Good Web design can mean good business

The Web site for Sophia Brodsky’s day spa in Philadelphia, the Body Klinic, was pretty rudimentary until a college student walked into the spa a little more than two years ago with an irresistible offer.

As she tells it, the student, Nathaniel Stevens, said that for $10 he would take her existing site and redesign it to drive traffic to her salon. If she got more business, they agreed, he would get additional money. Brodsky, a Russian immigrant, whose interests run more to cranberry facials than the Internet, thought why not.

Brodsky now maintains three Web sites and estimates that they have brought in thousands of dollars in business. “Now,” she said, “people are coming to my Web site daily.”

But small business owners like Brodsky who have a Web presence are still a minority. In its first survey of small business Web sites last April, Jupiter Research found that just 36 percent of all businesses with fewer than 100 employees had a Web presence.

Still, the Web as an alternative yellow pages is drawing increased attention. The Kelsey Group, a market research company in Princeton, New Jersey, estimates that sales revenue from Internet Yellow Pages and wireless and other searches will increase to $13 billion in 2010 from $3.4 billion in 2005.

Those small business owners who venture online say the experience is generally worth it, though the learning curve may be steep.

Recognizing this, online advertising companies with names like Yodle, Weblistic, Webvisible and ReachLocal are springing up to help manage the sites.

For More Read:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/13/technology/13iht-sbiz.4.10022147.html?_r=1&scp=13&sq=web%20design&st=Search

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