So long, Websites. Hello Web Presence.

The call came in … again. “I need a website for my business, how much?” It’s a simple question with a complexed answer, much liking asking “I need a house, how much?”

The rest of the conversation goes something like this:

Me: “Do you need hosting? Do you need email?”

Prospect: “I’d like it to come up on the first page of Google.”

Me: “So, you want SEO (search engine optimization)? Will you be doing any ongoing writing, social media, public relations?”

Prospect: “No, I just want a website.”

Me: “Will you be doing Google adWords to drive business to the site and appear on the first page?”

Prospect: “No”, I just want to come up in the main page of Google.”

And, so the education of what it all means begins.

Websites are no longer websites, they are communication hubs. They are reached by a visitor going directly to the website or searching for it on the likes of Google and Bing. Once there, the website needs to load quickly, work on various browsers and devices.

But, how they “get there” has increased in complexity over the past year. Those trying to game Google through questionable black hat methods were close to being wiped out after Google released some tweaks (ok, 500 tweaks last year). Because a website and SEO are so closely connected, just having a website is no longer enough.

Here’s a great list of what the author calls “a short but comprehensive SEO checklist for launching a new website:” Even that is just the beginning. What about converting visitors into paying customers? What about analyzing visitor data to see what marketing is working and what is not? How about mobile websites? QR code campaigns, social media, video, web accessibility?

In today’s web world, there’s so much more to creating an online web presence than simply building a website that looks professional. You need to start with a plan that encompasses your total online presence, your website simply being a part of that plan. So long, websites, hello web presence.