Imagine how many brands and businesses there are in the world today. Now think about your local neighborhood and how many of them are or aren’t online. It’s actually quite amazing when you think about it… some businesses and brands still haven’t made the transition to the internet! How is that even possible?
More often than not, the reason for a business or brand not being online usually comes down to one of the following:
- They think it’s too expensive
- They have no idea how to get started
- There is no benefit to them having a presence online
No matter which of the three reasons they might fall into, they are wrong in all cases. It’s stupid cheap to get online and the advancements in technology make it so easy to create a site that anyone can do it in a matter of minutes. At the same time, it could be more damaging to a brand to not be online, versus actually being online.
I’m going to be covering all of these topics and more in the details below, and by the end of this article if you aren’t excited about getting your business online… nothing will excite you!
Myth #1 – It’s Too Expensive to Get Online
This has to be one of the most used, yet incorrectly made statements when it comes to a business putting off their online transition. Yes, the actual costs of setting up an advanced online business where you are building a crazy advanced e-commerce store with thousands of products or launching a custom mobile app for your audience can build up… but actually starting your online presence — that’s quite cheap.
This is especially true when you look at the start-up and operating costs of a real offline business or even a franchise. How much are they already spending on a rent, products, staff, insurance, advertising and everything in between? Likely several multiple over what it would cost to simply build a presence online.
Here’s a quick glance at what you would need to get your business online.
- Domain name
- Web hosting
- WordPress site
That’s really it! With just those four things in place, you can get your business online and start ranking in the search results in no time.
When it comes to breaking down the actual costs of this, it’s nearly just as simple, and the only immediate out of pocket costs are going to have will be on a domain name and web hosting. Domain names cost around $10 a year and in most cases, many registrars will allow you to save even more money when you purchase for several years in advance. You can see a domain name price chart below to get an idea on how much a domain name will set you back for a single year, or over the next 10 — along with a look at the different domain extensions available. Again, the investment here is quite minimal.
When choosing a domain name, I highly recommend you secure the .com, .net and .org variations for your brand or business name if they are still available. Millions of domain names are registered daily, so they might already be taken by someone else. If you are having trouble with coming up with a great domain name for your site, try any of these domain name generators. They are quite helpful and allowed me to pick up some nice names over the years when I feel in a creative rut.
The only other ‘real’ cost you have when getting your business online is web hosting, which might set you back an extra $50-$100 a year. Other than that, all you need to do is install WordPress onto your site (which is free), then start adding some content about yourself and your business.
To get even more inspired by the concept of getting your business online and creating your own content, refer to my previous article on how to turn your existing site content into millions of dollars. If you already have an offline business in place, this might be something you can implement right away.
Myth #2 – I Have No Idea How to Get Started
The second common reason for offline businesses still waiting til the end of time to get their business online is that they don’t know how to get started. This is a legitimate reason, but in most cases — it’s actually much more complicated and detailed to start an offline business than an online business. This leads me to believe that anyone who is smart enough to start an offline business, should have no problem with following some simple steps to get their business online.
I already laid out the process of how simple it is to register a domain name, set up hosting and simply getting a site online. However, what if you wanted to create something more professional and advanced?
Again… this is where advancements in technology come into play. The more a business can eliminate the middle-man, or a learning process, the easier they can increase sales and grow their business. With this in mind, web hosting and site builder solutions have simply eliminated the need for customers to ever need to touch a line of code, become a programmer or even hire a custom designer.
A perfect example of this can be seen through GetResponse.com, as they now offer an all in one marketing solution for businesses of all sizes. Platforms like this are quickly growing in demand as it’s allowing businesses to get online while scaling in size and implementing new marketing components at their own pace. As you can see in the screenshot below, services provided include email marketing, webinars, landing pages, marketing automation and more — all of which can be used to bring an offline business online without the need to hire an additional website or development team.
Is there a learning curve to going live with your own site and figuring out how to use landing pages and a mailing list for your business? Of course, there is, but you already went through all of this a thousand times over when you created an offline business in the first place. So why not spend some extra time to bring it to that next level by investing some time and effort to reach new audiences like never before.
However, GetResponse isn’t the only game in town for getting your business online and using marketing tools to promote it. Neil Patel also came out with his own list of ten must use marketing tools for every business to consider when getting started online. If you already have an active website or business online, you will probably recognize many of the names, such as Trello, Google Analytics, All in One SEO Pack, Hootsuite and Buzzsumo — all great tools, while also being quite affordable for any business looking to get more done online.
Worst case scenario… get your business online with a domain name, a website, and set up a mailing list and a simple landing page for people to find more information about your site. At the most, this will set you and your business back a few dollars per day, but the new opportunities of having your business online are limitless!
Myth #3 – There is No Benefit for My Local Business to Be Online
I can’t think of a worse reason for not getting a local or small business online. In short, everyone is using the internet for everything. I don’t even need to back this myth up with any more than that… but I will.
Throw mobile usage into the mix, and without your business being online, you can consider yourself out of business. Like it or not… sites like Google Local and Yelp are going to find, list and index your business online whether you like it online. Without a brand presence of your own, this is simply a disaster waiting to happen.
To stress this point even further, let me give you three reasons why you MUST be online.
- Your Customers are Looking For You
Like it or not, people are searching for your business online. A perfect example of this would be if you had a local restaurant or pizza location. Being on the internet probably isn’t going to increase your sales and bring in new customers from around the world, but it will cater to your existing customers or people looking to eat in your area. When you have a web site, Google makes it easy for people to find what they are looking for. Who is searching online for your business hours, location or even a phone number to contact someone? If you don’t have this information online, you are just making it harder for audiences to find you.
- Your Competition is Ranking Above You
While you might not think it’s that important for your local business to be online… guess who does? Your competition! They are likely already online, and probably ranking for some great local keywords that could be taking business away from you right now. Not only that, but they might also be appearing within the search results or Google Maps when customers are actually looking for your retail location. If you are still sitting on the sidelines with your business and not getting online, you are just sending free business to your competition.
- Your Reputation is at Risk
Probably the most concerning of the three is that if you aren’t online there is no telling what might be said or represented of your brand online. For example, even if you don’t think you are online, sites like Yelp and Google are still going to list your company information, location and areas for customers to leave reviews about your business. Without an online presence of your own, how are you going to know what complaints, issues or false reviews might be out there from your competition or just angry customers? It might seem like your little small business might not need to be online, but what happens when someone searches for it online and finds much worse? To learn more about the reputation of your business or brand, refer to any of these 97 tools and resources.
As you can see, there are plenty of reasons why every business owner needs to make sure their business is actually online. Gone are the days of traditional local advertising and yellow pages being delivered to homes in your area. Sure… it’s still taking place and happening daily, but guess what — no one is looking at them. Everyone is using the internet for everything, and if your business isn’t found online, you are just creating more problems and potential disasters down the road.