Search marketing in the news…

Filed in Small Biz Marketing by Matt McGee on April 30, 2007 0 Comments

Search marketing has been a hot topic in “big media” in recent months, but even more so in the last week.

Elizabeth Holmes wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal last week (article link has expired, sorry) about how some small businesses are choosing not to bother with having a web site.

Many small businesses are bucking conventional wisdom and holding off on jumping online. The Internet, largely seen as a “must” for entrepreneurs, can be a competitive, fast-changing and costly environment that some view as more of a hassle than a help. While no one disputes that online marketing has leveled the playing field for small players looking to compete against larger deep-pocketed rivals, plenty of small businesses without Web sites also are flourishing — suggesting that being online isn’t always a prerequisite for success.

WSJ graphicIn the article, the National Small Business Association provides a stat that shows only 60% of small businesses in the U.S. have a web site. (see nice graphic at right) Money is mentioned as the primary reason some small biz’s are in the 40% with no online presence, and the article then throws out one surprising cost estimate from a small business owner in Pennsylvania: “…it would cost at least $1,000 a month to have the kind of site she wanted.”

Yikes. At my previous employer, where I did web design and development, our average small biz site ran between $1,000 and $2,500 for design and the first year of hosting. Commerce sites were usually at the high end of that, but we also did a few commerce sites for less than $1,500 from start to finish. (Here’s one and here’s another. The 2nd one uses Paypal, further reducing development costs.)

My experience in web design tells me that pricing is largely dependent on the market you’re in. We did some real nice work at my previous job, but because we were based in a small town, we had to charge small town rates — which were a fraction of what web development would cost in Seattle or Portland. In fact, in my last year or two on the job, we had a growing customer base of small businesses located in bigger cities who couldn’t afford their local rates, but they could afford ours.

Anyway, that’s just one article. Here are two others:

  1. Forbes: Condemned to Google Hell — talks about Google’s supplemental index
  2. Wall Street Journal: In Search of Traffic — URL is for WSJ subscribers only. The article is fairly basic in how it explains SEO and search marketing to small businesses.

The WSJ writer actually interviewed me for 90 minutes for that “In Search of Traffic” piece, and much of what we talked about is in the piece, yet I’m not quoted anywhere. Nice….

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