Why historical success says NOTHING about your need for a Website

If you are a small business owner, how many times have you said or thought this: “I have been successful for years without a website. I don’t need one.” As a website developer, I hear it several times every single day.

USA Today’s “Ask An Expert” Steve Strauss http://www.usatoday.com/money/smallbusiness/columnist/strauss/index.htm received this inquiry from a reader. “…I just don’t see the need for a [web]site. My business has been around forever, and we have done just fine without one. Am I wrong?”

You are not alone. But, if you think this way about your business, then I want to speak to you directly and bluntly. You can’t live in the past! It doesn’t work in any other area of life, why would it work in business? Do you still dial 555-1212 to reach directory assistance? How about area codes…remember when we only needed to dial those to call people really far away? Do you drive the same car you drove in 1970? Still watch the same no-remote tune-with-a-dial 12” black and white model TV with only 3 channels? Or pay the same amount for gas that you did five years ago? As times change, so do the things we buy, the way we buy them, and the way business owners must conduct and market our businesses to get our attention or even stay in the game.

And as the old saying goes, you are either moving forward or falling behind.

Are you still skeptical? Want some proof? Ask the next 25 people you talk to (friends, family, customers, or employees) if they bought anything online 15 years ago. Then ask the same people if they bought anything online in the last year. If you do not believe you need a website before this experiment, the results of your survey are going to shock you.

If you are still a “doubting Thomas,” take it one step further. Ask these survey participants about buying a car, planning vacations, finding a new doctor, shopping for homes…the subject matter isn’t nearly as relevant as the fact that people shop online, and they do research BEFORE they shop, and before they make just about any purchase.

Visit Steve Strauss’ exchange with Phil in its entirety. http://www.usatoday.com/money/smallbusiness/columnist/strauss/2008-02-11-getting-a-website_N.htm. It tells a story that I would do injustice to try and reiterate, but the message is clear. Marketing strategies are not the same as they used to be. Not having a website puts you at a significant disadvantage because times have changed. Everyday, more and more of your competition develops a website so, eventually, it will be the businesses without a website that are out of business.

The strategies that made you successful yesterday are not what will keep you successful tomorrow.

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Accepting Credit Cards Online

Everyday, more and more consumers become comfortable with the idea of making online purchases. Even still, there is a significant segment of the population that stays in resistance of this trend. Most often, the resistance is due to a concern about online security. So the question we are most often faced with, as online retailers and Internet marketing consultants, is one of the proper level of security that we should provide on our sites.

Anytime a consumer sends information (name, address, or credit card number, for example) this is “data” that is being sent via your website. Security provided by the website to assure privacy of the information sent is essential to prevent pirating of your customer’s banking and personal information. The security of data is provided through a process of encrypting (jumbling or scrambling) the information prior to it being sent over the world wide web, and the level of the security your site provides is based on the extent to which the information is encrypted. In simple terms, and as a basis of information that you should understand as the website owner, a minimum level of encryption that your site should provide to your customers is “128 bit,” with additional levels of protection being provided by “256 bit encryption.” When discussing your website solution with your developer or provider, be sure that the security that will be provided by your site is “128 bit encryption” at a minimum.

As a website owner, it is essential to assure that data you collect from your customer is encrypted and, additionally, to determine the level of encryption necessary to assure your customer’s level of comfort with conducting online transactions with you via your website.

Published in: on February 17, 2008 at 12:07 AM  Comments (1)  
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