Wake up! It is the 21st century. In 2014 you have absolutely no excuse whatsoever not to have a nice website, no matter how small your business is. It’s the first thing your customers will look for when they are searching for your products or services.
Even if you have a minuscule budget you can still have a Grade-A, slick and professional-looking site. It is essential because your online presence now defines you. If you have a business or personal brand you need to have an online presence if you want to project any ounce of credibility.
A recent survey by Yodle revealed that 52% of all owners of small businesses do not have a website.
That is a scary and shocking statistic, especially in this day and age. This means that they are putting their own business at an immediate disadvantage and even worse, they are handing extra customers and profit on a plate to their competitors who have made the investment of getting a website built.
Your business has two choices to get online
If you are one of the 48% of small businesses that are lagging behind and haven’t got a website then you really only have two alternatives. To get your brand on the web you can either do it yourself or pay someone to do it for you.
There are lots of tools to help you with the DIY route. Building a website is not as hard or expensive as it used to be.
However, if you don’t have the time, the inclination or don’t have the ability to do it yourself then you can get one done again relatively cheaply depending on what features you have on it. You can either use a trusted service like ours to do this for you or search for another website creator.
Even if you are on a zero budget there are even some “free” options available to you. You could have a Tumblr or Blogger account, which is free and can be set up in a matter of minutes.
Whatever decision you choose, you really need to do it soon. There is no excuse for any business not to be online except either laziness, chronic procrastination or just plain ignorance or fear. If it is fear or you just don’t know how to do it, please contact us today as it is vital you get online as soon as possible.
Do the Google Test
Your business credibility is damaged if your company doesn’t appear when a potential customer does a search for your business. You were able to get away with it a decade ago when it was maybe an option not to have a website but today it is mandatory and essential to have your company name or brand appear in a domain name.
Do the Google experiment and see what appears when you Google your own name or business name.
Whatever activity or information appears tells your customers a lot, even if it is nothing at all.
The other aspect that the Yodel survey revealed was that online advertising was only used by 12% of small businesses.
In a time when it has never been easier for businesses to advertise to a highly targeted audience such as Facebook advertising, it shows that many small businesses are struggling to reinvent themselves in a digital world and they need assistance.
Hopefully, in this article, we can help you get on the right path so that you can establish a strong online presence.
So what are the essentials?
If you don’t have a blog or website or need to improve your online brand, here are some essentials that you need to consider optimizing, improving or just plain doing immediately!
Create a compelling “About us” page
This page is one of the most visited pages on your website. It often ranks as the second most visited page on a website or blog after the homepage. At a glance, your homepage should make it easy for people to know what you’re about when they land.
When your visitors visit your “about us” page it should provide comprehensive reasons why people should contact, view your content or buy from you. If you are an authority in your chosen field then this is the place where you should shine and highlight the awards you have won, the clients you work with and any press cuttings or third-party references.
Stand Out From the Crowd
It is easy to get lost in a sea of noise on the Internet so you need to know how to stand out in a crowd and get your message heard. To do this you have to consider a brand name, design and a distinct “voice” that cuts through the clutter and noise. Again you can do it yourself or get professional help from a company that will help you to set up an effective online marketing campaign.
Another way you can stand out is with a professional and nicely designed website web that looks distinctive and unlike anybody else’s because of the branding and the logos.
Designed for the social web
Installing obvious social media sharing buttons that allow people to share content, images and information about your products and services while reading your content is now fundamental to your web design.
The more prominent the sharing buttons, the faster the word will spread about your site, resulting in more customers.
Encourage Visitors To Subscribe to Your Mailing List
Building your own mailing list is vital to your business. The more visitors you encourage to subscribe to your mailing list, the easier it will be to convert them into paying customers. Have an opt-in form on every page of your site.
Make your site interesting and engaging
It is vital to have content on your site that is easy to read, view and consume. As well as being interesting, it also needs to add value to your website visitors’ lives and business. This means it has to be well structured and filled with anecdotes, stories and statistics and solve problems that your visitors might be experiencing.
In addition, your website should include content such as
- PDF Reports
- Regular blog posts
- Cheat sheets
- ‘How-to’ guides
You have a lot of competition so if you can add any credibility to your site then you should show it off.
- Books you have written
- Publications you have appeared in or have been quoted in
- Awards you have won
- Social proof that displays how many people are sharing your content and following you on social networks
- The customers and companies you have worked for
Optimized for search engines
There are many websites that have awesome designs and obviously cost a lot of money but they have one fatal flaw; they aren’t built for “Googling’. It means that the keywords and phrases that potential customers use to find your goods and services are missing or are buried so deep in the website code that search engine crawlers can’t index your site. Without the help of search engines, your website might as well now exist.
So make sure that before you design and develop your website or blog that the top 20 to 50 phrases you want to rank for are included. Try to think what words and phrases your ideal client would be searching for if they were trying to find your website but didn’t know your name.
Have Products and services to sell
Bloggers and website owners need to have products and services to sell. Otherwise, what is the point of creating great content and driving traffic to your site? Making sure that your visitors don’t have to search around your site to find out what you are trying to promote.
Built for mobile
The way that the general public has embraced smartphones and tablets have caught many online businesses off guard. There is a mad scramble to design blogs, websites and apps that make it easy for potential customers to view, use and buy on a mobile device.
In some industry sectors, up to 50% of traffic is now coming from smartphones and tablets. If your customers use mobile devices you really need to make your website mobile friendly, it is a must!