The internet has come such a long way over the years. The most recent jump in numbers and popularity is largely due to the huge impact of social media sites. In addition to this, the fact that smartphones and other mobile devices have become so much more affordable since the release of the very first iPhone also adds to the increased appeal of everything online. With so many more people accessing the web on a daily basis (and some spending several hours each day online), it stands to reason that businesses need to leverage this for the sake of their own success.
The reality however, is that most small businesses don’t even have their own websites and they are hardly bothered with all the “complexities” of online reputation management. Creating and maintaining a positive online presence need not be as complicated as many professionals make it out to be. Like everything else in life, you simply need to know what you want and tackle each hurdle one at a time.
Here’s a list of the main areas you need to be focusing on:
If you want to be successful online, you need to be online. Start by choosing a domain name and get working on your very own company website. It doesn’t need to be too complicated but it should be professionally done and well planned. Make sure that it’s easy to use and that visitors will be able to find the information they seek quickly rather than feeling like they are being twirled around in circles.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO is a vital part of any online campaign. If you don’t optimize your website and all online profiles (including social media pages and blog posts) you won’t be able to attract the right traffic. Take the time to read through Google’s guidelines and rules regarding SEO practices. White hat SEO refers to acceptable practices while black hat SEO refers to the kinds of spammy practices that could land you a penalty. For example, you want to include the right keywords but you don’t want to put them in everywhere so that the quality of your content is in any way compromised. A strong link building strategy is also part of good SEO practices and there are some important rules regarding this that you will need to observe at all times.
With an increasing number of internet users going mobile, it makes sense that your site should cater to the mobile market. This does not necessarily mean that you will need two separate websites, and Google recommends that you have just one single website in order to avoid duplicating content. Instead, consider something like a Responsive Web Design. This type of design, in simple terms, means that it will adjust its appearance based on the specifications of the user’s device, so whether they are using a smartphone, tablet or desktop computer, the site will adjust to make it easy to read and navigate. In addition, studies have revealed that many users surf the web on one device and make a purchase or continue surfing from a different device. If you have more than one type of website and the user wants to access a URL they saved somewhere or locate the same page they were on before, they can run into difficulties. If you have just one website, users can access the same site, same information and same URLs regardless of the device. They will also be able to share URLs with other people and you can be sure that, regardless of the device the message recipient is using, they can still access that page.
As mentioned earlier, social media sites are becoming increasingly popular each day. Not only are sites like Facebook, YouTube and Google+ winning over more users each day but there are new platforms being created at record speed, and many of them seem to have almost overnight success around the globe. Social media really has changed the way we do business and the way we live our lives. If you take the time to consider how many of your customers have at least one social media profile, you will begin to understand why it’s so important to leverage this opportunity to grow your customer base and stay in touch with your existing clients at the same time.
Online marketing comes in many shapes and forms and you can promote your website so that it shows up at the very top of Google’s search results. Alternatively, you could look into advertising on Facebook, Twitter and other similar platforms. Online marketing also includes such measures as promoted posts, promoted status updates and so on. This means that your sponsored (or paid) status update will show up on many more news feeds based on the criteria you enter. The type of advertising you choose will depend on your budget and it’s always a good idea to let an advertising campaign run its course before making and snap judgements. It’s not realistic to expect instant results but, at the same time, if it’s not paying off after a period of time you can bring it to an end and try a different approach.
Online reputation management is like online PR to a certain degree. You cannot control what people communicate verbally about your company, or what’s said about you on the web. The advantage with the online approach is that you can actually see and read what people are saying, so if somebody posts a nasty rant about how the product, then you have the opportunity to redeem yourself by making a personal comment for all to read, and attend to their problem in the same public manner. Future readers will notice your efforts to remedy the situation, and by solving an unhappy client’s problem, you will be able to win them back.
Google analytics is just one source of analytical data that can help tell you how you are doing online. Social media sites like Facebook also have their own analytical data provisions to help you gauge your success so there is no need to feel as though you are wondering around in the dark and just hoping for the best.
Hire a professional
Even small businesses can benefit from the dedication and expertise of a professional. Managing your website, social media profiles and overall online reputation really is a full time job and it does require a fair amount of skills and knowledge. If you are one of those business owners who simply doesn’t have the time to be tied to a desk all day, then consider hiring an in house professional or sign up with a company that has a team ready to get you in top shape online and keep you there.
At Vizz Media, we have a full team of experts trained and experienced in doing just that. From web design and logo creation to reputation management, advertising campaign management and all things social, we’ve got you covered from A – Z. With top quality and customer satisfaction, we focus on offering our clients the full package. There’s no need to source different services from several providers when you can have everything conveniently handled under one roof instead.