This is unedited version of first ADVENTURE CAPITALIST Column by U. Mahesh Prabhu published in April 2013 issue of BUSINESS GOA magazine.
Most enterprises these days have a website; but that’s not to believe that they take it seriously. Lack of earnestness is fundamentally due to ignorance about the opportunities a well-developed and designed website can offer.
In late nineties, when I started my career as an entrepreneur by founding one of India’s first real time web development company in Bangalore, there was hardly any market for websites. If – at all – we got a local client it was easy to explain him “rocket science” rather than making him to understand the idea of internet. Most of our clients found it hard to believe that they had to pay “handsome” money for something which was intangible.
“Where’s my website?”
“On the server, sir”
“Where’s the server?”
“It’s in US.”
“Who owns it?”
“So why do I pay you for something which is there with you and not me?!”
The marketer who could articulate his thoughts, and well, to answer such “imbecile” queries got the deal.
Websites were considered as an elite stuff then (something like having a BMW or, even, Rolls Royce) and rightly so owing to penetration of the internet. You needed shell or dial-up internet access account which offered speed less than 12kbps which is way too low than the current minimum speed offered by any ISP or, even, mobile service providers for that matter. Browsing internet for an hour would cost you nothing less than INR 700. Today you’d get unlimited internet for five times the speed.
Things began to change essentially after 2005. Mobile internet completely revolutionized the net and advent of smartphones took it completely to the next level. Not just techies but even kids, today, find it absolutely difficult to live without accessing internet for at least an hour a day.
There are more and more people over the internet – what this essentially means for business is a “whole lot of opportunity”. Consider this: how much would it cost to print 1,000 brochures and send it to your desired customers/clients? Internet, through websites, microsites, fan pages, etc. offers you the ability to reach millions for a faction of that cost. Provided you’ve got things in order.
Many don’t realize the potential offered by social networking sites like LinkedIn, Pinterest, Facebook and the like. Scores of organizations block them on their corporate/institutional networks with a belief that they aren’t worth it! But what they fail to note are the opportunities offered by these sites – provided they are utilized wisely and cleverly – to get you closer to their existing as well as future clients and/or customers.
Search engines, like Google and Bing, can offer you to get closer to your customers virtually free of cost. But for that that you need to ensure your websites are optimized for indexing. This process is popularly known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO). What it essentially means is that you modify your sites codes a bit with META tags in a way search engine crawler (nothing but a software which is designed to index millions of web pages – like a yellow pages – every day by search engines) finds it easy to index your site appropriately and place it on priority while its visitors ask for specific queries.
While these processes are essentially easier to handle – the trick is in choosing the right keywords. If you got a business in Goa offering finest dining opportunities you got to select your keywords smartly. If a prospective customer is searching for a “restaurant in Goa” and your site has a better ranking for “restaurant” only, then that may just not be worth it. Even if that may get your significant amount of traffic (read visitors) to your website – you may not be able to yield the kind of business you desire.
Once you’ve a website it’s important that you unleash its potential and don’t let it to rot. Provided you’ve hired the right SEO and SMM services firm your site will be the greatest marketing asset you’d ever have!
Columnist is founder and CEO of TECHNOVED a Goa based web and software consulting firm offering its services to clients across four continents.