Creating an Online Space for Your Business: Making the Web Work for You

October 25, 2017
Rebecca Shipley

If your small business has yet to develop a website for itself, now is the time to make it happen. You may be under the impression that creating an online space for your business is not necessary in your industry. However in order to get ahead of your competition, it is important to become established online.

Today, 71 percent of small businesses in the U.S. have their own website. Many small business owners have come to the conclusion that creating a website is an easy way to ramp up sales efforts. Ensure that your small business does not get left behind by building your own site. Know what a solid website can contribute to your business and create one with those benefits in mind.

Creating an online space for your business helps you stay relevant and maintain credibility

An added resource for the consumer

A well-developed and designed website for your business provides the consumer with information in a centralized and easily accessible space. Use your online presence to build your organization’s reputation. Focus on reporting content that zeros in on your target demographic’s interests. BuzzSumo is one tool you can use to see which content is most important to those interested in your industry.

Your site should serve as a resource for those wanting to learn more about what your business does. Potential customers should be able to have their questions easily answered. Engage with your customer base and respond frequently to their inquiries. This will show you have a vested interest in their satisfaction with your product or service.

Up-to-date with technology and how people find and interact with businesses

The first step most customers take when seeking to learn more about a business is to search for them on Google. Having an online presence increases your credibility and brand recognition. If you don’t establish a presence online, you are missing out on a great number of potential customers. When Web users come across your business, they are more likely to contact you than if they had learned about you or only knew about you through your offline channels.

Be accessible to your target audience and the public in general

Easily found through good SEO and online reviews

While building an online presence makes your business more accessible, you need to work to build your search engine optimization (SEO) ranking. Use Google Adwords to establish which keywords would be most effective in driving traffic to your site. Incorporate keywords within your domain name so that it is memorable and shareable. This will allow your site to perform better on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Having a website and your business generally visible online allows for more online reviews, which serves as a great source for building up your brand and its level of trustworthiness. (Of consumers, 88 percent of them report that they trust an online review as much as they would a personal recommendation from a friend or family member.) Plus, online reviews create more exposure for your brand online, which also boosts SEO ranking.

Further establish your brand identity

Align online presence with what makes business great already

When setting up an online presence for your previously offline business, you do not have to completely invent something from scratch. Take the aspects of your business that have made it successful thus far and implement them within your website. For example, your site should feature the logo, style of writing, and color scheme present throughout your business. This offers a level of consistency which increases trustworthiness and recognition.

More brand exposure and relevant content

Of course, with the more exposure your business has, the more opportunity it is given to build up its . You can engage with consumers by creating a blog on WordPress. This level of communication personalizes your brand and offers you more freedom to express your business values. In addition blogging allows you to connect with influencers in the industry. These leaders can write for your blog or share your content which can expose your brand to a wider audience.

Enjoy high ROI and increased sales

Small initial investment for long-term benefits

It has been shown that 81 percent of consumers conduct online research before committing to making a big purchase. This includes looking at consumer reviews. Offer a page solely devoted to customer testimonials. Insight will be provided for potential buyers as to whether a product lives up to what it claims. Provide online customer reviews so visitors can have access to information on whether your product or service delivers on its promises.

More traffic to your brick-and-mortar stores

It may seem that the opposite would be true, but you can actually use your business’s website to direct more people to your brick-and-mortar store locations. Provide information on your products or services online, then let visitors know that they can learn more or try it out when they come to your store.

You could even give shoppers the option to see whether a particular product is available in-store so that they have the option to come in and pick it up rather than having to purchase it online and wait for it to be shipped to their home.

Allow your offline business to achieve more and to engage a wider audience by giving it its own online presence. With an effective website, your small business can improve the level at which consumers recognize and interact with your brand, as well as its credibility and accessibility.

Rebecca Shipley is a marketing analyst turned writer who loves covering small business marketing, sales, and branding topics. A self proclaimed “data nerd” Rebecca loves digging in and finding trends that can be used to improve marketing and sales strategies.

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