With business slowing during this recession, it is critical to keep up with current trends. Twenty years ago, it only took a business card and a listing with Better Business for you to seem credible. Today customers expect you to have a website. For many businesses today, working out of your house is just smart. Previously it may have been cause for concern.
Your website should be the storefront window to your business. If your current or potential customers feel that it is unorganized, messy or ugly, they may keep looking elsewhere. It only takes a click to find your competition. If their site looks better, they will probably shop there for a while.
So, it's time to redefine how you are doing things. Your website must be a living and breathing thing, which requires changes. Without updating, your website, it could look like the person who showed up to a business appointment wearing a 1970's polyester leisure suit. Certainly out of touch with current fashion.
A good website will draw customers from areas you never thought to service. That is, if they can find you. Sometimes cyberspace seems larger then the Galaxy on Star Trek and just as weird. A few years ago, the trend was to hire a SEO company to drive traffic to your website. Too often they took your $5,000, but the results faded like a bouquet of freshly cut flowers.
Today with services like Craig'slist, Twitter, Twellow, Cli.gs and others, you can see positive results from your advertising in a matter of weeks, rather then months or years. There are currently new companies, who require modest investments of $500 or less to prove these methods will work. The good ones will even offer a money back guarantee.
Require your consultants to provide hard data from third party sources like Google Analytics. With the Internet, all of your advertising, comments and printed knowledge, are able to be searched and recalled, through out the life of our current system. All of that data will help you move closer to a coveted first page listing on Google, which is the most powerful search engine at this time.
So don't be caught in your underwear when Publisher's Clearing House shows up with a big check and cameras rolling. You can learn to compete in this ever-changing business cycle. But it will require more effort and help from cyberspace.