Yesterday I wrote that doing a web site for a small business was no easy feat. Crucial. But time consuming.
Today, as luck would have it, I had lunch at Search Marketing Expo West and sat at a table with Ellie Burns-Brookens, owner of European Discovery, a travel agency that specializes in small groups and individuals.
Ellie left her career in high tech to pursue a dream - a true entrepreneur - and though she was ready to market via several channels, found that most of her business came via the web. She set about making her site more friendly for search engines.
But even though she knew the ins-and-outs of the web and could port her analytics over to an Excel spread sheet, Burns-Brookens found that for a small shop, web upkeep was hardly something that could be done with a lick-and-a-promise.
Any small business owner will tell you that taking three days out of a busy schedule to attend a conference is tough (and costly). Still, she dubbed the conference well worth the time. She's now looking at the best ways to incorporate video she's shot, how to get more bang from key words and tags, what to do with images. She's asking questions about what visitors do once they come to her site. And what content she should add on a regular basis.
In short, she's trying to balance on a small-biz budget what agencies charge a couple grand a month to do.
I'm not trying to frighten anyone away from a web site...eMarketer projects that this year there will be 193.9 million US Internet users—about two-thirds of the population...so, it's folly to ignore it. But the web still isn't at the stage where a web site is as easy as a tri-fold brochure. Consider it an expense and budget both time and money accordingly.