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Heretical Idea – Do Small Businesses Need A Web Site??

I’ve been digging into what the contemporary Web means for small businesses a bit, and I’ve come to an interesting conclusion.

Most small businesses are probably wasting their money on their web presence.

I’m not talking about businesses that have sophisticated transactional capabilities on their site, or about businesses that engage customers with blogs or even meaningful catalogs.

But the typical small business website…like the one that my friend and physical therapist has looks like this:

…clearly isn’t doing the owner any good at all. I know; I checked.

If I search for the business by it’s specific name, the first and second results are the business site.

But if I search for it using local search, neither Yahoo nor Google registers the site.

Look closely.

Now the business hasn’t done anything to enhance or fill out its presence on Google or Yahoo (I’ve helped her fix that).

But like many small businesses, she put up a brochure site with decent seo structured into it – content and metatags

name=”keywords” content=”physical therapy rehabilitation program exercise health education information los angeles sports training, sports injury treatment, repetitive strain injury rsi symptom, thorasic thoracic outlet syndrome symptom treatment exercise for”

name=”description” content=”Body Language Physical Therapy rehabilitation treatment for sports injury repetive strain injury rsi and thorasic outlet syndrome”

(although the metatags didn’t include her location, which she needs to fix as well)

…and while paying a few hundred a year to have the site developed and hosted, she’s getting exactly – what? – benefit from it?

I’ll suggest that she’d be better off putting her money and energy into managing her presence on Google, Yahoo, Yelp, Citysearch,, and on targeted sites that cover her topic area. For $200 – 300/year, she could hire somone once a quarter for an hour to help her optimize her presence there.

In a world where she has the resources (time, skill and money) to create a truly engaging website, and keep it up – as well as patrticipate in communities that would be of interest to her potential patients – she ought to have a homepage to drive them to. The homepage allows her to present herself and her business in a way that will attract attention and build trust and reputation.

But how different would your perception of her be between the site she has and no site at all – but instead a fully fleshed-out site on Google Maps or Yahoo Local??