Research guru Tim Stehle sent me a copy of the All Business Newsletter, bringing my atention to an article titled, Is your business findable on the Web?
The author's point is that no business is so small that it can afford not to have a web presence, and that even if an owner doesn't have the time/money/expertise to do a complete web site, there is always a blog.
Her conclusion is, "It's up to you to build a strong Internet presence as part of your marketing plan. You can do it with minimal costs and a little investment of time."
The part about an Internet presence is spot on. But the part about minimal costs and a little investment of time...well, I don't want to nit-pick here, but a strong web presence pretty much takes more than "minimal costs" and "a little investment of time."
Anyone who has ever tackled a blog will tell you it takes a lot of energy, thought and time to write two or three times a week. Week in and week out. And it needs to be designed so that crucial information about your business is easy to find. And a website? Keeping it fresh, relevant, and "above the fold" in web searches takes a lot of work.
I don't mean to deter any local business from a web presence. It IS crucial. But a small business owner needs to understand that like any advertising or marketing effort, a web presence is not a one-time investment. It's an ongoing expense in today's world, and factoring in that time and cost is as important as any other element in a business plan.