The Increasingly Competitive Landscape of Business Webpages

March 08, 2017 by Alex Collins, IT Services Consultant

The last time you could afford to run a business without putting up a website to promote it, Seinfeld had just gone off the air. A business lacking a web presence today is nearly as questionable as Jerry Seinfeld's puffy shirt, and nowadays you don't even have the excuse of an annoying girlfriend to explain the absence of one.

A majority of small businesses have an established web presence, with at least half of the rest already planning to go online in the near future. Businesses that don't fall in either category may run the risk of ceding high ground to their competitors. Here's how.

business webpages are fundamentalOnline Presence: Use It or Lose It

Let's assume you don't have an online presence yet. With most of your prospects hitting Google first to search for products like yours, your website-less business loses by default to online competitors offering similar products to yours. They show up in Google search results; you don't.

Speaking of Google, their own research on local searches discovered that 50 percent of consumers who searched on their smartphones for local businesses hit the stores within a day. If you don't have an online presence, you obviously miss out on these visits.

And the lack of online engagement will certainly cost you over time. In a three-year period, a study by the Boston Consulting Group found that SMEs with high web activity hit revenue growth figures up to 22 percent higher than their low-to-no-web competitors.

How Newcomers can Beat the Odds

The web is getting increasingly crowded and competitive: over a hundred new domains are registered every minute. Luckily, even newcomers can take advantage of powerful tools and techniques to help even the odds.

Take search engine optimization (SEO): it refers to a broad category of strategies to game Google search results to drive web traffic to your website. Websites strive to own a search term (say, “best graphics laptop” when you're in the business of selling computers), to appear on the first or second page of a Google search result for that search term, raising the chances that the next click takes users to their site.

Luckily for new website owners, the race is not always to the swift or the battle to the strong where SEO is concerned.

“SEO is no longer about sheer volume. It’s not about who’s been on the web the longest, who has the most inbound links, or even who has the biggest library of great content,” writes AudienceBloom founder and CEO Jayson Demers. “It’s about which page or website is the most relevant for the searcher.”

Leapfrogging the Competition with Ecommerce

business webpages can attract customersEcommerce represents another opportunity for businesses to leapfrog ahead of their competitors. There's plenty of room for growth in ecommerce: only a fourth of SMEs report using their website to sell their products and services, according to the May 2015 SurePayroll Small Business Scorecard.

In the meantime, the number of consumers using the web for both decision-making and finalizing purchases has skyrocketed. “The number of online shoppers has increased sharply within the past few years,” Hubspot's Ted Ammon explains. “Just three years ago, 36% of American shoppers completed their holiday shopping online. Last Christmas, that number jumped to 61%.”

That number won't be doubling back on itself anytime soon, as users become more accustomed to ecommerce on their mobile devices. (As of June 2016, smartphones now edge out computers as a source for web-shopping traffic, reports a study from ecommerce software provider Demandware.)

If you don't have a website – and if you don't offer your customers a way to buy your products or services online – the win goes by default to competitors who do.

Trusted Web Development Partner

If you're only getting your feet wet with a web presence – and even if you've got an existing website that you'd like to optimize for search and ecommerce – you'll need a partner to help you make sense of the constantly shifting online landscape.

All Covered's Web Development Services can help you stay ahead of the learning curve. With our team of web development experts on your side, you can determine the best way forward for your website and deploy a web solution within a shorter timeframe than you could ever hope for on your own.

For a look at our portfolio of clients' websites – and for a closer look at our team's experience, present capabilities and list of services – visit our Web Development Services page.