More than 80% of Americans now have a computer in their homes, and of those, almost 92% have internet access, according to a detailed study on home internet access from The Nielsen Company, which reports that this number is up from 77.9%  one year earlier. It is estimated that 87.5% of Internet users age 14 and over will browse or research products online this year. Of that group, 83% will make a purchase online. That equals 148.1 million online buyers in the United States in 2011.

Yet, according to a Webvisible/Nielsen Online survey, only 56% of businesses even have a website! And Dreamhost has data that shows that, only 26% of those are offering some form of ecommerce. Hiscox, a small business insurance company, recently published a survey that showed that 47% of businesses are still not using any form of social media. Seriously?!! And you wonder why your business is struggling in these economic times?

To complicate matters more, a large number of websites lack credibility. In an effort to save money, many businesses attempt to do-it-themselves or they hire a relative or student. They are produced by people with little experience in what makes a website work. Often the information about products and services is sparse or generic. But information is critical to most people making purchase decisions! Informed customers make the best customers. You need to arm your customers with all the reasons why your products are the best and why they should do business with you. And then you need to give them a way to actually pay for your products and services.