Creating a digital presence for your business online has become more critical than ever. Fortunately, it’s also never been easier to create an accessible website or online storefront and get your business noticed.
Going online opens up a world of opportunity for your business
Exploring online options has a myriad of benefits for your business. It can help you increase brand awareness, opens your business up to new markets and provides a convenient and straightforward way for people to learn about your products or services. You can even set up to sell online so that you can take advantage of the current eCommerce boom.
Yet so many small businesses still have no online presence. If this sounds like you, don’t be daunted – there are a few key steps to build your online presence.
Create a free Business Profile on Google
If you want to raise awareness for your business online, a free Business Profile listing should be your first port of call. By setting up an account, you will be able to create a Business Profile that lets you easily connect with your customers across Google Search and Maps. Jazz up your profile by including photos and your logo. You can then showcase any special offers and include different ways to contact your business. Your customers can even connect with you directly from your Business Profile listing – either via phone or messaging. If you like, you can even encourage them to leave reviews of your products or services. According to Global Ipsos research, Customers are 2.7x more likely to consider a business reputable if they see a complete listing on Google Search and Maps. So what are you waiting for? Create your Google My Business listing.
Setting up your website
Having a Business Profile on Google is a great place to start your online business journey. It makes your business easily searchable by your potential customers. The next step in your online expedition would be to set up a website for your business. It’s more than likely you already have a registered name for your business. Still, to get online, you will need to register a domain name and hosting for your site. Then you need to build your site. Fortunately, setting up a business site is simple these days, without the need for a programmer or special design skills. If you’re a Google GSuite customer, you can use Google’s Sites to build out your website. The templated layouts offer easy drag and drop design features to make building out a site a snap. Alternatively, many hosting providers also provide free templates to help you set up your site. When choosing the design of your site, it’s important to remember what your customers will be using it for to give them the best user experience. And don’t forget that in this ‘I Want it Now’ world, speed counts. So, make sure your site is optimised for mobile and loads quickly. If you want to see how your site ranks, check out Google’s free Test My Site tool.
What’s on my site?
The what and why of your site is dependent on your area of business. A website can be a single page or multiple pages. The features and information you have on your business website will vary depending on its use. It’s really up to you.
Your website could be a simple page with necessary business information, such as your location and contact details. It could be multiple pages outlining your products, services and team, or even an online store that allows your customers to purchase through your site. If selling online is your main aim, then you’ll need to invest in an eCommerce solution so that people can buy direct from your site, such as Shopify.
Optimise and thrive
If you’ve run a test on your site and the results are less than optimal, you must rectify any issues. A sluggish site leads to dissatisfied customers. Research by Google and Deloitte found Improving site speed increases progression rates on almost every step of a mobile purchase journey — from the homepage to the checkout — for the majority of brands.
Even a small increase in site speed reaps benefits. Decreasing mobile site load times by just one-tenth of a second resulted in significant performance gains. Specifically, conversion rates went up by 8.4% for retail and 10.1% for travel.
If your site is lagging, it’s essential to set up a plan to manage the issue. Establish a strategy to improve site speed, after implementing any changes, track your results.
My site is live now what?
You’ve built your site, now what? Alert your customers to your new online presence. Encourage feedback in these early days so that your customer’s get the best experience while visiting you online.
For more information on how to market your business, get started with this awesome resource from Google.
This article was first published on Small Business First. You can see the original content here.