Business owners who rely only on physical sales and have yet to set up a website or digital presence are missing out on a huge opportunity. With the recent boom in e-commerce, global online sales are projected to reach $4.891 trillion in 2023. And this number is expected to continue to grow as more and more consumers shift to online shopping.
Having a website or a digital presence is important for any business that wants to tap into this huge market and reach potential customers. However, creating a website for your business is not a simple task. You have to consider several factors that can affect the success of your online venture.
What is an Online Presence?
Your online presence is how your business is represented on the internet. It includes your website, social media accounts, and any other online platforms where your business has a presence.
The stronger your online presence, the more visibility and engagement you gain across platforms like websites, social media, and email. Improving your online presence takes time and effort, but it's worth it in the long run. A strong online presence can help you reach new customers, grow your business, and stay ahead of the competition.
How to Build a Strong Web Presence for Your Business?
Establishing a web presence is a long-term process that requires a clear strategy and time investment. There are two main ways to create a website: either build it yourself using a template or hire a website design company. Both options have their own pros and cons.
If you're on a tight budget or have some basic web design skills, building your own website is a good option. There are many free and paid templates available, and most of them are easy to use. But if you don't have the time or skills to create your own website, you can hire a website design company to do it for you. Web design companies can create a custom website that meets your specific needs and budget.
Whether you're a small business owner or a marketing professional looking to enhance your online presence, this guide will provide you with practical tips and the best strategies to help you succeed. So, let's dive in and learn how to build a strong online presence for your business!
Step 1: Define Your Goals Before You Begin
Building an online presence isn't just a checkbox task; it's a strategic process. Before you start building your website, it's important to set goals that align with your overall business objectives. Your goals will help you stay focused and measure your progress.
Your goals can and should change with time, but it's important to make them measurable and set timelines. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you set goals for your web presence:
- Why does your business need an online presence? Are you looking to boost sales, generate leads, enhance brand recognition, or achieve other specific outcomes?
- Who is your target audience? What are their requirements, interests, and online behaviours?
- What actions do you want your audience to take on your website or social media platforms? For instance, are you aiming for them to complete a contact form, make a purchase, or subscribe to your email newsletter?
- How much are you willing to invest in building your web presence?
Another effective way to identify the right goals is by researching your competitors. A quick Google search can reveal how they are managing their web presence. Once you've completed this step, you're ready to move on to the next one.
Once you identify your goals, you can choose a design that will help you achieve them. For example, if you want to process online orders, you'll need a different design than if you just want to generate leads. If you're selling physical products, you'll need to make sure your website has a shopping cart and payment processing system. If you're a service provider, you may want to include a contact form or a calendar where visitors can book appointments.
Step 2: Build Your Business Website
Once you have set goals for your web presence, the next step is to build your business website. This step might sound like a no-brainer, but it's rather surprising that almost 1 in 3 small businesses (28%) do not have their own website.
Your website, or portfolio site, is the perfect place to showcase your vision, display examples of your work and your resume, and provide your contact information. Create a compelling "About Me" page to introduce yourself and highlight your goals, experience, and personality.
If your business doesn't have a unique name, consider using your full name as the website URL. If the .com extension is unavailable, there are plenty of other options like .net, .org, .me, and more. Registering a domain secures your ownership of it.
A well-designed business website should also offer clear information about your products or services and include easily accessible contact details. Avoid using flash and large images that could slow down the site and impact visitors' experience.
Step 3: Create Relevant Content
One of the best ways to enhance your online presence is to create content that your followers find interesting and informative. This is a great way to introduce your brand, establish yourself as an authority in your industry, and drive traffic to your website.
But what exactly qualifies as "content"? Well, that's entirely up to you. Common forms of web content include:
- Starting a blog.
- Creating video blogs, commonly known as "vlogs."
- Recording podcasts.
- Developing online brochures and e-books.
When you create content, be sure to include a call-to-action (CTA). This element prompts your readers to take action, whether it's subscribing, reaching out to you, or availing of your services.
Most likely, your website already has some sort of content management system. If not, consider moving your website to a platform like WordPress, which comes with an integrated content management system. This helps you keep track of elements like blog posts and can assist in building a subscriber list. Just remember to maintain a regular schedule of publishing fresh material for both your readers to enjoy and for search engines to index.
Step 4: Utilise Visual Content Effectively
Your website should have a strong copy that uses keywords you want to rank for. But it should also have high-quality visual content that shows your brand values, mission and message to your potential customers more effectively.
Visual elements such as video content and infographics can serve as powerful content assets and are highly shareable across social media platforms. When you use your brand images, icons and colours, you can create a consistent digital presence that online users can easily recognise or trust.
No matter what type of visual content you choose, make sure all your file sizes are small. File sizes directly impact your website's loading speed, and you'll want your site to load quickly when potential clients visit. Regularly test your site to ensure it loads quickly.
Step 5: Make Your Website Responsive for Mobile
The majority of internet users now access the web via mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. These devices are touch-enabled, lacking a traditional mouse cursor, which alters the way users interact with on-screen elements compared to the more conventional keyboard and mouse experience.
Designing your website for mobile phones and tablets requires changes to elements such as paragraph structures, icons, and menus. These elements need to adapt to a significantly smaller screen area and work seamlessly with the less precise touch interface.
While your site design should certainly prioritise mobile devices, it's equally important to test it on a PC or laptop. In fact, it's a good practice to conduct thorough testing across multiple devices and browsers before your website's official launch. Detecting and fixing any bugs before the site goes live will save you a lot of time and ensure a smoother user experience from the start.
Step 6: Keep Your Digital Presence Dynamic
A dynamic digital presence is important for any brand that wants to stay ahead of the curve. Search engine algorithms and customer preferences are constantly changing, so it's important to keep your digital presence up-to-date. This means paying attention to UX trends and other developments that can impact how your website is delivered and refined.
UX (user experience) is all about making it easy and convenient for users to access your website. It can be influenced by factors such as a clear navigation structure, a well-designed layout, and consistent branding.
When visitors have a positive UX on your website, they are more likely to stay longer and explore what you have to offer. They are also more likely to return to your website in the future and make a purchase. This can lead to increased brand awareness, traffic, and conversions.
Step 7: Optimise Your Entire Website
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the key to attracting more visitors to your content. It involves using techniques that direct potential customers or followers to your website by pushing your site to the top positions on search engines. This will help more people find your website when they search for keywords related to your business.
The most basic form of SEO involves the use of keywords, which are specific phrases or words related to your business that people search for. It's important to avoid keyword stuffing and instead focus on using related keywords that aren't overly common in your industry.
Another important aspect to consider with keywords is that there are two types: short-tail and long-tail. Short-tail keywords are more competitive, but they can also reach a larger audience. Long-tail keywords are less competitive, but they are also more likely to convert into sales.
It is a good idea to use a mix of short-tail and long-tail keywords on your website. This results in reaching a larger audience and improving your chances of converting visitors into customers.
Get Started on Your Online Presence Today
Creating an online presence is a long-term process. The sooner you start building your online presence, the sooner you'll start to see the benefits. It's like compounding interest - the earlier you start, the more valuable your investment will become over time.
But remember, the opposite is also true: the longer you delay to start building an online presence, the longer it will take to achieve your goals.
If you are ready to start building your online presence, contact us today. We can help you create a website that is both visually appealing and functional. We can also help you with SEO and marketing to help you reach your target audience. We look forward to hearing from you!