Viewpoint: Missing the boat on the World Wide Web

I can hardly believe it. It just doesn’t seem real. How can a business in this so-called digital age skirt by doing its day- to-day whatevers without a website?

Seriously, folks, it’s 2014.

When I research companies or industries, personally and/or professionally, for stories or in my own customer-driven interests, it’s the first place I look, online. I’m just curious like that. Scores of potential customers – and I’m going out on a real limb here – likely do the same. If you’re looking for a more concrete number, it’s more like 195 million consumers who are online. And you know what turns away my business faster? Not having a URL, or any web presence to speak of. Maybe it seems unprofessional. Maybe I just don’t want to look that hard for information.

It’s estimated that 52 percent of small business owners don’t have a website (Yokle, an Internet marketing company, did a study. The results were published last year). And if you haven’t updated your website since 2003, you’re not much better, in my opinion. What gives? Why are business owners missing the boat when it comes to the web? Is it daunting? Overwhelming? Outside their area of expertise? Too hard to maintain? Expensive in fear or theory? Feel free to let us know.

The numbers are much worse when it comes to social media, too. Only about 1 in 10 have figured out how to use the Facebooks, Twitters and Tumblers of the world

in order to market their products to a captive and engaged online audience (but don’t blog. Really, if you don’t have a website because it’s too time- consuming, what do you think a blog will be?).

A website is important to a business in so many ways. When done well, it lends credibility. It makes your business appear more legitimate, with it, in touch. So get online, people!

Moving on. With the Target mess, aren’t you glad for once we don’t have one in the Upper Cumberland (and for all you Mt. Juliet shoppers, shame!). News of the data breach gets worse and worse at every turn. I’ve received so many emails from the retailer, in fact, that I’ve stopped listening. There’s the latest offer for a years worth of credit protection, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

And then there’s politics – which this edition is chock full of. We’ve done our best to tackle the topic in a way no other publication can or will this year. I wish we could have included everybody, or at least touched on more races of significance, but it was a daunting enough task just collecting candidate information from all the 14 counties.

It was worth it, however, to see what an impact all these races will have on our region going forward. This is our future. From sheriff campaigns to those for U.S. Senate, most all will be contested. It could be an unprecedented year, and we will be following all the campaigns in the following weeks and months and beyond. Stay tuned.

 

Liz Engel Clark is the editor of the Upper Cumberland Business Journal. She can be reached at liz@ucbjournal.com.