Are you ready to take the lead?
Even after 20 years of Internet business, the "if you build it, they will come" belief still exists when it comes to web sites.
Admittedly, 15 years ago when Internet technology was much simpler, it was a lot easier to stay ahead of your competitors.
Nowadays everybody has a web site, sometimes several, so the playing field has become much more competitive. Whether you are in a high-ticket field like legal or medical, or in a less competitive field, literally one place higher on the search results can make a difference to your bottom line.
Having a web site is like a race; if the other drivers have similar cars, but yours can go 10 mph faster, you will get ahead. However, if one or more of the other drivers has a car that can go 15 mph faster, even you will be passed up.
The same happens online. Even if you are in the top 10 results this month, keeping that lead depends on what your competitors do with their sites.
The Internet is an ever-changing place, new technologies and techniques come along almost daily, and you need to stay on top of them because your competitors will.
A web site, just like any other aspect of business, takes constant effort. If you remain aware of what your competitors are doing, or are likely to do, you can greatly increase your chance of staying ahead.
This is one of the simplest advantages to hiring a professional web development company: experience. For example, we have spent over 15 years seeing trends come and go, and that experience has helped us predict many changes.
Having a web site is like a race; if the other drivers
have similar cars, but yours can go 10 mph faster, you will get
ahead. However, if one or more of the other drivers has a car
that can go 15 mph faster, even you will be passed up.
Just as with the cars analogy, if most of your competitors are using budget or free template sites, such as WordPress, simply having less generic technology can give you a big advantage.
Of course, many web designers will say that if your site cannot get ahead of your competitors, you can just pay every month for pay-per-click advertising like Google's AdWords to get visitors.
Once again, if you understand how the Internet works, and what is involved for a visitor to actually become a customer, it becomes clear that pay-per-click can fast become a bottomless money pit.
Because the Internet is so convenient, with everything at your fingertips, it has become a huge research and comparison shopping tool.
No matter what a visitor is looking for, they will always be offered several places to browse through before actually making a commitment to call or buy.
Even if your site shows up at number one and somebody clicks you, unless something grabs them instantly, they will still very likely check out the other sites on the results page before deciding.
When that happens, it's a head-to-head race. If any one of your competitors sites loads faster, looks nicer, has more information or better prices than yours, you will very likely have lost that sale. By looking at your traffic stats, you can find out why they didn't buy, and adjust your site or prices accordingly.
Obviously, if that click cost you money and didn't make you any, that's not good math for any business. This fact alone is why we don't recommend our clients use pay-per-click advertising; we give them the means to reach as many people as possible for free.
Online, your site is one among thousands of others offering the same products or services. Believe it or not, you can look your best without breaking the bank.
If you have concerns with your web presence, now is the perfect time to look into our WebUpdate system sites, which take advantage of advanced marketing, SEO and promotion features to give your business the best competitive edge online.
Terry Young is the founder and CEO of Internet Marketing and Design,
the award winning web and multimedia design agency in Chesapeake.
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