What can I do to improve my online presence?
As this is one of the questions I get asked quite regularly, What can I do to improve my online presence? I would like to shed some light on what can be done to help increase traffic to your website and keep it; whether you’re a fresh start-up with a brand new website, or an older company that would like to push yourself further. I will go over several points that that will help you to keep your website up to date and relevant. Most of these things are relatively simple to do – you do not need to be an internet expert.
Get and promote customer reviews.
Displaying customer reviews is a type of Trustmark – something to show off that gives people a reason to buy from you. Arguably, this is the most important one to have on your website when trying to sell.
Pretty much everyone knows of Amazon, as well as Tesco Direct, Argos, and other large online retailers. They are all recognisable brands that have been built up over many years that the majority of people will trust the products and services they offer.
But as a start-up or small to medium sized company, who knows & trusts you?
A sad reality of today’s world is that there are a lot of unscrupulous and unaccountable websites out there that will rip you off at best, or outright scam you at worst. You need to prove to any visitor that you are a legitimate, reliable and trustworthy business.
Customer Reviews are a fantastic solution for several reasons – it allows visitors to get an impression of what you are like as a company from a third party. They do not need to simply take a chance on you; they can read other people’s reviews and comments on how they perceive you. If you have a lot of positive feedback, this will go a long way into enticing a new customer to ‘trust’ your business.
It’s best not to simply add reviews onto a page on your website. As you have complete control over your content, how does the visitor know that you didn’t simply make them up? There are plenty of good, third party websites out there to help with this. Two of the most notable are Freeindex and Trustpilot. After you sign up to these websites you can then add a widget onto your website that shows or links to any reviews that you have – and anyone reading will know that they are legitimate.
One concern you may have is receiving negative reviews. Clearly, that’s not great; but you can use this to your advantage. Showing how you deal with bad feedback will strengthen the image of your company even further. Most review websites will allow the company to response to any feedback. Ask why the customer was dissatisfied; tell them you want to solve the problem and to contact you. This will show that you really care about all of your customers, and when a problem occurs that you want to do all you can to ensure that your customers are completely satisfied.
Make sure that your website is responsive.
In 2015, mobile traffic on the web has now risen to over 50% for the first time. Over half of people browsing online are now using handheld devices. The vast amount of users falling into this category should not be neglected.
For the average person, today’s world is extremely content rich while being very time-poor. The result of this is a very small attention span. If your website takes too long to load, is hard to navigate, or has any number of small minor inconveniences, your website will quickly be forgotten as the user will proceed to one of the many hundreds of others out there.
One major inconvenience is trying to browse a website designed for a high-resolution desktop on a small mobile device. There are still many, many sites out there that are still not responsive in any way. If your website does not respond at all, you are causing frustration for potentially over half of the visitors! This frustration can lead to many potential lost sales.
To check if your website is responsive, simply navigate to it on a mobile or tablet device. How easy is it to navigate? Are there any usability issues or any bugs? Try to do this on as many different devices as possible, as the website can change depending upon the device resolution and web browsing software.
If the end user experience is left wanting on mobile devices, then get in touch with your web designer to resolve it as soon as possible. Remember, over 50% of traffic is mobile!
Register with business directories.
We all register our websites with search engines so we can be found. Business directories are the next best thing to search engines. As a company in today’s competitive online world, we need to make it as easy as we possibly can for customers to find us! They are a fantastic way of allowing more people to find you via specific markets or local area searches.
An additional added benefit is that this will also help to improve your SEO by creating backlinks from the reputable business directories to your website.
We have previously compiled a list of the top UK business directories. You can find them here.
Include social media. And use it!
Using social media is a fantastic way to improve your online presence. With Facebook having about 1.5 billion active users and Twitter with over 300 million, you can connect with existing and potential customers to increase the awareness of your company.
On your website, you should have prominent links to all of your social media accounts so people can easily find you on these networks. Usually these links will be contained in the header and footer of your site, as well as your contact page, and you could even take that extra step and include a feed. Ideally, you will be using Facebook and Twitter as a minimum, but there many more to chose from.
If you can, set up a regular schedule for posting updates across social media. This includes anything from special promotions, new products or services or latest news about your company. Don’t forget to link back to your website when relevant!
Additionally, you must not neglect any communications via social media. A lot of people will opt to contact you through these messaging services as it allows for quick, easy and more casual conversation. Respond to any questions and deal with any complaints as quickly as you can. Interacting with users in this way can go a long way towards building loyalty.
Basic SEO – Search Engine Optimisation.
‘SEO’ is one of these jargon acronyms that get thrown around a lot without many people really knowing what it entails. Essentially, search engine optimisation means working out what Google wants to see from your website to increase your position in the search engine rankings. There are many, many methods of SEO and although admittedly some can be quite technically challenging or time-consuming to do, there are some basics that are very quick and simple that can and will help with your search engine positions.
All that is required of you is that when you create or update a page on your website, there are several changes you can make. This method is called on-page SEO.
Firstly, you need to pick several keywords or phrases. These need to be terms that people are likely to use when searching for you. As an example, a pizza delivery company in Kings Lynn could use the phrases “Pizza King’s Lynn”, “Pizza Delivery King’s Lynn”, “Pizza Takeaway King’s Lynn”.
All you need to do is include these phrases within your page content. Most importantly, add them into your titles and header text as well as various points throughout your paragraphs. Using bold and underlining and adding internal hyperlinks to the phrases can also help.
When you have added your phrases in, make sure that you read the content back. Your content must remain completely legible and easy to read otherwise you risk dissuading anyone reading!
Keep your content up to date.
It’s surprising how many businesses out there completely neglect their website content; sometimes to the extent where they haven’t updated their sites in years. Finding incorrect or out-dated information on a website can be really off-putting for users – especially if it’s something important like contact information!
Try to go over your website thoroughly once a month to ensure that all information is up to date and current. Any time-limited information such as special promotions needs to be removed at after they’re finished. If your website features a blog, try to post something regular – even if it’s as simple as a small “Merry Christmas”. A blog where the last post was from several years ago does not reflect well on your website.
Although Nick only has only been in the web design industry for a couple of years, he quickly became a valuable member of the Nexus Websites team.