If you aren’t on the internet you don’t exist

Your immediate reaction to this headline will place you into one of the following camps:

  • Absolutely
  • What? Are you insane?

If you find yourself with the last reaction let me offer a challenge, find someone that is under age 35 and ask them 2 questions.

  • When is the last time you used the Yellow Pages?
  • How often do you read the local paper?

If your business’s visibility depends on these traditional methods you are in for a shock. There is an entire generation that expects your business to have a digital presence.

This doesn’t mean that traditional media isn’t important it means that your audience is listening differently. If you tell me about a sale or a grand opening at a new location and you pique my interest I fully expect to remember NONE of the details beyond your Company Name and maybe your URL. Once I get home or to work I’m gong to visit your website or just as likely I’m going to forget your URL and simply Google your name. No URL? No search result? You might as well not exist. invisible-man

The money you spent that radio ad, 30 sec TV spot, or direct mailer is completely nullified because you don’t exist online.

This is not a special case for IT companies or consumer electronics retailers. This is my method of operation for restaurants, dry cleaners, doctors, insurance agents, roofers, etc…. Without a URL or relevant Google result you’ve probably lost me as a potential new customer.

As a side note this is even worse when you have your domain name in your email address (and you should) but there isn’t so much as a landing page when I paste it into the address bar.

Your URL is the first and maybe last place that I look to learn about you or your organization.

The Good News…

Getting on the web doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. It isn’t a requirement that you spend $25,000 for a website that’s going to garner design and usability awards. These days some of the largest web brands run websites based on free blogging software like self hosted WordPress or the Tumblr blogging service coupled with a custom domain name.

However, establishing your online presence should be a thoughtful process that includes a great designer, branding considerations, content management, and tracking tools. These are invaluable resources but they shouldn’t be a deterrent that leads to inaction. The cost of not being online at all is too great. In short, good design is important but “being there” should be the priority.

Buy a custom domain name and get online. There is an entire generation that expects you to be there.

Need help finding web designers or the right hosting package? Or if you just aren’t sure where to start. I’d love to help. Contact me at kei@knowthenetwork.com

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