2020 was a year full of uncertainty for businesses and entrepreneurs. The emergence of a global pandemic forced some of these companies to shut their doors permanently. Others declared bankruptcy. The good news is that not all of them closed down. Several business owners have stepped up and began migrating their brands online.
Transitioning from the traditional, face-to-face business to uploading products and services online is a step in the right direction, especially in this current political, financial, and economic climate. If you’re a business owner, this is the best route to stay afloat amid uncertainty. Even in the new year, you can’t expect things to revert to how they once were. Instead, focus your attention on how you’ll improve your business’ online presence in 2021. Here are some tips.
Speaking of reverting to normal. You need to understand that the ‘new normal’ does not mean going back to how you’ve always conducted your business in the past. It means accepting that the changes you implemented in 2020 are now the new processes of your business.
The new normal should not be limited to moving from a physical store or office to an e-commerce website for your business. It could also be an opportunity to explore a wide variety of products or brainstorming new services you can offer to your potential customers.
The evolving way that shoppers buy and consume products online will continue to be a trend in 2021. If you haven’t invested in migrating your products and services online, now is the time to do so. Even if you already have a website, make sure it’s up to date, mobile-friendly, and SEO-optimized.
70% of internet users use their mobile phones to look for product websites. Is your website optimized for smartphones? If you’re shaking your head ‘no,’ then it’s time to consult a web designer about bringing your website up to date.
Websites being mobile-friendly is a crucial factor in generating traffic. It’s important to understand that computers and phones have entirely different screen real estate. Your website won’t look the same on a PC and a phone. If your website is not optimized for smart devices, visitors will bounce away to a different website.
A website audit is a procedure that seeks to determine how well your website performs across several search engine ranking metrics, such as security, speed, conversion rate, and probably the most important of all, search engine optimization (SEO).
Conducting a website audit allows you to see what else you can improve for your site to rank higher on Google, generate more traffic, and increase both conversions and sales.
In essence, a site audit lets you answer these essential questions about your website:
If you’re asking yourself, ‘How can my target audience find my business online?’ the answer to your question is SEO. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your website and its contents to rank on top of Google’s Search Engine Results Page (SERPs), as well as other sites, such as Yahoo! Search and Bing.
Internet users utilize these search engines to find the most relevant information about their query. If your website is not SEO-friendly, you’ll be lucky to find your website on page 2 of the Google results. That can have a significant effect on the ability of your website to generate traffic.
Luckily, there’s are several highly-informative intro to SEO resources available online, so you can get up to speed quickly. SEO guides help you to understand the basics, including Google’s algorithm.
There’s also plenty of web apps that can test your website for SEO. When you conduct SEO tests, make sure to evaluate the essential pages on your website. SEO tools allow you to see what else you can improve on your content to rank higher on Google.
Improving the SEO of your website could take some time, but it is definitely worth the investment. Optimizing your website to improve its rank on Google’s SERP is a great way to increase your business’ overall online presence.
Yes, generating traffic on your website is essential, but so is converting leads into sales.
Before you leave your website to the gods of the internet to generate traffic and convert, you need to make sure that your site’s interface is easy to navigate. Creating a mobile-friendly site and optimizing it to rank on SERPs is just part of the work. To gain traction and sales, you still need to make everything useful and aesthetically-pleasing, to enhance your client’s experience.
UX and UI are terms that refer to the user experience and user interface of your website, respectively. On the client’s side of things, this is how they will interact with your business online.
Why is it important? Well, for starters, you only have 8 seconds of your website visitor’s attention to impress them with your website. If they have a hard time navigating, the chances of them staying will be pretty slim.
Improve the UX and UI of your website by designing a responsive website that is easy to navigate for users.
As far as 2021 goes, content is still king. High-quality content is one way to let your customers know about your brand and keep them loyal to it. But to increase your authority, creating content is not enough.
To reach a broader customer base, you need to produce content that fits your audience’s context. It has to be relevant and attractive to them, or else they’ll move on to find something that is.
Some of the platforms you can utilize to post regular content are blogs, YouTube, and social media. Maximize these avenues to increase your brand authority and awareness. Tell your story to create authenticity. Posting engaging content regularly allows your business to stand out amongst your competition.
Running a business is already an uncertain prospect. Add the unpredictability of our current situation, and companies need to find different avenues to stay afloat. If you’re a business owner, leverage the tips above to help your business transition online.
If your business’s reputation on the internet is sour, then you’re likely to find problems in the store and at the online shop. Although most consumers know to approach the web with some level of trepidation, they are also aware of how valuable the information is on there. Improving the quality of your online presence can increase your sales.
Chances are that someone has reviewed your business online. Whether the comments are on popular review sites or social media pages, you need to read them. It can be scary to read negative reviews about your company, but you need to know what people are saying. Customers may articulate legitimate concerns about the business that need to be fixed.
Here’s a great example given by ReviewTrackers:
Also, reading the negative reviews provides you with an opportunity to respond to them. Potential customers probably don’t expect your company to have perfect reviews, but they do want to see how you handle the negative ones. Screaming and cursing at customers who leave negative reviews, for example, is likely to turn business away. You do not always need to agree with the customers’ complaints, but you can respond with respect.
Plenty of businesses have social media accounts, emails and online inquiry boxes, but not all of them take the time to answer. For some people, the most frustrating part of communication is when others don’t answer them. If you cannot answer a preliminary inquiry that a customer has about your product, then he or she is unlikely to trust you to provide further information. When the amount of messages and emails that you receive becomes too prodigious for one person to handle, you may need to assemble of team of experts whose main job involves responding to these inquiries.
Your business probably has a niche, and you probably know what it is. Now is the time to take that information and bring it online. For example, you may own a small local business that caters specifically to people in the neighborhood. Plenty of communities have social media pages or online forums, so you can advertise there. If you primarily serve other businesses, you can research forums and online conversation spaces that are specifically reserved for business-to-business transactions.
People spend a great deal of time on the internet, whether they are looking for updates about a new business coming to the area or they are researching products to purchase for the home or birthday gifts. In any case, they may start by visiting your website or social media pages on a regular basis. However, as they begin to see that you don’t post fresh content, their interest in your company may fade. While you don’t need to post new material every day, you have so many options for posting regularly, such as status updates on social media, blogs on websites and content marketing on video channels.
When individuals search for the company online, your website is one of the first places that they visit. Therefore, you want to ensure that you are harnessing the most modern and user-friendly methods in terms of providing information, offering a safe shopping experience and attracting attention to the website. Even if you have a few brilliant strategies of your own, combining them with the expertise of a web design company can provide you with an even stronger website.
The online presence of your company is so important because many people will judge it when evaluating whether or not to make a purchase or to hire you. As a result, the time to start cleaning up the online reputation of your business is now.
Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from West Jordan, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max. Kara is also an avid writer for https://builtbyhq.com.
If “Content is King,” then having a really well-developed online presence is Queen. But few business owners start out with a true idea of what developing an online presence requires. With a little of the same entrepreneurial spirit, and a bit of perseverance, it’s possible to gain a better understanding of the elusive online presence. At its most basic, it simply means making people aware of your business online.
In a world where so many people are now bringing businesses online, it’s important that you set your business apart from the rest by using inventive tactics to get recognized. Use these strategies to ensure that your business gets noticed.
What’s in a webinar? The potential for greater connection with your target market. Allowing people to sign up for webinars in which you offer something useful can be a great way to connect with your customers. This is especially true for service-based businesses. If there is something that you can teach your customers within an hour, offer webinar signups and have someone lead an online seminar. SEO companies, writers, and even business development specialists have all used this tactic.
Just as with webinars, video conferencing and teleconferencing can help you to branch connections over long distances. It’s also a far more ideal way to connect with your customers when they have questions or comments about their product or service. Research has shown that when clients can interact with a physical person via video, they feel that the experience is more personalized. A little bit of video conferencing equipment can go a long way to placing a human face on your business.
While teleconferencing won’t put a face on anything, it does provide the ability to offer informational sessions over the telephone or VoIP for free. This, too, can be a helpful adjunct.
Everyone likes to feel that they are a winner, and that’s probably why Facebook fan contests have become so popular. It’s important that you think carefully about what your audience might want to win; simply giving away a $5 iTunes gift card isn’t enough to sway people to interact with your online presence any longer. If you can afford it, giving away even cheap MP3 players, tablets, or other electronics tends to be very popular. Cash prizes are always popular, too
Be sure to always tie a certain level of interaction to the prize, to prevent people from signing up just to win. You may choose to ask for likes, fan art submissions, or even referrals. Whatever route you choose, stay away from the obvious like baiting tactics like posting images saying “I bet you can’t think of a word that ends in R.” These can be seen as spam by most of the larger platforms, and they simply annoy fans.
For an example of just how successful an online hangout can be, head over to internet message board Reddit’s “AMA” section. This section, designed to allow Redditors the ability “Ask Me Anything,” has allowed some fairly well-known businesses to answer questions and address comments from the public. Of course, Redditor’s AMA section won’t be your first option unless you already have significant fame.
Hangouts are ideal once you’ve established a basic presence and have some level of regular interaction going on through your Facebook page or Twitter account. As a rule of thumb, when you start getting questions regularly, it may be time to have an online hangout.
If you offer a service or product, set up open information sessions where the public can come in and address issues or questions. Be patient, candid, and ensure that it’s lighthearted and fun. In some cases, you may encounter difficulties; trolls exist everywhere online. If these issues come up, simply ban them from the hangout or refer them to your customer service department. Being able to react positively to negativity is just one important step on the road to a great online presence.
Richard Myers is an app developer, tech buff and an overall geek. He is also closely associated with Videonations.