesn’t do us much good if the builder is on the other side of our town most of the time.
I wrote an article on my SEO website titled Should You Have A Website, and of course I come out on the side that says “yes”. However, I also mentioned some reasons why a business might want a website, and though I could see why someone might, my bet is that most of these companies that don’t have websites do so because they just never thought about it.
In this day and age, when so many more people are internet savvy and would rather look information up on the search engines as opposed to grabbing the Yellow Pages and looking at an ad, it would behoove any legitimate agency to have a website, put up some examples of what they do, and let their online marketing serve their business in ways they’ve never imagined before. It’s the wave of the future; heck, it’s the wave now!
Oddly enough, I guess I owe this post to much of the spam I’ve been receiving lately. Much of it asks, stupidly of course, how they can subscribe to my RSS feed for this blog, which is pretty much all over the place, especially if you use Firefox.
However, it got me thinking about RSS feeds in general, especially as they apply to business websites. I have enough websites, I figure, but in reality I have 3 business websites. And I don’t have RSS feeds on any of them.
I’ve started wondering if I should have feeds on them. After all, I don’t do a lot of updating to those sites. One of them I have my business blog attached, and it obviously has a RSS feed, so I’ve just assumed that site didn’t need one. For my other two sites, though, I do add something here and there, and those are mainly articles, and maybe I need a RSS feed for those. After all, who doesn’t want more RSS subscribers?
The question of course is why anyone would subscribe to the RSS feed for a business site. It’s not news, and since most of us assume that most sites are fairly static, what would compel us to subscribe? Or is this a case of “if you build it they will come”?
I’m not the only one who thinks about this sort of thing. A woman named Sarah wrote an article titled Why RSS Is So Important For Your Business That You’re Probably Already Using It (whew, long title!), and she talks about the importance of having RSS feeds if you’re constantly updating your information. That’s easy to agree with, but what about if you’re not constantly updating your content?
Actually, that’s kind of the point, isn’t it? As a consultant, I often advise potential clients that they need to have constantly updated content in some fashion. Of course I usually recommend blogs first, and most blogging software comes with the ability to easily add RSS feeds so you’re covered there. But what about the website itself? Other than news sources and sales pages, are there any other reasons for a business to syndicate their site?
Something more to think about, I guess. Meanwhile, the palm trees are for my friend Sue. 🙂
Blogging, Social Media, Writing, Motivation and General Stuff