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 miniscule 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 small business owners 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 part of the 48% of small businesses who 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 are 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 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 business.
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 just need to improve your online brand, here are some essentials that you should consider optimizing, improving or just do immediately!
1. 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 them with reasons why they should contact you, 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.
2. 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 who will help you to set up an effective online marketing campaign.
Another way you can stand out is with a professional and nicely designed web site web that looks distinctive and unlike anybody else’s because of the branding and the logos.
3. Designed for the social web
Install 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.
4. 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.
5. 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 businesses. 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:
Regular blog posts
6. Visible credibility
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 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
7. Optimized for search engines
There are many websites have an awesome design 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 the search engines your website might as well not 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.
8. 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.
9. Built for mobile
The way that the general public has embraced Smartphones and tablets has 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.
10. Take action today
If you still don’t have a website or you think it needs updating, take action and call us today. We can help. Whatever investment you choose to make will more than pay for itself in increased profits and revenue. We are experts and deliver amazing results. We hope to hear from you soon.