When business owner Duane Draughon launched his landscaping company’s website six years ago, he and his associates didn’t put too much thought into what they were developing.
“We started with a basic page site, posted pictures, put up some ‘about us’ info and let it rip,” Draughon explains, before adding, “no one called the site and it was really just a waste.” Despite this failed attempt, Draughon and his cohorts understood that developing a successful website was becoming increasingly essential to a small business’s success. So, when the company revisited the web venture a year later, they decided to up their efforts.
“We hired a company and let them go to work,” Draughon told MainStreet. “They came up with a great design layout and they also had no out limits, meaning we had no rules on how many pages or changes [we made] as long as we paid the monthly fee.”
Five years later, Paverstone Design Group’s website gets more than 300 visitors a day. Following its website’s redesign, the construction company has been featured in local papers and on CNN. “Eighty-five percent of our business comes from the site,” Draughon says. “It’s like we’re bigger than our market, because now we’re getting calls to work in other states.”
Draughon’s story highlights what a successful website can do (or not do) for a small business. Establishing a web presence is important because consumers consistently rely on the Internet to cut out the middle man. Popping up first or second when a user is searching for a specific service (or product) can net more business than a word-of-mouth recommendation or expensive marketing campaign. However, you can’t take advantage of the World Wide Web by simply buying a domain name and attaching some content to it.
“The Internet is getting more competitive everyday and search engines like Google are constantly advancing, creating increasingly sophisticated ways to index and rank the Web,” Brenda Rowe, media relations coordinator of SiteSell Inc., tells MainStreet. “More than ever it is essential to create original, high-quality content to generate and sustain that free traffic.”