The internet is becoming an increasingly important tool for small businesses. In fact, it is pretty much essential to have a visible online presence if you want to be successful. Just look at the success of online-only businesses such as Amazon and ASOS, and take into account that the vast majority of high street retailers also have a website to complement their brick-and-mortar store. Operating online allows customers to order goods from you from the comfort of their own home, without the hassle of driving and parking. This is convenient for most people, particularly if you offer next-day deliveries. It also allows you to work on 24 hours a day, seven days a week basis. Online stores do not need to be manned, and it also allows you to operate on a global scale, with the simple addition of international shipping options. However, merely setting up a website and thinking that is it is not going to bring the customers to you. No, you have to put work in to make sure your website is up to date and visible amongst the millions of other sites on the world wide web.
Here are a couple of critical areas to focus on:
It is relatively easy to design and build a website, but if this is something you are not confident about, it is best left to the professionals. For an online business, your website is your storefront – it is the first thing your customers see, and it will say a lot about you. Studies have shown that most people will decide whether they will stay on your page within three seconds of clicking on it. What may have been appealing in the past may be outdated, so you cannot guarantee that customers will keep coming back if you never update or revamp your site!
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a concept that still remains alien to many business owners, despite being a relatively simple concept to master. In its most fundamental sense, SEO is about choosing the very best keywords for your site – the words that people are searching for your goods and services would use and incorporating it into your website content. However, optimizing your website is one of the best things you can do for your site, so again, getting a professional, such as SEOExplode to give you some assistance is well worth it. It will help you rank much more highly in search engines, above your competitors and give you an edge.
Another way to get your website high up in search engine listings is to have a high domain authority (DA). Essentially, if you have a high DA, your website has authority. One of the best ways to increase this, as well as producing useful and engaging content, is to have other sites link to you. Working with bloggers is an excellent way of doing this.
Social media is one of the most effective – and cheapest – marketing tools you have to hand. The vast majority of the western population are active on social media, so if you are not utilizing that to the very best of your ability, you are missing out big time! Facebook is superb for engaging customers, drawing them in with exciting content and offers. Instagram, as long as you use high quality, curated images, is the perfect place to advertise products, and Twitter is great for conversation and short, to the point information and messages. Again, there are professionals out there who can manage your social media on your behalf if it is something that you feel you can’t do or do not have time for.
Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) or cost-per-click advertising (CPC) are two great ways to draw in traffic. Essentially, a website such as Google will advertise your business in their banners, sidebars, and their listings under a sponsored tab, but you only pay when a customer clicks on them – hence the name. They work well because most PPC/CPC agencies allow you to really focus your advertising on your target audience. You can select the demographic down to location and interests, and your adverts will be shown to them, making it a relatively low cost and effective form of marketing.
These are just a few ways that you can help to ensure that your small business’ online presence is visible and up to date Incorporate them into your business practices sooner rather than later to bring in traffic and to maximize your sales!
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