Do Local Businesses Need a Web Site?

Consider this: last year online research influenced an estimated $471 billion in in-store sales while ecommerce sales totaled $136 billion, according to a 2007 eMarketer study.

Whether you sell online or not, a Web site is key to driving sales in your store, restaurant, salon, law firm or any business you run. The facts speak for themselves. People research products and services online before they venture into a business.

Search Engines Are the New Yellow Pages

In the past, businesses typically ran an ad in their local Yellow Pages phone directories to generate business. Today, 74 percent of consumers are using search engines to find local businesses while only 65 percent still use the printed Yellow Pages, a recent survey from Nielson/NetRatings and WebVisible found.

In 2005, Google confirmed this trend when it moved its local search feature to its homepage. The company noticed that local search pages drew as much traffic as other home page features despite being buried in the site.

You can’t escape the power of the Internet in today’s business environment. Everyone from local stores to major national retailers needs a presence on the Web to reach potential customers.

Will Your Business Show Up in a Search?

Even though you serve a local market, showing up in search engines is essential to bringing in business from the 74 percent of consumers who look for you online before showing up on your doorstep. A business Web site gives you a clear advantage in today’s wired world, and it may not be as expensive as you think. Find out how to plan your local business Web site.