YOUR WEB PRESENCE IS YOUR BUSINESS!
One of the most important steps in launching a business is creating your company’s web presence. Prospective customers will often look for your company online before calling or visiting your business. It is the first port of call. Without a web presence, your business or organization is as good (or bad) as saying that it does not exist. It is essential that your company’s online presence effectively demonstrates both your brand and your products and services.
So why do you need a website?
The need for establishing an online presence is the most basic reason for building a website. This is crucial since through your website you don’t only get to publish your business information, you also get to highlight what makes you or your business special, more importantly, it gives your customers a way to contact you.
A good business website is a great tool to capture potential leads. As the site grows it is likely to become a community for customers and potential consumers. Connecting with potential consumers makes for an important marketing strategy. Your website can be the elevator pitch and your connection the long sell.
A website is the modern equivalent of a business card. But becoming a recognizable name on the internet takes more than just finding a place to list your contact information. Building a web presence takes time, effort and persistence. It would be wise to start with a plan, and be prepared to invest in a few services to get the ball rolling. So let’s get started!
1. Unique domain name
Purchase a unique domain name and sign up for a web hosting service. Although free web hosts are available, having your own domain name lends credibility to your business or online persona. Some people opt to make their favourite social network page their primary online profile, but as we all know, social networks come and go every few years. Having a domain name not only ensures that your place on the web is secure, it also sends out the message that your business is here to stay.
2. Build your brand identity
A well designed, structured, and crafted website makes a powerful statement about your company. It informs your clients, competition, and potential customers that your business is up to speed technologically and encourages visitors to come experience: who you are, what you do, and why you’re the better alternative.
3. Say yes to traffic!
A web presence does not have to be limited to your own website. Being at the top of search lists helps to drive traffic to your website. One way to optimize your search engine ranking is to include links. Search engines analyze how many other sites have your link on their sites, which increases your credibility, therefore increasing your ranking. The most common way to build links to your site is to comment on an article, blog post, or message board and include a link back to your website. You can also create profile pages on popular social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, WordPress and Google+. Though these should not be your main online profile, using social media can greatly increase the amount of attention you receive.
4. Update, don’t inundate
Update your social networks (including blogs) regularly. Not only will your readers quickly lose interest if you don’t post something regularly, search engines are not likely to pick up on your few-and-far between feeds. Be mindful, however, not to overload your clients or readers with too much information or this will get lost in cyberspace. Try to find a good balance between maintaining a strong presence and annoying your readers.
5. Track Your Audience
With countless tools (such as Google Analytics), tracking your audience’s every move has become incredibly simple. Track your visitors, how much time they spent on your website, what pages they visited, what keywords they searched to find you, and generating reports based on your conversion goals. This not only helps with managing your reputation but also for multitude of purposes like discovering new business opportunities, tracking upcoming customer trends, monitoring competitors’ buzz, identifying new keywords etc.
At the end of the day, whether you’re a small business or a big player, a strong web presence will result in huge benefits, especially increased traffic and customer interest. More importantly it provides a platform to interact and communicate with your customers. When you create a strong web presence, and continue to use it effectively, you are likely to maintain customer loyalty and interest.
Remember, building a strong web presence involves branching out beyond your website to maximize your chances of being discovered by new clients. The more places that a potential client finds you on the web, the better.