8th Oct 2014
THE IMPORTANCE OF AN ONLINE PRESENCE FOR RURAL BUSINESSES – PART 1
Since we set up shop in Todmorden, a bustling market town on the Lancashire – West Yorkshire border, back in 2011, we’ve been honoured to work with all manner of exciting companies and ambitious entrepreneurs – just look at our portfolio and testimonial pages for a flavour of the projects we’ve been involved in.
We’ve seen many businesses flourish, even during the tough economic downturn, but it’s sad to say that boarded-up shop fronts and ‘closing down’ signs aren’t yet a thing of the past.
In our line of work it’s only natural that we would champion the benefits of promoting your business online, and with 2012 figures from the Boston Consulting Group that reckon a website can comparatively accelerate growth by four to eight times, it seems we’re not alone!
Many of Todmorden’s 15,000 or so inhabitants live, work and run their businesses in rural locations, outside of the town centre. For many that conjures up images of farming, and while Tod, Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd et al certainly boast their fair share of farms, in fact only 15% of the UK’s rural population works in agriculture.
A recent paper from Newcastle University argues that the Government is “missing a trick” by overlooking the diversity in rural business, and with around 20% of the UK population (that’s over 12m of us) living in areas officially classified as ‘rural’, you can see their point!
In 2012, web-giant Google teamed up with the Countryside Alliance to compile a list of Rural Digital Trailblazers, ranking areas where online entrepreneurs had done most to boost the local economy. While Google still supports rural businesses with touring Juice Bar sessions, the Trailblazers scheme sadly seems to have fizzled out.
We, however, believe there’s loads that rural and small town businesses can do online, to help grow visibility, broaden horizons, and increase traffic. Look out for the second part of this post where we’ll be answering questions like, ‘why do I need web design in Hebden Bridge?’ as well as exploring some of the free, online tools that can help promote your website once it’s gone ‘live’.