If you are completely an online business, the answer can be simple and obvious, but for most small businesses that tend to try and mix the two - not so simple and not so obvious.
To help you understand were your business is with respect to this question, start by answering these questions:
Review your answers to these questions and then come back and try to answer main question in the title.
So… Is your website a part of your business?
If not a clear “Yes” then why not, and do you think it should or could be a more meaningful part of your business? If a clear “Yes” then is it doing all it can? Is there more that you can be doing?
There has been a long standing myth out there that if you “build it they will come”. Stories of people building a website and making it big. I call it the Field of Dreams Syndrome and it is very common for the relatively well informed small business owners. It is true that there are cases were good fortune, hard work and timing have produced amazing success, but with respect to websites and the majority of small business, it is not that simple, and often not that easy.
Is it really worth the trouble? Well, it depends..
Don’t you just hate it when some says that: It depends..
Sounds like I’m trying to avoid the answer or there is no answer. Frustratingly, though there are answers, it is just that they tend to be very specific to the type of business and the target audience. The answers depend on answering many other questions.
First, one must start with the target audience: Are they heavy users of the Internet? If so, how do they use the internet? (research, information, shopping, social..etc..) And.. what devices are they using? (Phone, tablet, desktop). All of this determines how you design and develop your web presence and how you talk and interact with that audience.
The second part: What business processes and marketing can effectively be done on the web for YOUR type of business and YOUR target market. This can both be hard and in some isolated cases quite obvious, but the starting point is understanding what your competitors are doing in this area and using that as both a guide and a starting point. From there it depend a lot you YOU, how comfortable you are working in the digital world and how much time and resources you have to make the most of opportunities.
To get you moving and thinking in the right direction we have brought together some national and international experts on the topic of “The Basics of Using Your Website As a Business Asset” in video above.