These days, it's absolutely imperative that small businesses have an online presence. But many make simple but costly errors that can make a huge difference to the success of their business. Avoid the big mistakes small businesses make online, with our advice below.
Here's how to avoid the mistakes most small businesses make
There are 7 common mistakes that many small businesses make , but we'll tell you how best to avoid making them yourself. After all, simply having a website isn't enough to create an effective online presence to approach and attract potential customers.
Pick a reliable and trustworthy web design company
Many web design companies promise the earth but actually deliver very little. Rather than design you a brand new website, they'll simply base your new website around a standard template they use. Simply put, this means the website won't stand out from the crowd. They'll also expect you to write the text yourself. Plus, they won't give you any information about how to optimise the site for Google and the other search engines.
A reliable and trustworthy web design company won't just design a responsive website that is optimised to work on all devices. It will also write the content for you, carry out search engine optimisation to get the site found on Google, host the site on a reliable server and provide ongoing support even after the site is live.
Don't ignore local SEO
A recent study has shown that 97% of internet users are searching for local businesses online. This means that a small business cannot afford to ignore local SEO and its potential benefits. In short, local SEO helps you attract customers who perform searches for a specific location. For example, 'builders in Bromley'. By optimising your website for local queries, you are helping customers discover your business and the services you provide. This will help you reach a new audience that's interested in the most appropriate search results for your target area.
There are four ways you can boost your local SEO;
- Embed a Google Map on your website - A Google Map that links to the Google Plus local listing will allow your business to provide relevant information to your new and existing customers.
- Verify your Google My Business listing - Google My Business allows you to connect your business with your customers. Once you have verified the page, you can update your company details and add the right categories for your business. Adding a relevant description will help customers find out more about your business and therefore increase the chance of attracting more visits.
- Optimise page content and meta tags for local keywords - Adding the town/city to the title tag, page content and meta description can often increase the clicks derived from local search results.
- Use consistent contact information across online profiles - Every business should maintain consistency on its contact information on every online source; be it social media, Google My Business, Yelp or other platforms.
Make sure your website is accessible on different devices
In this day and age, the number of people using their mobile phone or tablet to search for online businesses is increasing exponentially. According to a survey by Google, over 72% of mobile users consider it important for a website to be mobile-friendly. A mobile-friendly/responsive website will also increase the chances of conversion. This makes it absolutely vital that your website is designed and created with mobile and tablet users in mind.
Even a one second delay in a website's loading time can lead to a lost conversion of up to 7%. Similarly, up to 40% of users will leave a website if it takes more than just three seconds to load. Therefore, if your business is to succeed, you must make sure your website's performance is monitored and examined to reduce its loading time. One of the best ways to do this is by having Accelerated Mobile Pages. This recent development from Google increases the number of fast mobile web pages and helps end users enjoy their mobile experience.
Take advantage of customer reviews
Reviews are becoming more and more important with online consumers. In fact, up to 88% of users trusting reviews as much as personal recommendations and word of mouth. Therefore, the more reviews your small business has, the higher the chances of earning trust among potential new customers. Encourage more of your existing customers to provide you with reviews, as they are incredibly effective when highlighted on a website. As online reviews still count as fresh content they're able to contribute to an improved SEO. Surveys state that review signals now account for 9.8% of the total ranking factors that affect a site's position on search results.
Don't let customer service standards slip
Just because you're online, it doesn't mean you won't need to promote the same customer service you provide in-store. While you might not be dealing with customers face-to-face, make sure the customer or online shopper is still engaged with, respected and treated with the same levels of courtesy, politeness and professionalism.
Combine data the right way
Small businesses wanting to expand their online presence have to find a way to measure the effectiveness of their marketing. Marketing isn't just about examining the ROI for the website, it's also about exploring the best method to combine the data between offline, online and mobile marketing. This will identify how you should allocate your budget, find what works and what can also be improved.
Ensure continual communication with your customers
One of the most important things you can do is understand your target customer and pay attention to their needs. Essentially, there is more chance of increasing sales when businesses seek authentic relationships with existing and prospective clients. The best way to do this is to build an online presence and a meaningful relationship with your clients. Two-way communication between you and your customer, everything from the initial user experience to any method of contact, makes a huge difference. This can then be analysed to prove the value and effectiveness of all touchpoints, giving you additional and helpful information.
Want to find out more on how to ensure the best potential success for your business and website? Speak to the web design experts here at Smart Domain Group. We specialise in cost effective web design packages, ongoing marketing, search engine optimisation, hosting, leaflet and brochure design and logo creation. Call us today on 01634 810600 to discuss your website needs with one of our friendly team.
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