| Important site building information for
traditional Bricks and Mortar businesses. How to increase your
bottom line by effective use of your website.
| According to latest figures in the
internet media, business confidence in the internet is currently at an all time
high. And so it should be! But if you talk to many small businesses, you might
not come to the same conclusion.
There is still a lot of confusion out
there; many people still dont understand how to use the internet to
increase their profits and many have become disillusioned.
But if you
understand the market place this is not really that surprising, since in
reality, the website market has been mis-sold in much the
same ways as the pensions market was here in the UK a few years
ago! And this has fuelled a slight lack of confidence amongst many businesses.
So what are the reasons for this? And more importantly, how can
a traditional, small bricks and mortar business really make the
most of the opportunities on the internet?
To answer this we need to
first look at the overall marketplace for business websites!
Before we can explain how you can make the most of the
internet, it is important to understand where others have gone wrong.
- You need to realise that many of the
websites which traditional businesses have on the web are not working for them.
Some are very low quality 1st generation sites; basic, static
"pages", which never change. In fact there are literally millions of
abandoned pages out there on the web, which the owners have
basically dis-owned. But since the business paid for them up front,
they still sit there on the web, untouched and unchanged, doing nothing for
- Then there are the many businesses who have
been mis-sold the concept that having a really flash, bells and
whistles website will make all the difference. But the reality is, all the
unnecessary animations and large graphics slow down loading times and actually
put visitors off. And lets face it, its not how pretty your site is that
interests people, its the quality of your content that
- There are also the huge number of businesses
who bought expensive sites with shopping carts added to
them, to enable them to sell over the internet. As if, just having the ability
to sell online was going to make a difference. When in reality, most
traditional businesses will not benefit from trying to sell their
traditional products online anyway.
Selling these businesses a website, shopping
cart and then telling them to just register their site with the search engines
and await the floods of orders is the way most website sellers have
mis-sold websites over recent years.
- Most traditional businesses do
not have products/services suitable for selling directly over the web. So no
one will buy them online.
- Most traditional businesses who do have (at
least some) suitable products cannot compete with the big Dot Com giants
selling the same product range. But they still try
- Most businesses do not know how to promote
their website anyway, in order to generate the traffic to their site. So no one
ever goes to their site.
This is highly
irresponsible, but has been an all too common practice. And most businesses
have fallen for it, since they know no better. They just relied on the website
designer to tell them how to do it. They trusted them, but were told
I have encountered literally hundreds of businesses like this
over the last couple of years. Theyve been mis-sold a dream; they
dont understand the reality of the situation, and dont realise
theyve been mis-sold. Instead they just assume the internet is not for
Its from people like this you hear; "the internet
Unfortunately, these people are now in the
majority. There are hundreds of thousands of businesses like this all suffering
in silence. All wrongly assuming having a website will do them no good. And it
is the industry itself that is to blame. The hype went into overdrive, and
everyone jumped on board until the bubble burst.
Now its time to do
the job right.
The way forward
Here at Zed One, we are in the business of helping other small businesses run
successful online enterprises. And part of our service is based upon educating
our customers to the realities of the internet and their role in it.
an example, one of the first things we do with our traditional
business clients is to educate them about the realities of why
they need a website:
- If their product range is not suitable for
Internet Sales we tell them.
- If they are insistent on wanting to engage
in Ecommerce, we show them how to locate sources to develop internet
suitable products to sell from their site.
- Most importantly, whether their products are
suitable for the internet or not, we remind them of what their website is
really for; what it is and why they need it.
Why most small businesses need a
It isnt there necessarily for
them to sell products over the internet. They dont have to engage in
Think about this for a moment.
If you are running an existing
offline business youve probably been very successful for years before the
internet ever came about. And the reason was most probably the quality of your
product; your service; the friendliness of both your staff and yourself etc.
Whatever it was, it was direct contact with your customers (either by phone,
mail, or often face to face depending upon the business) which created your
success.Truth is, most
small businesses should concentrate on creating a simple (but professional)
looking website, which imbues warmth and friendliness, is easy to use, and
encourages visitors to email or preferably phone in or visit the business.
Just as they always have done with all their other advertising/promotional
methods over the years.
Yet with most traditional businesses when they think of getting
a website, they immediately assume they have to instigate a cold, non-human,
shopping cart system to sell something. And they think they will have to
compete with thousands of other websites in the same market, all vying for high
positions with the search engines (but obviously not everyone can get a top 10
placement, and as you probably know, very few people look through more than the
first 10 or so results they get from search engine searches).
look at it in the cold light of day like this Im sure you can see this is
ludicrous. And its no wonder many businesses out there are disillusioned. They
have unrealistic expectations. And it's the media, the salespeople and
website designers, the whole industry which has given them those
Their website is, after all, merely just
another promotional medium. A very powerful one I agree. But just a
promotional tool nonetheless. So it can be used simply to:
Their site is there to show people who they
are, to showcase their products/services (rather like an online brochure!) and
tell potential customers how to contact them.
- Support their offline efforts, and
- Improve the dialogue between themselves and
Sure they can have a
shopping cart too if they really want one. And it is important to keep the site
up to date with latest news, and useful content where relevant.
this is the important bit so remember it well; the site should really be used,
in most instances, just
. to support what they have
and what made them successful in the first place!!
So, if you are already running a
successful, traditional bricks and mortar business, and youre
looking to set up your first website (or even if youre just looking to
improve your existing one!) consider carefully the real reasons why you
need a website, and what it is really for.
If you think about it
carefully and consider the points just mentioned, you might be surprised at the
conclusion you reach.
| If you need any further assistance with
setting up your site, or need information about marketing, promotion, or how to
add content, or produce or source internet suitable products and
services, please contact us and well see
what we can do to help.