As small and medium size businesses owners you know it is essential to get your business online and attract a wider audience for your products and services. Your potential customers use search engines to investigate potential products and services they wish to purchase. A poor online business presence will mean you do not appear in their search results.
There are various solutions for building your own websites, but from our experience they don’t make the most of your efforts. Yes they are quick to build, but they do not fulfil all the functionality required for a successful business website.
A word of caution, there is more to a building a successful online profile for your business than can be achieved via the various free online website builders. These generally provide enough functionality to create a website consisting of a handful of pages with a few images. However, with is little additional functionality to enrich your website with improved content as your knowledge and confidence grows.
We will explain the key factors for creating a successful online presence for your business:
This is the core of your online business profile. It should describe your business products and services and build additional content that will inform, but most importantly engage your target customer audience. Examples of customer engagement include calls to action, where you encourage your customers to perform an action such as registering for a newsletter or contacting you via a contact form.
Using a content management system (CMS) that allows you to choose a professionally designed theme, such as WordPress, which reduces your time to market with your website. The theme provides the "look and feel" of your website and there are numerous themes built for specific types of business, from estate agents to magazine styles for content rich websites.
The majority of WordPress themes are mobile responsive and can automatically adjust to the size of the device (tablet or smart phone ) being used to display the website. This is key to providing a seamless transition for visitors who visit your site via various devices.
Keyword Search Analysis (SERP)
Your products and services will have keywords that are used to describe them. For example, if you are a decorator, your keywords could include decorating, decorator, painting, wallpaper and some geographical words such as your town, city or county. It is essential that the appropriate keywords are included in your page/post titles and content. WordPress has an Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) plugin that provides a real-time guide on the quality of your content for your selected Keyword search selection.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Enables your content to be included in your potential customers search engine results. Writing content that includes the keywords your potential customers are searching for will greatly improve your chances of appearing in their search results. You may have heard the term page ranking, this is how your pages ranks (or how high it appears) on the search engine results.
Engagement is a key part in retaining your website visitors and attracting new visitors. Quality content will encourage visitors to engage with your business via your website or via your social network pages.
Ensure your website provides the visitor the functionality to visit your social network pages such as Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
In addition, the visitor should also have the option to share your content via their own social network pages. Visitors engaging this way displays they like your content enough to share it with their friends, which can in turn build a larger audience for your website and social media accounts.
If your goal is to capture customer information then it is essential that you secure your website from potential hackers and ensure your online presence is not disrupted. WordPress provides various plugins that allow you to block potential rogue logins by IP address including brute force attacks.
Social networks allow you to share the content you create on your website and build a larger and wider audience. Quality content on your website will encourage people to re-visit your website.
Posting this content on your social network pages will attract a wider audience rather than relying on search engine results only. By using relevant #hashtags to your industry, geographical location and product/service you will attract a larger following.
Get Your Business Online
To maximise your return on investment you should focus on creating high quality content that includes the use of images for your website. It has been proven that the use of images on website pages and social networks increases your chances of attracting the reader. Using a professionally designed theme can decrease the build time for your market and provide you with a great design to give your website the Wow! factor.
If you find software that enables you to include the key factors above then you should be able to build your own online profile successfully.
We recommend and use the WordPress platform for our websites as it provides an extensive range of additional functionality via quality plug-ins. Plug-ins allow you to build your website up over time and ensures you don't have to redesign your website after a few years because you have outgrown the platform. The training and support that is available online and provided by a friendly and active WordPress community is also beneficial and makes the WordPress platform relatively easy to learn, especially for content creation.
You may also find this article useful: "Website Development Tips for Small Business" by Small Business Computing.