Internet vs. Yellow pages
Gone are the days when searching for a plumber meant opening the phone book and looking through the yellow pages, or calling your neighbor to find out who fixed their toilet last month. As a society, we still trust recommendations from people we trust. After all, if the previously mentioned toilet is still having issues, chances are good that you’re going to hear the good, the bad and the truly ugly! Recommendations work both ways – they can be positive or negative.
However, when looking for services such as a roofer, plumber, electrician, dentist, orthodontist, hair dresser, nail salon or auto repair shop, most of us turn to the internet first. Why?
- Google is easier than singing the alphabet song in your head while flipping through the yellow pages
- Cars and appliances do not breakdown at convenient locations and times. We don’t have the luxury of interviewing our neighbors to find out the best place to replace a flat tire or searching through Consumer Report for information on which dishwasher to buy. It needs to be done NOW and we choose the fastest way to get information.
- Many of us sit at a computer all day anyway, and we are trying to accomplish our home-related errands on a lunch break. We inhale a sandwich while surfing the web for an orthodontist for our 12 year old.
Your website is your first impression
Most new consumers will see your website long before they darken your doors. While you may retain your current clientele without the help of the internet, in most cases you will no longer be able to bring in new customers without it. That’s just the world we live in.
So before you hire the teenage neighborhood genius to build your website for you, because you can pay them in Starbucks gift cards, consider the fact that this is your first impression to the world. You don’t need to have a degree in graphic design or a massive marketing budget to develop a clean, easy-to-use website that reflects the personality, accomplishments and mission of your business.
- Consider using a website design company. Many will be able to save you money by designing your website using an existing website platform such as Joomla, Processwire or WordPress. For example, you are reading this blog on a WordPress website, designed for us by Refresh Perspective. Unless you are a massive, billion-dollar operation, it is no longer necessary to spend tens of thousands of dollars creating a website completely from scratch. In most cases, you can use a pre-built web site design, and fill in your content, pictures and graphics. There are plenty of companies that specialize in designing websites, using pre-built frameworks, for minimal cost. You can do additional homework regarding these companies online!
- Make sure that it’s user – friendly. Think about the main pieces of information that you look for when you do an online search. What do you need? A phone number on the main page. Email address. Fax number. The name of a contact person. A list of services that are offered. Make these basic pieces easy to find on your website.
- Use spell-check. Seriously.
- Check out these additional tips from MDPM, Modern Dental Practice Design, regarding the importance of your website design, and the most important elements that should be included on your site. MDPM specializes in creating websites for dental offices and they are a great example of the types of design companies that I referred to earlier.