Three Steps to Being Found Online

by Blog Back to Basics

Some businesses wonder if they can afford a web presence beyond their Services and Contact Details. However with more time spent online than ever before, it’s an opportunity that cannot be missed. This is a series on the basics of getting started, being found, creating content and building a brand.

A credible business website needs to be up-to-date, accessible, engaging, mobile compatible and search engine optimised (SEO). Depending on your budget, find a good website designer who will customise a template or create a bespoke site for you. Or of course you can update your existing site with new language and images. Either way, an up-to-date website is an online version of your business or organisation. It presents who you are, what you do and what matters to you, to your existing clients or potential customers.

Step 1 - Tell the World Who You Are and What You Do (but not all at once)

Your website is your opportunity to tell your story - who you are and what you do - and in turn let your customers know why they need you. Unfortunately some businesses take this literally and their websites are jam-packed with everything you ever might possibly want to know about them AND everything that they offer. And that's just on the first page.

A good copywriter will write great content about your business. Content that's just right for your customer. Homepage content should be visually compelling, with language that's simple and invitational. You just want to get your customer inside the door and let them know they are in the right place. Once inside, you've earned the right to tell them a bit more. Always mindful that it's about what you can do for them.

Creating regular quality content provides your customer with something extra too. A place of advice and expertise. Alongside good social media engagement, this also creates activity for search engines to find. It indicates a healthy pulse and just like a seasonal window display, visual merchandising, and good footfall, it tells the neighbourhood that you are up and running and open for business. And it tells Google that it can reliably pass on your details to whoever is looking for what you have to offer. I write more about this here.

Step 2 - Optimise Your Website

Optimising your site is an ongoing process which takes place both up front and behind the scenes of your website. It enables you to be found more easily by search engines. On screen all the content text, images, audio and video need to be great quality, as well as tagged and keyword relevant. Search engines, particularly Google, use complicated algorithms to assess and rank your website using these keywords and tags, increasing its 'find-ability'.

Every time someone hits ‘search’ Google scours the internet in microseconds for all the sites containing the most relevant material. Relevance however is determined by a number of factors as well as quality content. Such is the sophistication of these algorithms that they can discern between poor, rarely visited sites, over-stuffed with keywords, and instead choose to return those sites that they consider contain quality content and genuine links to and from other trusted sources. And with much internet activity originating from smartphone users, mobile compatible sites are increasingly important as search engines are less likely to return an incompatible site to a mobile user. According to Ofcom, smartphones have overtaken laptops as the most popular device for getting online. Two thirds of people now own a smartphone, using it for nearly two hours every day to browse the internet, access social media, bank and shop online.

Step 3 - Engage with Social Media

Make the best use of whatever platforms are most appropriate for your business. Each of them acts like a signpost pointing potential customers, interested parties and possible collaborators, in the direction of your website and your business. However communication is not all one way.

Being active on social media is an extension of your website presence and gives customers and potential clients the opportunity to engage with you, so that you can be virtually present in neighbourhoods where you might not - yet - be physically present.

What's Next?

So you've got a website. One that's well-written, well-ranking, and mobile compatible. And you need an attractive social media presence to engage with your customers, and potential customers, providing them with content that's relevant, informed and persuasive. Need a hand? I know just the team.