Most companies today realize they need a presence on the web. In most industries now if you don’t have a web presence of some sort you won’t have a business for long. I know one company that stocks lots of rare items for their brick and motar store because on the web it sells across Canada and the US thus making it worth stocking. The problem I see with a number of business’s that get into the web is that they force their website to fail.
No the management doesn’t sit in the office and say “Let’s start a website and make sure it tanks and costs us needless money.” But they do sit there and decide to only go half way with solutions that rely on going all the way.
The biggest example I have worked with is a great retail store that I did a bunch of SEO work for. We were ranked 1 or 2 on the search engines for some very generic search terms. When you searched for manufacturers of goods we carried we were ranked just below the manufacturer. We were the first place you could actually buy the product.
The problem is that the web store had a huge limiting factor that meant despite all of the good SEO work they only saw a maximum of 20 orders completed in the busy months. I happend to also know that competitors were seeing ten times those web purchases without the good SEO during the slow months.
The reality was that it didn’t matter how good the SEO was for the company. With no way to let customer purchase online it was a waste of their money. Eventually I told them that. We talked about the limiting factors of the web store and came up with a range of options to help fix or totally fix the problem (ranging from 2,000 to 20,000 in price on a monthly in store sales of 250,000 in busy months) and they just simply weren’t willing to let their website succeed.
It’s all well and good to want a web presence but if you are going to jump into the web be willing to jump in with both feet. Don’t start a project only to do it half way and force the first half to fail. The conclusion to the above story is that they got me to stop working on SEO and now they’re on page 10 and still have a mostly non-functional online store.