If you’re already trading, or you’re looking to start trading in the near future and you’re not present online, you’ll be missing out on valuable and somewhat essential opportunities. Or maybe you already have your business information online however the content is not at a high quality - this can be even worse! The way upon which customers experience your online presence is ultimately the same way that they will perceive you in reality. Therefore it is essential that your online presence reflects the way you wish your business to be interpreted in reality. I’ve used word experience, because your online presence involves ‘aspects’ that people are not usually aware of in the beginning. Each of these ‘aspects’ requires careful and precise consideration. For this article I will be focusing on the basic website: as a forum that is designed to inform clients and/or customers about your venture. The internet is now considered an essential part of modern day life. But how does the utilization of the internet link with business ventures and finances? It is reported that 95% of British people purchase goods and services over the internet (source) and more importantly that online shopping is estimated to account for £1 in every £7 spent by 2018 (source). Some products are selling even better online than in high street retailers. You may not want to sell your product online at the beginning, but may need to build your online presence. To do it well, remember a few simple things about the online environment:
You are not face-to-face with customer. Your website is.
If your customers have a bad experience with your website, there is little chance that he or she will return. You have only one chance to make a great first impression. Research proves that our automatic evaluations can be very difficult to change (source). Before you go live and start promoting your website, make sure it is giving the best possible picture of your business on each common used browser and device. Ask users for feedback, that way you’ll receive the best possible way to find out what picture your website is projecting. As opposed to a retail shop, where you can easily explain your products and immediately answer any question, the online environment your website has to be as good as your product (the users’ perception).
Website is not a finished product.
...and it shouldn’t act as such! Websites should be live and visitors should have a reason to return. In fact a website is more like a service rather than a product. Probably you can find some typos or grammar errors in this article however since it is live; I can update and improve it every time you visit. That’s one of its advantages, another major advantage is that your website should never be created only by you, but also your customers should be able to contribute to it as well. This way your customers will become more attached with your website and effectively your brand. Another aspect that is important to grasp is that the more valuable your content, the more visitors you’ll receive and more notably – bigger numbers of returning visitors. Content is also important for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), which allows you to “rock” in search engines for given phrases.
Sharable content is an absolute must.
If your content is good enough, you’ll get full engagement from customers. Visitors will start to share the content, increase the number of their interactions on your website and that, simply put, is free publicity and promotion for your website. People tend to buy from stores that were actually recommended by their friends rather than by some visual advertisement. Content that people want to share is vital for the websites returning visitors’ count. Remember, the more visitors, the more possible buyers! Let’s distinguish two types of sharable content: interesting product and interesting post. Your product may be so interesting and outstanding that it will be promoting itself. If it’s not, then you need interesting post.
User experience is a key to success.
Design, usability, reliability these are the most important words for the UX (user experience). Internet years are like a dog years. For every year we know, internet develops so fast like it would be 7 years in physical world. Try to have a website up and running with technology and standards that are 7 years outdated (InCube Top Tip: don’t). Responsive design is the thing of today. Google announced that starting April this year it uses mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal in their algorithms, rewarding websites with responsive design. Responsive design means basically websites adapting to the size of the screen in real time. To check if your website is mobile friendly, you can use Mobile-Friendly Test by Google.
For many businesses obtaining a digital face is a matter of survival. If you lose a customer due to your website, it is extremely difficult to rebuild trust again. Make sure that you understand the significance that online presence has for your business. Do not treat a website as one-off (it has to be part of your ongoing business plans), engage with users and make sure your content is not difficult to access due to bad UX design. That is just a few suggestion that you could consider. Please do not hesitate to let us know what you think! What other suggestion would you give? Feel free to leave a comment in the section below. This article was written by me and was published exclusively on InCube website.
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