Why You Absolutely Need A Website!

Posted on 05. Dec, 2009 by in All Local Search Posts, Health & Medicine, Websites

Incredibly, almost 50% of all local business still do not own a website – a statistic which is virtually unchanged for more than 5 years. 

Despite all the compelling reasons to get online, many local businesses still risk their online representation to unchecked review sites, third-party aggregators and inaccurate databases. I speak with local business owners every day, and although their reasons are understandable (“no time”,  “don’t know where to start”, “I have a guy doing it”) this gamble costs them any hope of reaching new customers and generating additional leads. 

I think my most recent experience is typical  – this week I finally decided to see a Chiropractor – 18 months of neck pain is enough. Like many, I started by asking friends and sent out an email seeking advice. I received three solid recommendations, and then went online to check ratings, reputation, location, phone numbers and overall credibility. I searched for their “names” + “city” and expected to find all three quickly. I didn’t, and this story is exactly what the research confirms; a Nielsen/NetRatings survey found that 85% of people agreed that a website is an important factor in earning a consumer’s trust.   

The first Chiropractor only came up through various third-party sites like Merchant Circle – limited information and no link to a website. The second candidate was partially visible (bottom of first page) via an Internet Yellow Pages, good listing information but again – no link to a website. Neither of these two firms were even in Google Maps! The third was at the top of the results page with their own website – here.

The site is nothing extraordinary – and there are certainly some elements which could be improved (the link to the site’s developer is even broken),  but the point is this: I felt more comfortable in literally “risking my neck” with this local business. They appear to be more credible, up-to-date and qualified. They are also smart enough to realize that a businesses online representation is too important to leave up to other uncontrollable sources. Even the most basic of websites can properly position you reach new customers. 

What’s next? Making the site visible! After all, what good is this marketing tool if it cannot be found? Here are some tips for Chiropractors, and all businesses should consider the various optimization and pay-per-click options available.

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