Establishing a Positive Online Image

It is so important that you take a defensive stance when it comes to your online business presence. The same way you buy insurance to protect your car in the event of an accident, you need to start proactive conversations about your business online. The best way to begin is with a website, it is the perfect platform to build your credibility and accurately portray your business. This is your opportunity to tell the world all the wonderful things about your business. You are in essence generating a list of good characteristics of your business. I would recommend these tips:

1. Make sure your website has enough information to answer the most common questions.
One of the most common online complaints is always related to difficulty contacting the business owner to resolve an issue. You almost need to think of your website as an employee working for you (24 hours a day – 7 days a week) to answer the most common questions people might have about your business. Simple things like the hours of operation, contact information and social media links should be available on your website. You want to make sure your website is easy to navigate so people can find what they need.

2. Incorporate a Blog
I will frequently recommend having a blog, provided the client has the time to post to it regularly. It is very manageable to post to your website once a week, or at minimum twice a month. But if you know you can’t post to it on a consistent basis, then avoid a blog completely. An empty blog or a blog with the last post from 3 years ago will do nothing to help your business image. Some ideas for blog posts would be to talk about new business offerings, promote seasonal specials, offer tips or give your viewpoint on events happening in your industry. Search engines judge the value of your website by the quality and quantity of information available on it. So having a website with 10 pages is ok, but if you are blogging regularly you can grow your website by 50 pages a year, giving your website a huge boost in the number of pages and making your business look more substantial. But be sure that you are creating solid original content.

3. Review your competitors’ websites
Your clients are looking at your website and also the ones of your competitors. Do you ever look at your competitors’ websites? How does your website compare? Is your website mobile friendly? More that 50% of new customers search for you on their phones or tablets. If your competitors’ websites all have beautiful mobile websites and you don’t, that will work against you.

4. Explore social media
There are many social platforms available. Focus on one social media platform, master it, and then try another one always making sure to reference your website on each new account and set a regular schedule to publish content to each one of them. If you use a product like WordPress it is easy to specify which posts from your website are sent to the other social media platforms. Alternate which posts go to which social media location.

5. Keep your website and all of your social media accounts active.
Once these accounts are established, you need to actively monitor them on a regular basis, watching for any comments, good or bad. Engage those clients with questions, and address any issues or problems you see discussed. Keep in mind that a very minor change to your website tells your clients that your business is active and thriving.

All of these suggestions will help you to build a more substantial web presence and have more control of the image of your business or organization. In the rare event that you receive a bad review on one of the social media sites, use it to demonstrate your willingness to help that client by turning that problem into a winning solution. Turn that negative into a positive. That could be even more beneficial for your business.

If you are interested in having your online presence evaluated, contact Irene@PathwayWebDesigns for a Website Audit.

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