Lost Opportunities in Business

They just don't get it. The Internet is not a fad. I remember reading about the early days of the web. Even really large corporations chose to ignore the Internet altogether. These days, there are two types of corporations -- those that have made the Internet a part (or the whole) of their business and those that consider it a necessary evil. If there's a third kind, I don't know how they get by.

The web isn't just a place to put up a sign with contact information as many companies treat it. It's an interactive experience and a source of information. Some companies get it. I come across www-128.ibm.com all the time when I'm looking for software development help. There are many individuals earning a side income or even their entire income by publishing on the web. Many individual software consultants promote themselves heavily on the web.

So why is it I see so many small businesses with virtually nothing on their web site? Content is free advertising. If a single individual can can so effectively advertise themselves on their homepage, imagine what a small organization could do.

Let's say you sell shoes. You would probably need to advertise pretty heavily online to get the traffic you need to support your business. Now imagine you have a page rank of around two or so. You start writing articles about everything related to shoes and feet. Within a few years, you may have a page rank of 6 or 7. If you're really good, you might be in the top few search positions when someone types 'shoes' into google. How would you like to have that type of advertising? It costs nothing, and it keeps working even after you stop putting effort into it.

Suppose you're some type of small IT company with 10 employees. If everyone in the company wrote a page twice a month, that would be 240 pages a year. That's a book. In five years you'd have a series. It doesn't take up that much time. Suppose you spent three hours extremely frustrated one day trying to set some configuration options in Apache. If you're smart, you'll document how you got it working somewhere. If you're really smart, you'll post a short how-to on your web site. If you spent a few hours trying to get it to work, isn't it possibly a thousand other people are having the same problem? I can't tell you how many times I've had to search the web for half an hour before finding an obscure post somewhere that solves my problem. If you make a post, not only will you increase traffic, but you'll have easy to access documentation. I sometimes go back to my own tutorials because I forget things. One day you might be searching for something, and your own tutorial comes up in a search engine. Wouldn't that give you a warm feeling, fuzzy feeling?

You might chose to place ads on your site to bring in extra money. Within a year or two, your site might be paying enough to have a full time person manage and write content for it. The best thing to do is start. I'm tired of seeing so many small company web sites with lots of empty claims. Your web site is not a billboard or a business card; it's a resource. Treat it as one.