Dear Small Business Owner, Get Up On This

Gene Marks is a guy with a web site; yet, he knows that not every small business needs one.
Writing in BusinessWeek, Marks says, “millions of business owners may know something that we’re not prepared to admit. Some people don’t really need a Web site at all. Maybe a Web page. But not a Web site.”
Marks also has it out for “turtleneck-and-vest-wearing, greasy-haired propeller heads who drink Red Bull” and build and maintain web sites.
Since I own no turtlenecks and have nicely maintained hair, I know he’s not making fun of me, even though I do build and maintain web sites while wired on coffee.
Having built sites for small businesses in the past, I will say the best path is typically a DIY journey by members of the client team into Blogger and Twitter. These tools are free and easy to use. With a little guidance, many clients can be up and running in social media within days, if not hours.
Marks’ argument about web pages versus web sites is semantic. It is imperative for small businesses to appear in search results. Where do you think people go for a mechanic, a tailor, a massage or a recommendation for the best Thai food in the neigborhood? To Google, time and again.
The bottom line is small businesses do not need “an expensive to create and maintain” web site, but they most certainly do need presence on the web. Content creates that presence. A free Blogger or WordPress account and a willingness to tell the brand’s story in a community environment is all it takes.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.