One of my clients recently wrote the following recommendation for my services:
I am investing in Jonny’s expert SEO skills, because I am confident that he will ensure my site is an active business generating tool, not just a stagnant listing. Not to do so would cost me more; it is a no-brainer.
In my 10 years providing WordPress SEO services in Ireland, time and again I’ve been challenged to justify the costs of SEO management. The underlying assumption of business website owners is this. Hire a designer, build a website, get some SEO and voila, dominant market share in Google. This idealistic expectation can only lead to disappointment and finger-pointing. That’s where the blame-game starts.
Last post, I explored the landscape for small business websites in Ireland. While Irish SME activity is on the up, the number of new Irish business websites is proportionally in decline. I want to examine what holds businesses back from investing in their website welfare. My hypothesis is that business owners long-finger doing their website or investing in the website’s evolution as it is considered a time-suck, a nice-to-have rather than a priority item on the to-do list. There’s an irrational bias away from spending time and money on a website as it is deemed a distraction and a liability-in-the-making. Not only can it absorb resources, if mismanaged, can potentially be damaging to the brand as a customer-facing shop-window. Rather have nothing on display than have something that portrays the business in a bad light due to technical error, design flaws, digital decay or out-of-date content. I am sympathetic to this argument. Websites can be a quagmire and once you jump in, you can quickly find yourself coming unstuck. But the cost of doing nothing is far greater. Better to try and fail than never try at all. If you’re not trying, you can be certain your competitors are or will be, and a business standing still is a business destined for failure.
Money is not the barrier to entry, either the cost of getting and staying online, or the savings of not having a website. Mindset is the limiting factor. We all fear getting lost and the web is a maze. We are born survivors, protective of our comfort zones and naturally defensive of threats, and until we master the internet, we are enslaved by it, chained back from achieving our potential. The thrust of this post’s argument is this; Embrace the internet and this once perceived enemy can become your best friend and your greatest ally. Your reservations about websites are not unfounded. Resolving to have and to hold a website takes determination and staying power, and as with all good relationships, what you receive in return is proportional to what you sacrifice. A website is the gift that keeps on giving, working night and day, working in your sleep. The take-away is that the decision pays off, the long-term gains far outweigh any short-term pains.
You needn’t feel resigned to your life sentence when you decide to get your business online. It’s liberating. Especially when you let go and stop trying to do it all yourself. You can’t. Let the WordPress webmasters take care of it for you. Delegation is the hallmark of successful business people. You don’t need to be good at everything, but rather recognise and reward those who are the best at what they do for you. There’s a glaring opportunity for small Irish businesses up and down the country of Ireland to showcase themselves online, not to build it and they will come, but keep doing what you do and in the meantime let your customers come to you.