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Why Your Brick-and-Mortar Biz Needs A Website

By: Kelly Kyrik

The internet has taken over our lives with a vengeance, and has changed the way many of us do business. More and more consumers are now doing their shopping online and, unfortunately, some business owners have felt the pinch.

But there are many small businesses that have been virtually unaffected by the internet boom. Those professionals in the more service-oriented fields - veterinarians, chiropractors, beauticians, dentists and more - do almost all of their work in what's now affectionately know as the brick-and-mortar business, and as such can never be fully replaced by internet technology.

However, many of these businesses, from tiny mom-and-pop stores to small health care centers - have yet to merge onto the information highway, and it's costing them plenty; of customers, that is.

That's because, although traditional advertising (phone books, flyers, radio ads, etc.) are still widely used, there is no doubt that the most effective advertising now takes place online.

As our society becomes increasingly computer-savvy, consumers are turning more and more to the internet for information and advice on where to do their business.

Your potential customers would much rather type your business name into a search engine than ferret out your phone number in some ratty, old phonebook.

And who can blame them?

On the web, your potential clients can find out your hours and location 24/7, get a feel for your business philosophies and practices and can learn about your services and pricing without having to listen to annoying hold music or endless phone menus. Even better, they can get all the information they need at their own pace, taking breaks to feed the cat and burp the baby as needed.

Of course, they can't do any of the above unless your small business has its own website, preferably with a recognizable domain name (YourBusinessName.com) and Search Engine Optimization, which makes your business easier to find on the vast world wide web. Now that so many consumers are turning to the internet to find the services they need, it's imperative that your small business has the same (or better) web presence than that of your competitors.

Luckily, web design now comes in all flavors and sizes, so you won't have to look far to find a designer and a site that's right or you.

Often a simple one-page website is enough for very small businesses; hours, location, contact information and basic services can all be presented in a professional way for your prospective customers. A medical professional may require more pages; perhaps choosing to explain particular procedures and detailing insurance information. And some small businesses prefer to put everything online, from articles and interactive forms to detailed descriptions of their personal business philosophies.

No matter which design and options you choose, your website will reassure and impress potential consumers, leading them directly to your brick-and-mortar door, and leaving you to concentrate on what you do best; running your small business.

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