Established offline businesses have a small but definite advantage online IF they take the time to learn how to capitalize on it BEFORE creating a web presence.

There are several reasons this advantage exists and a few of them are:

  • An established customer base
  • Physical products.
  • A location that can be visited.
  • Credibility because of the physical location.
  • A phone listing in the yellow pages.

All of these help the consumer feel safe because they KNOW where to find the merchant’s business and how to reach them. To capitalize on this advantage, a business person needs to understand the World Wide Web is a source of information and it is also becoming a communication tool.

You need to decide the focus of your website before you create it. Is it going to be a brochure site, an informational site or an ecommerce site? Do you plan on having an online newsletter, a blog, a support desk or coupons your customers can print and redeem at your store?

If you take the time to learn what your existing customers’ desire, you can use that as a base to build an online presence that is more likely to be used.

Search engines are starting to develop and improve upon local search engines so focusing around a primary keyword first then expanding on that will help you get categorized better. You MUST be willing to learn the basics of keyword research and search engine optimization before you attempt to outsource your website development and promotion unless you wish to waste time, money and a misguided effort on someone that might steer you in the wrong direction.

It is unlikely that your local whiz kid that creates pretty websites for $150 knows much about search engine optimization, ecommerce or putting together a good website navigation system that is both user friendly and search engine friendly.

Many SEO specialists don’t know ecommerce or have a complete knowledge of website design.

The starting point for most businesses should be deciding on the purpose for the website, its focus and what the primary keywords will be. Then you can start looking for your domain name and a reliable web host that might be able to point you to the professionals you need to create the web presence that can take your business to the next level.

You will need one or more people within your business that can handle customer support, orders, content for your website and newsletters. Make your site one that’s informative, functional and a pleasant experience and you have a good chance of reaping the rewards.

Established Businesses Have an Advantage Online

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