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It may seem like everyone is online these days, but somehow some businesses still don’t have websites. Your business might even be one of them.

If your business has gone this long without a website, you probably have your reasons. You may think you don’t have the money or you simply don’t need one. Neither of those is correct.

A website is a fundamental part of running a business in 2016 and many consumers won’t consider purchasing from a business if they can’t find information about them online. That’s true even for brick and mortar stores. In this connected age,people will even Google stores from their parking lot to make sure the trip inside will be worth their time.

Rapid Web Launch put together an infographic breaking down every reason you might have for not having a website and why it is wrong. I know you’ve gone this long without one and your business may be doing fine, but there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain by getting one set up today.

Check out the infographic below or at Rapid Web Launch.

NoWebsite

 Google-My-Business-Logo

As schools close and the temperatures soar across the country, it isn’t unusual for businesses to change their hours for the summer. It is especially common in tourist areas where shops often stay open longer to accommodate the longer days and increased store traffic.

If your business has special summer hours, now is the time to guarantee your business listing on Google shows your adjusted seasonal hours.

Today, Google launched a new initiative at gybo.com/summer to help businesses quickly check how their Google My Business listing is displaying, including whether they are currently open or closed.

Google says a recent survey of small businesses found 25% change their operating hours during summer, but only 1 percent of the businesses also adjusted their hours on Google My Business.

Considering recent studies have shown over half of all consumers use search to look for business hours, and even higher numbers use search to plan local purchases, having the wrong hours listed can be quite a big problem.

If you have special summer hours but haven’t updated your listing yet, be sure to update the listing in Google My Business. Be sure to set a reminder while you are at is so you remember to change the hours back again when fall arrives.

Google Mobile

Most reports have made Mobilegeddon out to be a farce with only a small effect on Google’s search results overall. New analysis from digital agency Koozai, however, suggests small and medium businesses (SMB) felt quite an impact when Google rolled out their mobile friendly algorithm.

According to Koozai’s May survey of 2,000 SMB’s with 50 or fewer employees, nearly half (46%) of all respondents reported experiencing changes in ranking. Of that group, 41 percent also saw a drop in rankings by at least three spots. This may not sound like much, but a drop in just one or two rankings can have huge impacts on traffic.

“The hype that the Google mobile update would cause carnage in the search engine rankings missed the larger picture,” says Ben Norman, chief executive (CEO) of Koozai. “Exaggerating the impact meant that businesses didn’t anticipate that even small changes in their ranking can have a big impact on their organic mobile search results.”

Norman says much of the confusion is due to the idea that a single algorithm is the deciding factor when determining ranking. Google uses over 200 different factors to rank pages on search results pages, but some were led to believe the mobile optimization would be the ultimate deciding factor. On the contrary, 27 percent of businesses in Koozai’s survey reported drops in rankings despite having optimized their sites for mobile.

This leads many business owners to feel like they are being punished after acting on Google’s warnings, which Norman says illustrates how frequently SMBs are poorly educated on SEO and fail to understand e-commerce analytics.

“Many consumers today will research on mobile and then purchase on desktop,” he says. “Many SMBs are missing out on these lead-creation opportunities if they don’t know if their e-commerce sites aren’t giving their potential customers a good experience on mobile.”

Of the businesses involved, 37 percent said they were worried the mobile friendly algorithm update would impact their sales while 44 percent said they were not concerned because the majority of their sales come from desktop shopping. Nearly half said they were unsure about the relationship between devices and could not say whether mobile influenced their desktop sales. In addition, 12 percent did not know whether their sites had been optimized for mobile at all.

There were predictions well before the release of the algorithm that small and medium businesses would be the most likely to be impacted by ‘Mobilegeddon’, but many reviews of the algorithm’s effects failed to consider the disparity in their post-Mobilegeddon analysis.

 Google-My-Business-Logo

If you run a local business and haven’t logged into Google My Business in a while you may be at risk of having Google unverify your listings, according to a statement from a Google representative today.

In a post on the Google and Your Business Help Forum, Google’s Jade Wang confirmed the news that the company has been contacting some Google My Business users that it considers to be inactive:

In some cases, we may contact Google My Business users via email to confirm that they are still actively managing a business page. If a user is unresponsive to our attempts to contact him or her and has not logged into Google My Business for a significant length of time, then we may unverify pages in the account. We’re doing this in order to continue to provide users with the best experience when they’re looking for local businesses like yours. If you find that a page in your account has been incorrectly unverified, please contact support to get assistance restoring verification.

The news was first brought to light by Brian Barwig of Integrated Digital Marketing, who posted a message today about a phone conversation he had with a Google support rep who told him that this may happen to accounts which are considered inactive for six months.

Mike Blumenthal has also shared the text of the email Google sends out to warn inactive accounts about being potentially unverified.

To help prevent this, Wang included some advice: “It’s a good idea to keep an eye on the inbox associated with your Google My Business (Locations) account. It’s also a good idea to regularly log into Google My Business (Locations) to confirm that your business information is current and accurate.”

Many small businesses are pretty cautious when it comes to investing the very limited amount of time and money they have into marketing, but a new survey shows the vast majority of small or medium businesses who use online marketing are glad they did.

BrightLocal’s annual SMB Internet Marketing Survey asked 736 businesses with 1-50 employees about their feelings and use of internet marketing, mobile marketing, and marketing services in October-November 2014.

Of those who responded to the survey, 95% were businesses located within North America (92% U.S.; 3% Canada).

how-effective-is-internet-marketing

When asked how effective each respondent felt internet marketing is at attracting new customers to their business, 32% said they found online marketing to be “very effective” (compared to 27% in 2013). Combined, 75% felt internet marketing is “effective” or “very effective” at attracting new customers (compared to 68% in 2013).

marketing-budget

The findings of the survey also show that many small businesses are still reaping significant rewards with internet marketing on a limited budget. The report says 70% of those who responded to the survey are spending less than $500 per month on marketing (compared to 73%), and 83% are spending less than $1,000 per month.

There are several other interesting findings in the study, but the overall message is clear. Online marketing is highly effective, even for businesses who don’t have extensive resources to put towards marketing.

Facebook-for-Small-BusinessIf you believe everything you read online, you might believe Facebook is only a viable marketing platform if you’re already a big brand. But, a new report suggests small businesses across the country recognize the potential in advertising themselves across the site.

The study from advertising research firm BIA/Kelsey says small businesses are marketing on social media more than any other form of advertising. Specifically, their data suggests nearly three-fourths of all small and medium-size businesses are investing in some form of social media marketing, whether it be paid advertising or organic outreach.

For small businesses, Facebook was easily the most popular choice for social media marketing. More than 55 percent of the businesses surveyed reported having a dedicated business Facebook page, and another 20 percent have run a Facebook ad or promoted post.

Many businesses showed that social media marketing doesn’t have to be restricted to just one platform, as several businesses also cited using other sites including LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter. Notably, the researchers did say LinkedIn is likely not being used for promotion but for recruiting and general HR purposes.

“We were impressed with the strength of the whole social media category, not just Facebook,” Steve Marshall, director of research for BIA/Kelsey, said in a statement.

The study, originally published on Business News Daily, was based on surveys of 546 small businesses with less than 100 employees.

local-businessToday’s local business owners are expected to know more than how to run a business. Without quality marketing, even a great business can get lost in the noise of their louder and more visible competition. Local business owners now have to understand the very basics of marketing, at the absolute least, or they have to find someone that does. However, marketing is anything but stable and new trends are constantly rising and receding, especially when it comes to online marketing.

This could be why so many local business owners refuse to finally claim their spot online, but studies have made it increasingly obvious that abstaining from online marketing hurts businesses in an increasingly connected world. Without SEO, PPC, social media, mobile optimization, and customer relationship platforms, there is little way for your business to make itself known, even with word of mouth to support it.

In fact, it is becoming increasingly true that users who can’t find your business online are more likely to move on than they are to continue their search in more traditional offline locations. If you’re a local business owner trying to nail down your portion of the market, you will need to be equipped with the basics for online marketing, but you’ll also have to keep up with the marketing trends that will decide your effectiveness.

Court Cunningham covered the three most important trends in local online marketing of the year. It is telling that Cunningham published her article in February, and each of the trends has only grown since then. More importantly, it seems none of the trends show any sign of slowing down. Cunningham’s advice can help you get ahead of your competition, and turn your modest online marketing strategies into powerhouse tools for success.