I thought it was really nice to get a mention by Elizabeth Holmes in her article “Going Online Isn’t a ‘Must’ Move For All Entrepreneurs in the Wall Street Journal last week. I believe that many companies definitely jump in the wrong end of the pool sometimes. I guess one thing I’d add to her article is to explain the risk of not having control of the search listings for your business’ name. This is a major downside to not having a site, and often business owners find out that the first listing for their business is an irate customer with a popular blog.
As I’ve said before, if there’s any reason to have at least a small site, it would be to hold on to a listing for your own name, and to have something to link your free local listings to. If you plan to start out in ECommerce, good testing of your idea can be done through pay-per-click marketing even before you start your site development through deployment of banks of landing pages. You can determine demand through click-through, and then take orders via the phone, or with a simple setup such as Google Checkout’s buy-now button. I always suggest that you ease into it, but think long-term.Â Don’t make any assumptions about what will work… test everything!