By Dan Harley, Jr.
It is common knowledge to believe that a business needs to have a Web site in order to market and advertise on the Internet. After all, how are Google or Yahoo going to find your business if you don’t have a Web site. If the search engines can’t find your Web site, then how are people going to find your business in the search engines. You might be surprised to know that is not necessarily the case anymore. In fact, there are now several means to promote and advertise a business on the Internet without a Web site. I’m sure this is going to contradict with the opinions of my Web developer colleagues, which will result in a plethora of hate mail. However, facts are facts and I will lay them out in this article.
Back in the late 90’s and early 00’s, it was thought that all businesses would have a Web site by now. A Web site would be a common staple with any business along with business cards, stationery and a phone. Well, that didn’t happen. There are some estimates indicating less than 15% of small businesses in the United States have a Web site and fractions of that are effectively promoting their Web site or business on the Internet. Whatever the reason for the low number of small businesses having Web sites is irrelevant to consumer demand.
More and more adult consumers are using the Internet to find local businesses or services than ever before. The phone book is rapidly loosing ground to the search engines for adult consumer preference in finding local businesses or services. This trend continues to grow despite the small business community being way behind in keeping up. Instead of waiting, Google, Yahoo and the yellow page companies have taken alternative measures to accommodate the growing consumer demand for online information, which has opened opportunities for a business to promote itself on the Internet without the need of a Web site.
Most small business owners don’t realize that their business may already be promoted on the Internet for free. Most of the online business directories (Yahoo Local, Google Maps, etc. ) are populated from yellow page information. Such information are formatted into business profiles in Yahoo Local, Google Maps and other services, which are given preferential placement in local search results over organic and even sponsored listings.
For instance, you can review the local listing for my own company [ click here ]. If everything goes right, you will see the PrimeConcepts local listing on the “sweet spot” of Yahoo’s search results for “internet marketing apple valley ca”. This listing is in better position than the sponsored listing and the organic listings. What’s interesting is the local listing placement has little to do with my company’s Web site. All I did was update my Yahoo business profile, which cost me nothing. My profile has enough information for potential customers to contact me even if I remove my Web site link. One thing that I should mention is my local business profiles on Google, Yahoo and the other directories generate more new customer referrals in one month than my yellow page ads generate in a year.
The online business profiles are certainly not the only means to advertise on the Internet without a Web site. In fact, there are countless others ways with more being created all the time. Having a page on MySpace, Facebook and other Web 2.0 sites are becoming prudent for small business advertising and especially for the cost (free). I can’t conclude this article without mentioning Craigslist. Putting it simply, Craigslist is phenomenal. A modest ad campaign in Craigslist, which costs nothing but my time, generates a steady flow of new customers. Although most all of my ads are linked to my web site, some ads divert to a tracking phone number and don’t even have reference my company.
What all this means to small business owners, especially to those who don’t have Web sites, is they can focus on online marketing and advertising first before investing in a Web site. A Web site is still very important to any business and every business should have one. However, delaying such an investment in favor of generating new customers by utilizing Internet marketing could be the edge a new business needs to be successful.
About the author: Dan Harley, Jr. is the founder and owner of PrimeConcepts for Internet Solutions. Dan has over 25 years experience as a professional computer programmer, decades of experience with sales & marketing and over eleven years of experience in Internet marketing. For questions concerning his articles or for more information, contact Dan at email@example.com or visit http://primeconcepts.net