As a small business owner, you do everything you can to look professional and present yourself well to your customers. But how about your digital image — do your customers see you the same way online? Here are five website signs you should look out for and follow to give your image a makeover on the Web.
1. It’s under construction
Does your business have a website? Is it live online, and finished, or still under construction? In 2014, if you’re not representing yourself online, you’re missing out on customers. These days, an estimated 97 percent of consumers use online media to shop locally. Building a professional website doesn’t need to be hard or expensive; there are affordable online tools that make it easy to claim your own custom domain name and design your own website online, for as little as $1 per month.
2. It’s old
OK, so your business does have a website. When was the last time you updated it? Does it have recent photographs of your product, service, storefront, and you or your employees? Is it using up-to-date design formats? If you last updated your website in 1999, you are not putting your best foot forward to customers.
3. It doesn’t work with mobile phones
Not using a mobile phone while you’re driving is a good thing — but having a website that doesn’t work on mobile is not. With roughly 50 percent of all local searches performed on mobile devices, you can’t afford to miss out. And if you do, Google® reports that 57 percent of these customers wouldn’t recommend a business with a bad mobile site.
It’s easy to make your website mobile-ready; many do-it-yourself website creation services will do this for you automatically.
And if your current website isn’t mobile-friendly, mobile-optimized or, even better, responsive, there are separate services that will automatically convert your site to a mobile-friendly version. You can learn more about responsive websites vs. native mobile apps here.
4. You can’t be found from the ‘highway’
Much like local businesses want to be in high-traffic places, you want your business to show up in high-web-traffic places. Sites like Google®, YP.com™ and, depending on your business, Yelp®, TripAdvisor® and many others can make or break the discoverability of your business online. With many of these sites, you can even create your own business listing for free.
The key here is researching and figuring out the important sites for your business — by asking your customers or even your friends — “How did you/would you find my business online?” Keep track of these answers, and make sure your business name, address, phone number, service description, pictures and as many details as possible shows up. For sites that accept reviews, encourage your happy customers to write up reviews on your business. Want a convenient way to create listings on dozens of local sites all at once? Check out GoDaddy’s Get Found service.
5. You’re not ‘in the mall’
In the digital world, the equivalent of the shopping mall is selling online — whether it’s literally selling in an online marketplace like eBay®, Amazon®, or Etsy® — or setting up your own website to present your products, take payments and process orders. Selling your products or services online isn’t for everyone — a lawyer is unlikely to want one-click purchasing, for example. But if you have unique products or services that are easy to represent online through pictures and descriptions, that have fairly straightforward pricing, and that can be shipped or downloaded, then selling online might be for you.
With U.S. online retail growth now far outpacing overall retail sales growth, the opportunity is there. Marketplaces make it easy to get started selling online. Setting up your own online store is also much easier now than in the past. Specifically designed for the non-technical business owner, all-in-one online tools include a full website, a shopping cart system, integrated credit-card processing, and product pages and presentment.
Want help setting up your online store? Give us a call at 480.505.8877. We’ll get you selling in no time.