No matter what type of business you run, you need a strong Web presence. These days, entrepreneurs are so focused on building their company's influence on LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social networks, it's easy for them to neglect the company's headquarters on the Web.
Unfortunately, without a good website, you won't be making any sales. You should treat your company's website the way you'd treat any other part of the customer experience. Every aspect should be designed to make it easy for your customers to find you, get in touch, and make a purchase.
1. Master the Basics of SEO
Your website is ultimately for your customers, but for your customers to find your website, you need to build it with Google and other search engines in mind. Where your company ranks for any given search term directly affects your visibility, Web traffic, and ultimately sales.
Search engine optimization is an ever-evolving science and a long-term traffic builder for your site. With Google's recent Panda 4.1 update, localized, relevant content is more important than ever. Everything down to your format and file names are being examined, so pay attention to the details.
I built my entire stand-up paddleboard business with SEO. It's a complex process, but in the end, success boils down to three things: an exceptional product or service, high-quality content on your site, and relevant links from high-quality websites.
2. Make It Easy for Customers to Contact You
No matter how big or small your company, you need detailed contact information for every department on your website. Provide phone numbers, street addresses, and email addresses--not just a static contact form. If you don't provide customers with an easy way to give you their money, they'll give it to someone else.
In addition to making it easy for customers to reach out, adding a live chat function to your website can boost customer interactions, help you answer their questions, and increase conversions. In fact, one study showed that 63 percent of customers are more likely to return to a website that offers live chat.
Implement a tool such as LivePerson on every page of your website. If your company doesn't have a designated customer service person to monitor the chat, you can divvy up the responsibility among all your team members.
3. Develop an Airtight Inbound Strategy
Climbing up the search rankings isn't something you can achieve by treating your website like an island. It takes a Web of inbound links to drive traffic to your site. Reach out to editors and bloggers who publish content relevant to your industry, and ask if you can write a guest post. Then, link back to your own blog to get viewers to your website.
Once you get prospective customers to your site, it's your job to keep your brand top of mind--even if they leave without making a purchase. You should equip your site with a way to capture customers' email addresses so you can stay in touch with relevant content and special offers.
You wouldn't build a brick-and-mortar store in the middle of nowhere with an unlisted phone number. Neglecting SEO or failing to provide customers with a way to contact you is the online equivalent. You're not only getting no virtual foot traffic but also sending the message that you don't really care about your customers.
When building your business online, don't stress about social media until you've taken care of the fundamentals. Make it easy for customers to find your website and hand over their money, and you'll start seeing results.