Small Business Website – Marketing Tool or Technology Project?

How do you view marketing when it comes to your business – an investment or an expense?

Importance of a Small Business Website
Importance of a Small Business Website for Marketing
  • If you pick investment, then spending money on creating a powerful web presence is something you will do willingly because you know it will help your business grow and succeed.
  • If you pick expense, then you will cut marketing when things get a bit tight (if you spend on marketing at all) and make irrational decisions when it comes to your web presence.

Such as in the following situation:

I was contacted by a small business whose WordPress website had been hacked. The web developer they used was nowhere to be found so they were looking for someone who could clear the problem and restore their site.

I said I could help.

The web developer then emerged from hiding and the company said they were all set and that he would take care of it.

Until I received an email from them that said:

“Our website guy has disappeared again and mid-stream no less. He took the new site down and put our old site up and was supposed to fix all the blacklisting before putting a clean copy of the new site back up..I haven’t heard from him since (about three weeks now). Do you think you can still help us?”

I said I could.

This email struck a chord with me on many levels. I’m a marketing person and a closet geek. From the marketing aspect I was appalled!

  • Replacing the website with one using different URLs and no redirection will wipe out any search engine ranking as all the WordPress pages are now not found (404). Google will remove them from the index due to the amount of time involved but hopefully index the old site back into the results pages.
  • Anyone who does go to their site directly through the domain, sees an old, out of date website that projects a very poor image of the company.

From the closet geek aspect, securing your website is critical so this scenario doesn’t happen. So I ask:

  • Why take down the site that has been hacked? Why not just find the culprit and fix?
  • Why was the site hacked in the first place? Where is your .htaccess file securing the directories and why aren’t the permissions set properly?
  • Where are the backups and recovery plans so you can be back up and running quickly?

When I checked to see whether they still needed my help, I got this:

“To my endless frustration…the higher ups here have a constant aversion to spending money on anything related to computers, websites etc. For now, this project has been dropped in the lap of someone at our sister company who runs their website. He’s a sharp guy and seems pretty good with this stuff…but it’s not his primary role and I’m not sure how versed he is with WordPress sites.”

Which leads me to my question:

Is your small business website a marketing investment or a technology expense?

If you view your website as a technology expense, it will be just that – an expense. You will never view it as a lead generation tool therefore, it will never create visibility for your products and services or generate inbound leads.

Now I’m all for saving money but if your website is down for an extended period of time for whatever reason, what revenue opportunities have you lost because you are being “penny wise and pound foolish”?

Note the following data on how local search leads to sales. If Local search is used by at least 60% in any product, business category (Marketing Charts), what does that mean to your business if your website is low quality, has been hacked and down or can’t be found?

Local Search Used By At Least 60% In Any Product, Business Category
Local Search Used By At Least 60% In Any Product, Business Category

Your small business website is the central focal point of your inbound marketing strategy. Without a well developed, quality website, your visibility is compromised. You need to:

  • Create a compelling website to establish a strong web presence where you can regularly develop and promote relevant, brand-related content
  • Invest in search engine optimization so your website can be found
  • Ensure that your website is a lead generation tool, driving more inbound leads and increasing your revenue

Don’t make this mistake. Invest in your business by investing in marketing:

  • Develop a quality website
  • Create an active blog with rich compelling content
  • Strive for high rankings in the search engine results
  • Build a strong presence in social media to increase your digital footprint.

All to generate inbound leads.

This scenario is a real situation. This business’s website has been down since the beginning of April.

The moral of the story:

  • View marketing as an investment
  • Invest wisely when it comes to your important online assets
  • Work with knowledgeable professionals who understand the importance of your web presence to the success of your business.

How do you view your small business website in terms of marketing for you business? Investment or expense?

7 thoughts on “Small Business Website – Marketing Tool or Technology Project?

  1. Thank you so much for great post.I think every small business owner must read this for increasing their online presence & growing their business.

  2. We need to calculate our return over investment… How many sales did your website get? how much money did you make? A website can be lucrative or a bad investment. You have to make some math.

    • Hi Bruno,

      A website is a bad investment if you do nothing with it. It has to be supportive of your marketing goals, whether it is inbound leads, visibility or a place to service your customers. If you only build a website because “someone said you had to” then it is a bad investment.

      Thanks for commenting.

  3. Well, for some reason, I view my site as an investment where in I spend money to gain more money or at least expect to gain more than what I’ve spend. Generally, almost website owners would want that situation happens but we don’t control time and circumstances. That is the reason why I sometimes think that my site is an expense rather than an investment. But I don’t want to lose hope with my site that is why I continue to search new things for my investment to grow.

    • Hello Farrell,

      Remember marketing is a process that takes time. Your website is the central hub of the online marketing process – without it you would be unable to execute your online marketing (or inbound marketing) strategies. Stay consistent and keep using your website to promote your expertise and gain visibility. It will achieve an ROI for your business.

      Good luck!

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