Over the past 2+ years (since Hymel Law's humble beginnings), I've counseled and represented over 20 clients through their small business needs. And clients have come by word-of-mouth referral only, but you know what...
I'm ready to grow. So pop the champagne for the launch of my new website here at www.hymellaw.com
For those who don't know the firm yet, Hymel Law is a law firm committed to small businesses - getting them started, keeping them strong while they grow, and facilitating peaceful terminations when they're done.
And now, I'm taking things to the next level by working harder on Hymel Law's digital presence, as any small business should. And since I am in the business of small businesses, I thought this might be the perfect time to share some valuable small business insight.
Are you ready for it?
Here you go...
You need a website.
As a Houston business formation attorney, I will shout from the rooftops time and time again that it is important for a new business to have its accountant and lawyer in place first. But your website is an essential step in the formation process. During my research regarding small businesses and their websites, I was shocked to discover how many small business still haven't made the leap into an online marketplace. And this piece of advice holds whether you are shop selling products, a musician touting your music, or an artist displaying your work!
One web design agency, called Espresso.digital, published several statistics regarding small business websites (updated October 2017) [link to article]. I found these most interesting.
1. Over one quarter (29%) of small businesses do not have a website (down from nearly half in 2016)
As a Houston business lawyer, this shocked me. Our last census (in 2010) revealed that, of the 122,517 businesses in the Greater Houston Area, 119,005 of them are small businesses. Statistically, then, 39,668 small businesses in Houston do not have a website. We live in an increasingly digital age. If you don't exist online, you might not exist at all to the general public. Houston has a population of roughly 2.3 million people, and roughly 1.3 million people are between the ages of 15 and 65 (i.e. Googling age). This means almost FORTY THOUSAND companies are failing to reach roughly 1.3 million people.
2. According to Google, the majority of searches come from mobile devices, even if a desktop is available
This did not shock me. I find myself guilty of falling into this statistic time and time again. What does this mean for your small business? You need your website to be compatible with mobile devices. And if you have a brick and mortar shop - you need to be registered with Google. If people are looking on their phones, it's because they want to capitalize on their phones' location to find a vendor nearby.
3. 23% of small business websites get updated less than once a year
I was unsure how to feel about this statistic. Questions that came to mind: Does it need to be updated more than once per year? Why update it once it's done? What constitutes an update? So, I began the research. Regular updates (in the form of blog posts, updating online store content, adding client referrals) are good for SEO, good for social media, and are a sign to users that your business is alive and active. How regular is regular? That depends on your industry. A blog website may update more frequently than a law firm website. Know your industry. For more information visit this link on how often you should update your website.
4. 70% of small business websites have no call to action & 68% don't have an email address on the homepage
If you have taken the step to publish a website for your company, make sure people know how to contact you through that website! Put your email address and a phone number on the page. Maybe even at the top. And please include a call to action. This is a marketing term of art that means a button that requests the user to do something like subscribe, call now (on a mobile website this could link to the users phone and fill in your phone number), or get in touch.
<-- Here is Hymel Law's call to action. Go ahead. Click it. You know you want to.
5. According to Google's 2016 data, 68% of consumers who conduct local searches on their smartphone go to a store within 24 hours, and nearly 50% make a purchase within a day
I'm just going to leave this statistic right here for my brick and mortar business readers. It speaks for itself.
6. Of the small businesses that have websites, 69% of them have annual sales of $1,000,000- $2,490,000
69% is a large statistic! Going back to the Houston census data in item 1, this means over 82,000 small businesses have annual sales over $1,000,000 (please read in Dr. Evil voice). If only all small businesses could be so prosperous. I find myself wondering how the lack of call to action may be affecting the other 31% of small businesses. I also find myself wondering if this includes Houston small business lawyers.... hmmm.
The Moral of the Story: GET ONLINE!
Many companies should also consider hiring an expert to design/maintain their websites. If a call to action felt like foreign language terminology then so will all of the keyword research that goes into optimizing your SEO. The written content on your website should work hard to enhance your brand, and it can't work half as hard if it doesn't contain the keywords best suited to your business. Market research and keyword optimization are an entire industry. Your website is an ecosystem - let the professionals handle it.
For Hymel Law, this website launch represents a relaunch, which may or may not be a good idea for your company as well. A relaunch can be a great way to boost interest, to take advantage of new website tech, and to show off some new branding. But before you take that step, consider what you may be giving up: your current SEO strength (e.g. how high you rank in searches, your traffic volume, how well your current website ranks as an authority in your subject area). If these are lower than you'd like, a relaunch could be just the thing, but if you've already put your hard earned money and scarce time into building a strong SEO presence, consider a redesign instead of a relaunch. And even in a redesign, be careful to maintain your links and SEO strength. For more information visit: https://moz.com/blog/10-things-relaunch-your-website.
As a final take away, please remember Hymel Law cares about more than just your company's legal strength. I care about your company and your most mundane business questions, as all of the best business lawyers in Houston should. Get in touch and let me know how Hymel Law can help. You can also join the Hymel Law Instagram community for tips & inspiration and to meet other small business owners.