The net that catches few fish
Too many small businesses have this notion that if they get on to the world wide web, with a whateveryournameis.com they have arrived. This couldn't be further from the truth.
'I want a website'. This is something that I have heard more frequently than 'I want a cup of coffee' in the more recent years of my consulting career. Nothing wrong with it, except that most are blissfully unaware of the holes in this inter 'net'.
Perception vs reality
To believe that if you have a website all your worries will vanish is wishful. First time entrants to the web space believe that simply being there is the ticket to greater visibility. The reality is that you have an address with no street name or a path to get to it.
It's a virtual wilderness. Having a website with a related domain name is the fundamental challenge. Once there, it is important to let people know how to get there. And here is where search engine optimisation (SEO) kicks in. More on this in a later paragraph.
Reach versus returns
The internet offers global presence. Anyone, anywhere in the world can get to you in a matter of a few seconds. Business at the Speed of Thought was the Gates' title to one of his many books but understanding how revenue measures up with reach is the dilemma.
Reach is the number of views that your site has had over a period of time. Unique visitors to your site reflect engagement but actual exchange and interaction, in the form of an enquiry, an email or a purchase (if yours is an online store) is the differentiator. To achieve such returns a promotions strategy is essential. And it begins from first migrating your existing clientele/well wishers to the digital stage. Not with paid ads on Facebook from Day one.
Too much money is being put behind social media advertising with too little benefit. Lack of an understanding of the target audience is one factor. Lack of deciphering market trends is another. Testing your own audience with direct mail and a concerted ad campaign helps clear clutter.
Websites are prone to hacking. This is especially true of sites that are developed independently with the help of open source code. In lay terms, this means that you are vulnerable. Your data. Your transactions. Your identity.
With large sized web development companies, the types that corporates and conglomerates use the help of, the problem is addressed, but at a cost. Most small enterprise can't afford to expend the kind of time and resources that the deep-pocketed have.
The solution to this is template based websites that companies like wix.com, weebly.com and others offer. Drag and drop options, easy editing tools and a search engine optimiser are all built in, at affordable rates. Anti- hacking firewalls, too. You will only have to create quality content. Another challenge, but this can be tackled by enlisting help from firms that engage in strategic business communication and brand building.
Talking of search engine optimisation, the notion is that if you are on the web, you will automatically get noticed. This won't happen unless you optimise your site to search engines - the largest being Google. Search engines work like spiders. The instant that the web is shaken by an insect or a fly, the spider rushes to that part of the web and locks in. On the internet (or the world wide web) you will have to create content that attracts the spider (search engine) to your site. Keywords are key, too. It is an ongoing process.
Casting your net in the sea is one thing. Learning the nuances in the local pond, is a first and important step to your ideals and efforts to go global. Time and Trial is the mantra.