In recent years, the internet has continued to find its way into every facet of our lives. The digital revolution has changed everything from the way we interact through social networking, to the way we work with our healthcare providers, and even to the way we market our businesses through web domain providers like those offered through Bob Parsons’ GoDaddy. As the internet evolves to continue to meet our needs, it certainly feels as though the whole world is online. But is this, in fact the case?
Although America is known as "the land of opportunity", closer inspection reveals that digital "opportunities" may only extended to those in larger, urbanized areas. For a time, cheap web access through phone lines was able to keep the playing ground fairly even, providing internet service for millions across the nation. Now, however, with the boom in high-speed connections, many rural areas are being left behind. The majority of cable companies able to provide high-speed connections have limited their services only to larger populations, and those that serve rural communities require pricey contracts.
Does this mean that America's rural population has been cut off by the "digital divide”? With the internet spanning across global marketplaces, a business's online presence should truly be the great equalizer between national and worldwide competitors; rural businesses should be no exception. Regardless of the fact that internet service may be somewhat limited in these less densely populated areas, there is no reason for organizations to not make their presence known online.
The fact of the matter is that in today's world, if a business is not on the internet, it almost doesn’t exist. Sure, small town Mom & Pop shops will likely enjoy a steady stream of business from the locals, but the internet makes it possible for even the smallest of operations to expand their consumer base exponentially. You don't have to know how to build your own website from scratch to make yourself known to the masses, either. It was because of a desire to help companies get themselves online that Bob Parsons and other online entrepreneurs developed web hosting sites. These web hosts allow you to build a site that reflects your business's personality and provide quality content to a world of internet consumers.
Unfortunately, in spite of the fact that the world is at our fingertips via the internet, there are still those rural shopkeepers hesitant to take the plunge into online business marketing. With the disadvantage of slower internet connections and less online connectivity experience, the thought of taking a company online can be overwhelming. But because the internet is not going anywhere – except up - it's imperative that rural businesses put their fears and anxieties aside, lest they become irrelevant.
Successful entrepreneurs like Bob Parsons all believe in stepping outside of one's comfort zone to succeed. Ultimately, businesses - even rural businesses - can never be allowed to stop improving or moving forward, no matter how hard it may seem. As noted by the Japanese concept of Kaizen: small daily improvements will eventually yield big advantages.
So are rural areas being left behind in the digital revolution? Only time and the willingness of rural businesses owners to keep up with technology will tell.