This is a question that many online businesses ponder. The answer is simple – yesterday! Times have changed, and the future of commerce is going to be online – or rather the future of commerce will be initiated online. I have the Yellow Pages delivered to my house, and invariably it goes straight into the recycle bin. I do not get a newspaper delivered – I read my news online. I do not watch TV on a TV – I watch it online. When I want to go on vacation – I do not go to a travel agent’s office, I book it online. I may seem like a strange creature to you – but I am just one of millions of individuals whose life is moving (or moved) from offline to online.

Let’s imagine there are 100 people who are looking for a service you provide. 50% of the people use the offline methods to find businesses – and 50% use search engines. If you are not optimized, 50% of these people will never find you. The other 50% will only find you if they find you.  The 50% who prefer offline searching numbers are shrinking gradually. If we fast forward a year, the percentage of people who search offline may have shrunk to 45% — and the number of people who will never find you online has grown to 55%. We can continue this process of gradual erosion of traditional offline searching, and the increase of online searching until a Rubicon moment occurs – and no potential customers will ever find you without your site being optimized.

Once upon a time – if you didn’t have advert in the phone book you would never be exposed to the majority of people looking for a goods and services. In 2010 and moving forward – unless your site is effectively optimized to gain search engine traffic you are missing the boat, and your potential customers are going elsewhere to spend their money.

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