Find Out Why Your Business' Online Presence Matters and How to Improve It
Whatever type of business you run, whether you are a fashion retailer or a gardener, your online presence counts. Not having at least some kind of presence online could be a massive hindrance to your company, but when done correctly, your online presence can be a huge asset to your business.
Why You Need a Website
Some business owners don’t believe that they need a website, or even to promote their business online at all. While your company may be well-established and you may have many loyal customers, you probably also want to continue attracting more customers and encouraging increased sales from your existing customers; having a website is a fantastic way of achieving this.
Think about it, when you are searching for a specific product or service, how do you go about researching it? Ninety-nine percent of the time the answer is going to be ‘I search online for it.’ Even if you receive a personal recommendation for a product or service from a friend, you will probably want to find out more about the company and take a look at their product range, to do this you will probably look online. So, whichever way you look at it, having a website has to be a good thing, and if you don’t have one you can be pretty sure that your competitors will!
A website is a perfect platform to build your brand. Your website should be a true reflection of your brand, and a way of cementing what your company does and what your brand stands for. Not sticking to a theme that is consistent with your branding could lead to confusion, and will also look a little unprofessional. You want customers and potential customers to build a relationship with your brand, and to do this; they need to understand who your business is and what it stands for.
To build your brand and reflect it on your website be sure to use the same logo, typically in the same placement as you would when you use it elsewhere, for example on your signage, leaflets, business cards, etc. Keeping your brand consistent will help to build familiarity and make your business distinctive and easily recognizable.
Your website is the ideal place to show your passion for your business and what you do, and to pass on some of that enthusiasm to anyone and everyone that visits your site.
Building a Great Website
Putting together a website to be proud of takes some work, but getting all the basics right will enable you to keep adding to it gradually by building up your content over time, without needing to redesign it further down the line.
A great website is one that captures the reader’s attention and makes them want to find out more and to explore further pages on the site. Both the look of your website and the content itself should make the reader warm to your brand and want to find out more about it. Think about the sites that you love to browse, what is that you like so much about them? Is the content interesting? Or, are the images lovely to look at? Thinking in this way doesn’t mean that you should copy what other website’s have already done, but it will give you an idea of what works, and help you to visualise better what you want your website to look like.
Your website is your opportunity to showcase your work, so you may want to include images of your most successful and impressive pieces of work, it can help to make this a varied selection so that potential customers can see all of the products or services that you provide. An ‘about us’ or ‘meet the team’ section is a popular addition to many websites and enables people to get to know you and your business and to understand more about what you do. This is your opportunity to let customers know about the passion you have for your business, how experienced you are, and the qualifications that you hold. Details like this help potential customers to see that you are not a faceless corporation, but are a real person running a business with the relevant qualifications, dedication, and enthusiasm for what they do.
A testimonials section is another popular addition to websites, and with good reason, as people love to hear about other people’s experiences with a company before committing themselves to purchasing from them. This is your chance to shout from the rooftops about the lovely things that customers have taken the time to say about your products or services.
Optimising Your Website
You could spend forever building a website that you love, but if it isn’t optimised, then very few people will see the results of all your hard work. Optimising your site means that you are adding all the recognised elements to make it search engine friendly and more likely to appear on the first page of Google and other search engines.
Search engine optimisation can be an incredibly time-consuming task, and also hard to get your head around. If you don’t have prior experience or knowledge of search engine optimisation, or the time and inclination to learn, it could be a good idea to use the services of a seo freelancer to help you out with this.
Website Mistakes to Avoid
As essential as a website is as a tool for building your brand and getting your business out there for potential customers to see, there are some factors to take into consideration. A bad website can be extremely damaging to a business. If your website looks unprofessional potential customers could be turned off of it straight away. To prevent this from happening, there are a few things you should take care to avoid.
First impressions count when it comes to websites, so make sure yours looks good. Take the time to proofread everything you add to your site, as spelling mistakes, grammar errors, and typos will make your business seem unprofessional.
You should always ensure that the content on your site is original and that you haven’t merely borrowed it from other websites, this will be truly embarrassing and damaging to your reputation when you get found out. You should also make sure that you use only your images, or ones that you have the correct permissions to use, as once again, this could potentially be damaging to your reputation, not to mention costly, if the owner of the images takes legal action against you
Take care not to copy the websites of your competitors or other similar businesses. Not only will copying make you look bad, but it will also seem like you are simply trying to emulate their business, rather than showing how great your business is in its own right and all that you have to offer.
Nowadays, there is no escape from social media so you may as well embrace it and use it for the benefit of your business. Social media is the new word of mouth and has the potential to help you reach many more people with your brand than you would with any other medium.
As with your website, your social media pages should be consistent with your brand. This not only applies to the look of your pages but also content. Your posts should reflect the tone of voice of your brand, and bring some personality to it that keeps people engaged. To grow your followers and to keep existing ones interested don’t forget to post regularly, at least once a day, and to monitor your social media channels for messages and comments from your followers, this will help ensure that you are offering the best service possible as well as building a relationship with them.
When posting on social media, you should always ensure that your content isn’t offensive and that it can’t be construed as inappropriate by your followers. Seeing how your followers react to your posts should give you an idea of what they find acceptable and the types of posts they respond to most. Just bear in mind that everyone’s sense of humour and opinions on things are different, so if you are in doubt about posting something then you may be best to avoid doing it to prevent damage to your reputation and a lot of angry comments and messages from your followers.
Building a successful online presence takes a lot of hard work, particularly managing several social media pages, so you may want to enlist some professional help with this in order to achieve the best results. Running successful social media pages takes dedication, and it is essential to post regularly to keep your followers interested in your brand.
Despite the hard work involved in establishing it and maintaining it, your online presence can grow to be one of your business’ most significant assets and the most effective promotional tool for retaining existing customers and attracting new ones.