« Continue Browsing

e-mail article Print     e-mail article E-mail

Dave Olson, Published March 19 2014

Google exec: Web presence key to small business growth

FARGO – Almost 60 percent of small businesses in the United States do not have a website.

Some have no online presence at all.

That’s too bad, according to Soo Young Kim, who told a Fargo audience Wednesday that in the next three years, small businesses that do have a Web presence are expected to grow 40 percent faster than those that don’t.

“Customers are literally around the corner and mobile (devices) will get them in the door,” said Kim, who is head of marketing for Google’s Get Your Business Online program.

Speaking at the Small Business Innovations Action Summit at Fargo’s Hilton Garden Inn, Kim said compared with years past, creating a website nowadays takes very little time or expense.

She said she did an experiment recently where she went online to create a business website. As her example, she used the dry cleaning store her parents operated when she was growing up in New Jersey.

“It took me just under an hour. So, getting online is not hard,” Kim said, adding that Google’s Get Your Business Online program has a website that makes it “fast, easy and free” for an enterprise to create a presence on the Web.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., also spoke at the summit, stating that going forward, it will be critical for small businesses to use the Internet to let the world know how to find them.

“The new word of mouth, the new Yellow Pages, is the Internet. And if you’re not there your business doesn’t have a great opportunity to thrive, or even survive,” Heitkamp said.

Kim agreed.

“If we know that 97 percent of Internet users are looking for local products and services online and the number of mobile (device) users is going to surpass desktop users this year, you know that people are using technology,” Kim said.

She said that in designing a website it is important for businesses to keep several do’s and don’ts in mind.

Kim said websites should let visitors know very clearly what the business is about and provide guidance and direction on how to interact with the company.

Once up and running, Kim said businesses shouldn’t neglect their website.

“Keep the content fresh,” she said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555