Many small businesses start with a simple presence on a Facebook business page or with an Instagram profile— and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just important to realize that you don’t have complete control over those platforms and you’ll likely be limited in terms of what you can or cannot do there.
Having said so, you might want to expand your digital footprint to include several important elements for your small business.
Custom domain name
Your domain name is the key to your business’s unique address on the web. It should tell people who you are and what you have to offer to your audience at a glance, direct them to your website, attract them to your content, and help protect and promote your brand.
Your website is your small business’s online home. It’s where you share your story, showcase your products and services, and start to establish credibility and expand your reach to your audience.
Getting active on the social media websites where your customers spend their time is the key to build an online community around your business. You can use sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linked In, and YouTube to market and promote your products and services, establish yourself as a thoughtful leader in your industry, and, most importantly, build relationships with your customers through your content.
Branded email is both an affordable and effective way to communicate with your customers or audience and generate leads and attract footfalls to your website.
Local reviews and directories. You can gain consumer confidence by garnering positive reviews on sites like Yelp and remaining current on business directories such as Google My Business.
Steps To Manage Your Website Like A Pro:
1. Domain Name:
Your domain name, which is also known as your website address, is often the key to your site. It is important that it makes an attractive impression to a user, and also for search engine optimization (SEO).
Here’s what, you should keep in mind while choosing your domain name:
- Make it easy to be spelled.
- Use correct and proper domain extension.
- Keep the name short.
- Research your domain name: Google it to see if a similar website address already exists online before you finalize your domain name.
- Avoid using special characters in between your domain name.
- Make sure the domain name you choose is memorable.
- Ensure the price is right. See if you can buy your desired website address at a reasonable price since most good domain names are taken and thus, they will need to be bought from the current owner.
- Choose a name that conveys meaning to your audience so that the users will know immediately what your business is about.
- Create an SEO-friendly URL. Try to come up with an SEO-friendly website address that contains keywords and geo-location.
2. Purchase secure website hosting
A website host is a company that provides the technology and services necessary for a website to be viewed online. You connect your domain name to your hosting provider, and when users visit your website address, they are shown your website that is on your hosting account.
3. Display a clear description of your business
People need to know who you are and what you do so that they don’t feel confused when they visit your website. Make sure your main homepage banner and all other banners are visual representations of your services, and also that you have an introductory caption blurb near the top of the page that describes who you are.
4. Implement the best content management system
A content management system is a software application, for creating and managing digital content. A good management system will help you maintain your site, and you won’t need much technical knowledge to use it. You should choose a content management system that is designed for your unique needs.
5. Choose a good e-commerce platform
If you plan on selling goods or services through your website, you will need to choose the right technology to do so. If you decide to allow users to financially transact with you online, you will need to choose the right platform for your small business model.
6. Create an interesting, attractive, and engaging website user interface
Make sure your small business website interface leaves an impression that drives results. You can do so by applying the following suggestions:
- Use beautiful and attractive graphics and easy-to-read fonts.
- Research your target audience and note down what they want from your site and make it easy for them to get it.
- Idealize your brand throughout the website design.
- Design a navigation system that allows users to jump to the pages they need quickly.
- Publish accessible contact information.
- Incorporate call-to-actions like – buy now buttons.
- Create pages, such as:
- Home page
- About us.
- Contact us
7. Optimize your business website for search engines
Search Engine Optimization or SEO is a set of practices you apply to your website to make sure search engines index and rank your website appropriately and then show it to the users. Once your website is ranked by search engines, it competes with the other websites that have similar content. The better your website design and content are, the higher is your site’s chance to show up on search engine result pages.
SEO includes the following practices:
- Keyword research and implementation in content
- Optimal website code for your website.
- Fast loading speed
- Ensuring a mobile-friendly site
- Put high-quality backlinks that lead to your site
- Having positive reviews online.
- Using internal links throughout your website to help people to click and keep reading.
- Using social media to link to your, like – Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
SEO is an extremely important process that can enhance your chances of showing up on the first page of search engine results pages.
8. Consistency, quality of content, and freshness.
Content quality, consistency, and freshness are important to search engines, so it’s important that you draft out a plan to publish quality articles and blog posts on your site and also, on external sites that link to your site. If you want to rank highly in search engine results and instigate people to return to your site again and again, you will have to update your website with fresh, new, and relevant content as frequently as possible. Thus consistency plays a major role here.
In addition to content and articles, a great form of content that you can post on your website is testimonials. Asking for testimonials from your customers and then publishing them on your website is a smart way to post fresh, high-quality content on your site. This makes your small business more attractive.
Make sure your content uses an appropriate tone that people will enjoy reading.
9. Maintain a website maintenance plan
A website shouldn’t be created only to be allowed to grow stale. To have a successful website that ranks top in search engines, you need to make sure it is properly maintained.
Driving Traffic to Your Online Store
For your first audience, people who know you, you should have a direct line to them — either through email or content marketing or via social media. For your second type of audience, you’ll need to find ways for them to discover your products, and for that, your products must meet their needs. And for your third type of audience, you’ll need to think in terms of brand awareness. Once all these are done, you can start promoting your site to your existing customer base.
After reading this article, you may have already noticed that creating a small business website may not be as simple as you first thought. However, if you follow the above steps, your small business will have a great chance of succeeding in the online marketplace.