12 Dec 2011

The importance of having a web presence

I have a neighbour who emailed me the other day. This neighbour sells insurance. His email signature said (note, name changed) “John Smith – JSmith Insurance. XXX-XXX-XXXX.” I was curious, so I googled his name. Nothing came up. I googled his name and business. Nothing. No matter what I typed, I couldn’t get any information on Google about him. Maybe it shouldn’t have surprised me, but it did. Sure, designing custom graphics or animations might take more time, but to design something basic with business and contact info would be simple, and would probably greatly increase his number of potential clients. Designing and putting up a basic website wouldn’t take more than a few hours, and there are paid services if you can’t do it yourself. A few bucks a month would surely pay for itself in sales.

Sure, I actually work in the tech field, so I’ve built a few websites, including multiple revisions of my own, along with my brother’s, and father’s, but I’m not what you’d call a real web designer. I just know how to hack some code together. I’ve never really studied HTML, JS, PHP or other web languages, I usually just learn how to do what I want to do on the fly. It’s different when you don’t know how anything works on the web, or when you don’t have either a techy friend, or the money to pay someone to do it. I get that your average Joe Schmoe wouldn’t make the effort, but when you have an actual business that your family’s income depends on, having a website should not be optional.