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Why is a website important?
How to persuade someone with hard facts

 9:00 pm on Feb 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

How do you persuade someone that their website is important and doesn't exist solely for the sake of existing? Do any of you have any hard data (and its source) to back up any claims of website importance?



 9:44 pm on Feb 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

Too broad a question Trenton, it all depends on the industry. For example, an Architect would greatly benefit by having a site to showcase their work, while a plumber can probably get by without one.

The easiest way to pursuade someone that they need a web site is to show them their closest competitors sites! I also always tell people it can't hurt to at least have a simple page with their name, address and phone number on it in case people are specifically looking for them.


 9:53 pm on Feb 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

Do you have pageview numbers? Can you tell them how many people viewed more than one page? Can you show any directory listings that prove editors thought the site was great? Are there any Alexa reviews that rave about the site? Could you get them to put adsense up and make a little money that would justify the site's existence?


 5:42 pm on Feb 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

How can a plumber get by without a web site? People hate hiring contractors because they never know what they are going to get. A web site gives contractors a way to show how they are better than the other guy.


 10:11 pm on Feb 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

Why is a website important?

That was a question we had to answer in the early years of the Web.

The standard answer was: "If people don't find your business on the Web, they will certainly find a Web site of one of your competitors."...

Undead Hunter

 2:24 am on Feb 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hi Trenton:

Occurs to me that if the website is doing nothing tangible for the business - not bringing in leads, not informing customers with regular info and cutting down on mailouts, etc. - then their website isn't doing nearly enough for them. Sure, its like a yellow pages ad, great to be there, makes it easier for customers, but if there's nothing you can track happening, then no one will miss the dang thing when the company pulls it down in disgust.


 3:25 am on Feb 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

How can a plumber get by without a web site?

Because a picture of a nicely soldered copper pipe isn't going to get them a job....referrals get them jobs. But that wasn't my point...my point was, it would be harder to convince a plumber that a web site is necessary then it would for a graphic designer.


 11:34 am on Feb 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

It depends on the industry.

Are they currently satisfied with the inflex of new and repeat customers?

Do they want to improve that?

Look at the cost per month, vs referrals and people who have heard of his/her products/services....

Plus it also depends if it's just there as a promote/contact site, vs a full ecommerce site.

A promote/contact site can not always be necessary depending on the industry....and the region...


 12:54 pm on Feb 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

I disagree with convincing people. It's easier to deal with people who know they have a need than those who needs convincing.

If the customer really cares, he will take appropriate steps. If he doesn't, I'm waisting time that I could spend on someone who really needs a better site.


 3:32 pm on Feb 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

Yeah, it's tuff to have to convince people.

But the benefit of the attempt, is that it trains you to research and be prepared and organized.


 5:49 pm on Feb 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

Getting people to invest in a web site is about selling!

Q1. Why do I need a website?

A1. How much business are you missing by not having one? If you got 3 extra jobs and each job made you $100, I'm pretty sure a site would pay for itself very quickly Mr. Prospect

Q2. But aren't they very expensive and time consumming?

A2. Well Mr Prospect Do you mean if we could make it easy to use and within your budget you'd be interested?

Q3. No one uses the internet to find plumbers do they?

A3. Well Mr Prospect it looks like most of your competitors seem to think they do. Imagine the Kudos of having your very own website details on your slightly grubby and badly designed business card.

etc etc...

Apologies to all plumbers


 6:05 pm on Feb 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

The advantage of a promote/contact site is IYPs. Some business can be listed in them who don't have websites, but making sure you have such a listing is a form of net promotion, and is usually more thought of if you have a website.

I just hired a local electrician, and found him by searching through the IYPs. The reason I choose him - he had a website and seemed to know a little bit about the web, and I needed someone with a clue for the project.

I disagree with convincing people. It's easier to deal with people who know they have a need than those who needs convincing.

I have very mixed feelings about this. I've seen many companies that initially started with a tiny budget to test the waters, and some were afraid of just losing money on the endevor - and now their website makes them a substantial income they didn't expect. Being on the ground floor of such projects also makes your income go up as well. Don't dismiss the small players - sometimes they grow up.


 6:42 pm on Feb 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

Web sites are like anything else used to promote a biz. Business cards, signs, showrooms, brochures, hats, logos, yellow page ads, graphics on the truck, t-shirts, shopping bags, radio spots, TV ads, newspapers ads...

You can make the same case that all of these should be done "right" and are "important." But, it obviously depends on the business.


 7:05 pm on Feb 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

I just read a headline from drudgereport that claims internet-access is available in more homes than cable tv.

Undead Hunter

 7:08 pm on Feb 25, 2004 (gmt 0)


That's so unbelievably true - a website IS just one part of a much bigger whole. So many small companies are great in one area - excellent showroom and business cards, for example - but so awful or non-existent in others (like their logo, or outside signs, or ads.)

Just like some companies pay the minimum amount for a sign outside their office, some will invariably pay the minimum for a website. To them, you're the same as the guy trying to sell them a billboard off the highway, or an ad in the paper - you think it can be world-changing for them, but they don't think so. You may even be right, but they just don't have time or space for it. They can't even keep up as it is with the work they have. Has anyone ever met a small business owner who's actually making money and has too much time on their hands?

Its a shame, but that's how the world works. Just because an idea is good and right doesn't mean anyone will except it! It has to be easy, to has to make sense. And getting a solid return of investment from a website isn't an "easy" thing - even if you're selling products, it invariably means adding more complications to a business (dealing with new orders, new shipping, larger than usual attempts at fraud, and so on, not to mention the business of designing and promoting the site itself.)


 7:10 pm on Feb 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

The issue whether website is important . to me website is very good and useful to all part of work , it give out neccessary data


 7:22 pm on Feb 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

I agree with Undead here. I'm not against going after customers, but time is better spent going after those that know they have a need.

Many small businesses don't even value any work that is not physical. Going after those who don't even want your services is not a very good idea for me.


 8:04 pm on Feb 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have dealt with quite a few website owners who were unsure or very hesitant about getting/upgrading their website. With one of these, ego did the trick ... "You mean, if someone puts MY NAME into a search engine, my site will come up?!?"

I had one client who was shamed into upgrading his site by looking at his competitors sites. There are lots of reasons why people don't fully understand what their website can do for their business. And there are just as many solutions to those barriers. On small sites that I design/seo, I always try and make sure that the site pays for itself within the first few months. And I make sure the website owner realizes that it has just paid for itself.


 11:34 pm on Feb 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

It hasn't been mentioned yet, probably with good reason. We found out how important our site was just about a week before Thanksgiving, 2003. That points more to a dependency that's evolved as a result of having a web site.

How do you persuade someone that their website is important

The task has now become one to persuade the owner that his site is worth a continued investment of time, technology and $. Maybe one angle to use in your persuasion would be to point out just how 'wired' we are becoming, and that to remain unplugged is to fall behind.


 12:06 am on Feb 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think people are waaaay off on the wrong track when they try to compare a website to a brochure.

Maybe you make websites like that, but that's no way to make money. Are you all designers?

The web is a whole separate medium like TV or radio. It's *interactive* (unlike a brochure or business card).

Furthermore tons of companies use the web in ways other than just promoting their business. For some the webiste is their business. Others build intra/extranets for employees,clients.

Get a clue on this and you may see an increase in clients.


 12:49 am on Feb 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

Many small businesses don't even value any work that is not physical. Going after those who don't even want your services is not a very good idea for me.

Your point is taken Harry. I work for a small family concern. The wife still thinks I'm doing little more than occupying space and raiding the fridge. But to the second sentence, I have managed to make a convert with the owner. He doesn't know php from DOS, but show him how his site is suddenly leaner, meaner and faster and I get a sale. Same with CSS and re-designing the pages. He was happy with tables before I ever showed up. The next webmaster on this this site will have to begin with a higher standard.

The same points can be made for a new customer, with a new site. Show them the competitons site, then show them how you can do it even better. That falls right in line with "You mean you type in my name and it comes up?"... feed the ego factor.


 5:13 pm on Feb 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

It depends on the industry.

Yes - identify their industry (and also important "related industries") and show how the internet can increase their product and brand awareness and sales.

Locate instances in their industry where competitors are using eCommerce and websites to increase their market reach.

Search Engines: use Overture Keyword search stats and other stats fom search engines that provide them

Directory Statistics are good - like stat sheets from the bigger players like YP CS etc... - how many times does X category get visited / month etc...

I just put these stats up on one of our sites - shows typical popularity of industry and business

<snip> no links to your own sites, please</snip>

[edited by: Travoli at 5:06 pm (utc) on Mar. 3, 2004]


 7:52 pm on Feb 27, 2004 (gmt 0)


You might want to remove your link to your site (violation of TOS).


Chicken Juggler

 8:01 pm on Feb 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

It's funny how people don't get it. I am so suprised that I don't have more competition. People in my industry still think Billboards are a good idea. We sent some refferals to a company and they were paying us for them. They found out how we got them now I pay more in Overture because they started competing with us. They don't get our business anymore. I doubt they get much business because their site is not much more than an online business card.

I know a guy that owns a very successful hobby shop and really does not get the web. He has a cheesy website that does not even sell things. I bet I could make his store profits look like peanuts but he just does not care and there is no way he would pay my fees. (he is very cheap and does not understand speding money to make money)


 9:11 pm on Feb 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

superpower says:
I think people are waaaay off on the wrong track when they try to compare a website to a brochure.

Don't diss the brochure too much. Again, it depends on the industry. The travel industry, for example, sees web sites as a brochure on steroids, but a brochure nevertheless. You can't deliver the goods in the mail.

But, I had lunch today with my friend with a used bookshop. She keeps talking about closing down her retail store. Why? Some 50 to 60 percent of her orders, and 80 percent of her growth, is from the web, at very little cost. (She's shipping books all over the world.)

So, again, it depends on the industry.

Undead Hunter

 9:33 pm on Feb 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

Dissing the brochure:

It's true Cib. I have a client nigh on seven years at this, who's had a "brochure" site with a big, fairly detailed contact form to follow up at the end of it. He's had contacts from it every week, more than enough to keep him busy. I've pitched to him doing more interactive things, but that costs more money, and if he can barely keep up as it is, why spend it? He's in an industry that has only so many clients, though, far from an infinite amount. So even if he increases the traffic, he'll also bring in a lot of "flotsam" to sort through, people that don't fit his services. And that time sorting through costs him money, too.

You have to balance ROI when you get into interactive things - no sense in doing them when something non-interactive is working quite well. He's altered it, expanded it, even added it into 2 other languages... but that's that.


 9:49 pm on Feb 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

Rather than comparing a web site to a brochure, we suggest to clients and prospects that a web site is like a branch office. If you do it right, it can provide the same amount of sales, customer service, lead generation, whatever, as opening a second office (or store).


 11:21 pm on Feb 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

That's a very good approach pleeker. Now *that* makes sense.

Want an extra employee on duty working for you 24/7? No overtime pay? Save 50% first year, 75% second year.

This employee does almost all the customer service operations, is the cashier, the salesman, the catalog, sets appointments in a calendar, makes contacts with highly-targeted (categorizes and prioritizes leads), and facilitates communications with current clients.

How much does an extra employee like that cost? $30 or 40 or 50k + benefits + taxes. Charge $15k and they are getting a deal.

How about those numbers?


 4:58 am on Feb 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

cyanweb- You might want to remove your link to your site (violation of TOS). -Matt

Was trying to show useful information this person was asking for.... I can't seem to edit my post at all... I guess will have to wait it out for moderator...


 4:43 am on Mar 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

Back to the original question.

There's a simple answer - validation. Today a website's first requirement is to validate you as a business. Think about it you look up things on the web before you buy most anything. And, the public is following suit.

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