Small Business and Tech

7 Online Elements Every Small Business Needs for Success

The online world grows in power every year – like neurons in a giant brain, we’re all connected by the internet. And your business needs to be in there, connecting with all those potential customers. Here are some tips to help you maximise the sales impact of your online presence.

If you are looking to drive efficiency within your business, see this article here.

  1. A great website

Having a website isn’t optional, it’s absolutely compulsory. Even if you’re not selling goods or services online, a website positions you as a credible business. If you don’t have one, you immediately look dodgy or amateurish.

A decent website doesn’t have to be expensive, however it will require some investment. You need a site that is ‘responsive’, which means it automatically re-sizes to the device your potential customer is using. It also needs to have a level of SEO (search engine optimisation), so that your business shows up in search results (preferably on the first page). If your business is in a highly competitive sector, this could be challenging – that’s where Google Ads can help (see below).

From a visual point of view, your website needs to reflect your brand look and feel. It’s essentially your front door, so make sure it’s smart and inviting. There are some amazing templates available to help you build a smart-looking website that impresses visitors.

  1. Good website security

There are some horror stories out there about sites that get hacked by fraudsters. If you have weak security, these lowlifes will do things like add 20,000 fake ecommerce pages to the back end of your site. You won’t know it’s happened until Google tells you there’s a problem and blacklists your website. To gain access to your website, the fraudsters install malware in your files.

Security problems can occur with popular website platforms like Word Press, Drupal and SquareSpace, but only when templates with little or no security are used. If you use a security tool like Word Fence to protect your Word Press site, and you do all the necessary updates, you’ll probably have no problems.

  1. Google Ads when your SEO’s not working

Local SEO should always be a top priority for you. However if you’re in a category that has lots of players, like graphic designers, then you can pay to be at the front of the search results with Google Ads. When you see ‘Ad’ in a little box next to the URL in the search results, you’re looking at a Google Ad. It’s not free, of course, but you can set a daily budget to avoid overspending.

There are many online pages dedicated to teaching you how to use Google Ads, as well as video tutorials on You Tube. Learn up and off you go!

  1.  Every form of contact

If your business has been around for a few years, you might be expecting customers to call you or drop into your office, because that’s the way it’s always been done. But things have changed. Now customers want to choose how they communicate with you. If they’re email kind of people, they’ll expect their emails to be answered. If they’re text kind of people, they want a quick response to a text enquiry. If they like to complete online website contact forms, you’d better be good at responding.  Ideally, all channels should arrive on a single screen of your sales computer, so that they get equal visibility and attention. This is called ‘unified communications’ and it’s important for making sure your sales people never drop the ball.

  1. Smart use of social media

Being all over Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn can be good for business, but only if the channel is suited to your audience. If your clients are other businesses, Facebook might not be appropriate. But LinkedIn and Twitter could be really useful. If your customers are household shoppers, Facebook could be very valuable. If you want to grow a following, make sure your posts aren’t too hard sell. Keep it light and social (unless you’re a charity with a desperate human or animal cause that needs greater awareness).

  1. Blogs that show off your competence

Everybody loves to deal with an expert, and blogging can be an excellent way to establish your expertise. Your blog should be part of your website, rather than on a separate platform, so that you attract traffic to your other pages. To make your blogs more powerful, try to link them to a longer search phrase that people commonly use, like ‘best architect for reclads’ or ‘how to cook lamb racks properly’. Make sure the blog includes plenty of relevant useful information that makes you look knowledgeable. Aim for between 300 and 500 words for every blog.