The Post-Dispatch had a story Sunday about websites - how even small businesses need websites for credibility. The story is interesting, and mostly true, but the article could have been written in 1998. You don't need a website - you need a web presence. So why not a blog? Or a vlog? Or a MySpace page?
Rebekah Tsadik writes:
"Having a Web site these days is like having a fax number or a phone number," said Aldis Jakubovskis, a program specialist for the Missouri Small Business Development Centers. "A Web site is a logical extension of who you are as a company."
And an abundance of do-it-yourself kits, Web development firms and freelance designers means that small businesses have no excuse to stay disconnected -- no matter their type, budget or level of technological savvy. But more important than launching a site is learning how to use one effectively and why.
I know why they don't mention blogs. Blogs aren't considered professional by most people - and blogging takes more than paying someone else to throw up a site on the web. Considering the costs and the solutions offered at the end of the article (you'll have to read it - they suggest buying Dreamweaver), a blog is definitely the way to go.
Independent consultants who look for contract gigs, small firm recruiters, and small business firms looking to hire talent would all be better served with a blog than a website for two basic reasons. One - having an internet presence is a strategy - if it's not woven into your business practice, you shouldn't waste time and money creating one. Two - SEO Results with a blog are far better than that of a static website.
I Google Everything
"I Google anything," Jakubovskis said. "If a (business') Web site is not there, I look for something else."
That's just one person's opinion - and I find it doubtful he actually googles everything. Having a site is not a silver bullet - when I see bad sites developed in the late 90's, I know the company is not technically literate - that affects how I deal with them. It also makes me wonder how much they paid - and when I see the copyright 2006 - I wonder what else they would buy.
I'm not trying to bust on the writer - but it is no surprise that a newspaper like the Post-Dispatch prints articles that had utility 8-10 years ago, but do little to explain the growth of CGM and the interactive web (or Web 2.0). I like that they pitch the use of an online presence - but the truth is small business owners actually buy into the idea they have to have a website to be taken seriously, and that makes them susceptible to spending money with the wrong people.
I guess that means I have to write an article about the right way to buy websites.