“If the headline is big enough, it makes the news big enough” – a memorable line delivered by the fictitious newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane in the cinematic masterpiece Citizen Kane. It’s a bold sentiment that can be applied across life’s many platforms. However, I find it’s truth to be particularly relevant when thinking about the role a strong website can play in the small business landscape.

It’s that idea of making your brand look bigger than what it actually is that I find so interesting. It’s a thought that’s always kind of been in the back of my head, but it took a film from 1941 to make it really jump to the front. It’s something that small business owners often face in everyday marketing – you of course know you’re legit; you just have to convince your audience that you’re legit as well.

The way of doing that in today’s digital-centric landscape: a well-designed, well-written, easy-to-use website.

As pointed out by Nicholas Carr in his recent book The Big Switch (which I strongly recommend), companies such as Craigslist and PlentyOfFish serve thousands upon thousands of people on a daily basis. And that makes sense because they’re big companies, right? Not so much.

At the time of Carr’s publication, the companies were 22 employees and 1 employee, respectively speaking. I thought this was pretty amazing considering these are two very well-known, web-based companies. While their sites are not design-focused, their structures were built for usability, making them popular choices for their intended markets. What started small has now evolved into two significant players. I’m sure that’s something you wouldn’t mind as a small business owner.

I guess the takeaway is fairly simple: a strong web presence is getting more and more essential. The web is allowing for a bigger, more impressive “storefront”, giving the smallest companies an equal voice on a national, even global scale.

Thanks for reading (and sorry for the delay in the first post).

The writerly half,

Jon

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