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Ugly Dog Media provides comprehensive web design and content development services for businesses throughout Northern Indiana and Southwest Michigan.

What is the role of a website for a local business?

A multi-national corporation will use its website to get attention globally. Sites involved with e-commerce will have sophisticated back end work to manage the site. What then is needed for a local business that focuses on walk-in customers that are already known to the business. Surely, some may think, a web site for such a business is superfluous.

Or is it?

At Ugly Dog Media we have written content and designed websites of all types. The purpose and use of web sites vary dramatically. We have found that smaller scale businesses with a locally oriented clientele can sometimes under-estimate the value and importance of a web site. So why should a small, local, retail oriented business utilize a web site when most of their business is walk-in and their clientele familiar? Well, let’s start with the basics.

One principle of marketing and advertising is that you want to be in front of your customers and prospects. So, where do people spend their time? Many still spend time in cars – making billboards a viable way of getting exposure for your business. But profound shifts have happened elsewhere – such as where people get their news and information. Newspapers have suffered considerably as more people get news from the web. Since people spend time on-line, you will not be in front of your customers unless you, too, are there. For this reason, a web presence, even if you are not a web-based business, is no longer optional.

Understanding what your website does for your business

Of course there are many ways to maintain an on-line presence and the growth in social media has expanded the options. But a website remains your on-line ‘home-base’. There are so many ways to have a presence on the web – advertising, social media, mapping software – that many businesses plug into any one of these outlets, such as Facebook, and think they have it covered. But this approach will not keep you competitive. It is better to think of the web as an eco-system and your website is your home base in this dynamic and rapidly evolving eco-system.

A web site holds your social media and on-line presence together. It’s your on-line billboard and more. People expect to have easy access to information on-demand, so you need to be sure that your website provides this. In this respect, creating a web site is like putting a sign on your store front and listing your business in the yellow pages. You just have to do it, providing customers and prospects with one place to go to find what they need to know about your business.

To fill this role, your website needs to provide basic information such as hours of operation, location and contact information. These are the bare-bones minimum. The secondary function of your website is to create an identity for your business. This provides the kind of associations you want your customers to have when they think of you. Photos, written content and your web site design all contribute to this identity.

Are you a family business? Pictures of family members or a brief history of the company will underscore this identity. Your website provides a great occasion to tell your story. Personalize your business and your employees to strengthen your ties with your customers. Content is important but need not be elaborate. Don’t skimp on the quality of your written content. Remember, you are creating an identity for your enterprise and poorly written content will convey the wrong message.

It is true that the use of social media is growing, so you can utilize twitter and facebook to make your on-line presence more dynamic. But be sure to always refer back to your web page. Remember, your web page is your home base or the foundation of your business’s on-line presence. Whether you are providing the nuts and bolts of your operating info or telling the story behind your business, even small, local businesses need to create and maintain a well-conceived web site.

Ugly Dog Media brings its global marketing experience to the local community, helping Michiana businesses market to the local community and beyond. 

Tel: 1-574-344-2056   Email: