A business column published on Tuesday at USA Today counsels business owners to make sure that they have up-to-date websites. It drives the point home with several anecdotes about entrepreneurs who failed to attach sufficient importance to the online portion of their business, and who lost leads as a result.
Obviously, the author is right about the general importance of a healthy web presence, but his perspective comes across as a little short-sighted and naïve. It implies that simply having current information on an active website is enough to give a business a competitive advantage. And in this day and age, that is simply not true.
The article dismisses out of hand the input of one business owner who opined that his website would just get lost among the multitudes on the web. But he’s absolutely right, assuming that he had no intention of linking his website to a social media campaign or contracting with a local SEO company to devise a plan to make that site more visible.
The fact is that simply having a website isn’t worthwhile in its own right. It doesn’t generate leads if it’s not getting seen, and if it’s not getting seen, it’s not worth keeping up to date just for the sake of the leads you’ve already got. But make no mistake, having a website gives even the smallest business a competitive advantage as long as that website is being managed and promoted, ideally by a local social media company.
When building a business, you surely ought to build a website, too. But doing so is no longer a workable first step. Nowadays, it makes more sense to start with social media and build from there.