I love this cartoon from Hubspot, one of my favourite social media websites. I love it because it’s so true. I’ve worked on a few websites recently for companies who have relied on the Yellow Pages and other printed directories for years. Those marketing routes used to work for them … but now they find that their competitors are doing more business – and guess what, those competitors have websites!
Yellow Pages et al won’t admit what’s happening. You know the yellow book that dropped through your letterbox the other week … the one that’s smaller and thinner than in previous years? The publisher will have you know that it’s a new handy size, pocket size, more manageable, more convenient to use – when in fact the simple truth is that it gets smaller every year because more and more businesses realise that it’s just not worth their money any more.
See, people who have computers don’t tend to use the Yellow Pages any more. They don’t even really use the online version, Yell. When they want a service they google for “web designer oxfordshire” or “bookkeeper london” or cake shop bradford” and see what comes up. Those businesses that have a website and are reasonably high on Google will get a shot at the gig. If they’re listed in Google Places, so much the better, because they’ll get a listing further up the screen. The Yell page for those types of business might come up and you might give it a cursory glance and perhaps follow a link to someone’s website from there – but businesses that don’t have web links are likely to be ignored. Which means it is really important these days to have a website, however basic.
You could build your own site – Google offers free websites, as does BT and other suppliers. However, your site is likely to look fairly amateurish and certainly won’t show your professional products or services in a good light. A better option is to use a CMS (content management system) like WordPress, which uses themes to create simple yet good looking websites that are flexible, adaptable and easy to use. Better still, speak to someone like me, who specialises in low cost web design using WordPress, and I can build you a site and show you how to update it yourself.
The offline directories are losing out on business … don’t let your business lose out too!