Oh lonesome me

You can choose to treat your web site simply as an online brochure that only gets the occasional visitor or you can take advantage of the immense marketing potential of the Internet.

There are I am sure many thousands of businesses that are disillusioned by the Internet and convinced that it does not work as a marketing tool. These are usually companies that have or have had a web site that they have subsequently discarded or now simply ignore. These companies probably originally commissioned web sites expecting them to generate a flood of new business only to find that this did not happen. Its a great pity really because if used properly the Internet provides an extremely cost effective and efficient means of reaching prospective customers as well as providing a point of contact with existing ones.

What went wrong?
Ignorance! both on the part of the businesses themselves but more so on the part of web site designers that did not, and many who still do not understand the Internet and how it works.

What happened
Amidst the hype of the Internet's entrance into the public domain businesses were scrambling to get web sites up to capitalize on the exposure they would bring to the business, suddenly web site designers were in high demand. Just about anyone and everyone could be employed as a web site designer. In some cases web sites were slapped together, others were over designed and overpriced, the emphasis was on trying to come up with fantastical designs or win awards for web site design based almost exclusively on the look of the page. Content and the quality thereof along with search engine optimization or at least search engine visibility were afforded little if any consideration at all.

 

As a means of presenting information about a business and its products and services few, if any, means surpass the efficiency and cost effectiveness of a web site. However until a web site is uploaded or published on the Internet it remains little more than a form of electronic brochure on a web site designers computer.

The ignorant view of the Internet is that it is simply the delivery means for the aforementioned electronic brochure, somewhere where it sits and waits for those that want to see it to type the web address into their browser and visit. Obviously the site is no good sitting on the designers computer so it has to go somewhere in order for people to access it.

As a delivery means for the electronic brochure the Internet does a sterling job. People no longer need to wait for a printed brochure to be mailed to them, nor do they have to jump in their car and drive to a companies premises to view a product. They can access the web site 24 hours a day from anywhere on the face of the planet.

Viewed in this context and provided the site has quality content that satisfies the curiosity or requirements of the visitor a web site can really help to turn a prospective customer into an actual customer.

Under these circumstances alone, a web site has no more chance of generating new business than a glossy printed brochure if it remains in a cardboard box in the corner of an office along with 4999 other glossy printed brochures. Only by distributing the printed brochures far and wide can they be expected to generate any business. Similarly one cannot expect a web site to generate any business if nobody knows its there.

The lucky ones
The companies that will sing the Internet's praises are the ones whose web site designers made the effort to consider the search engines and the requirements that they dictated in order to ensure that the sites would be included in their search rankings. These requirements were not onerous, basic things like including meta tags in the source code of the page. In order to be included by the search engines they had to at least be told that the web site existed, this was and still is accomplished simply enough by submitting the site to the search engines.

The Truth is
The fact of the matter is that just because you set up a web site does not mean that suddenly people from across the Internet are going to rush to visit it. If the only people that visit your site know of its existence only through having seen the address in an advertisement or been told the address then these can hardly be considered new customers that the site has generated itself from off the Internet. The cost of generating these leads form part of the cost of having placed advertisements in the print media or by having reps spreading the address around. Take away the print media ads and the reps and the site will lose all its visitors.

Every day hundreds of millions of people the world over use the search engines to find information and web sites. Get your web site listed in the search engines and those that seek what you offer will find you.

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