Monday, August 10, 2020

Businesses Need a Good Web Presence to Survive a Pandemic

In this age of coronavirus pandemic, online presence management has become more crucial than ever before for small businesses.


The COVID-19 pandemic has completely turned the world upside-down. With a global toll of 33 million cases (and counting), and no definitive vaccine, intense lockdowns and quarantines have become more the norm than the exception. Homes and rooms have now become the center of activity for practically everyone – with people both living and working from home. The business world has borne the brunt of this impact as well – many a great company have withered and died in the multi-faceted chaos that the coronavirus has caused. It goes without saying that in situations such as these, having a subpar web presence is not an option for any business, let alone small businesses.

All said and done, it does not always have to be this dreary – especially if you are a small enterprise. Despite the uncertain times, the one decisive factor remains – with more people stuck in place, more and more people are spending time on the internet. For small businesses especially, this can be a distinct advantage. Large-scale businesses need premium solutions and wide-ranging campaigns to stay relevant and consistent with their customer base. Smaller ones, one the other hand, can start converting by amping up their online presence with the right combination of free solutions and constant involvement with customers and prospects.

Here are 5 ways in which in which small businesses can ensure they have a good web presence:

Take Advantage of Business Listings

Getting themselves listed in business directories is one of the first and best steps any small business can take towards building up their online presence. Some of the major directories serve multiple purposes. First and foremost, they help customers find key information about the store in one place. This includes the location, areas served, products and services, and contact information. Secondly, these listings also have reviews and rating scores provided by past customers, which gives businesses their much-needed authenticity. Last but not the least, the more listings a business has that are consistent with accurate information, the better it may be for their website ranking and Search Engine Optimization (S.E.O.) efforts.

Many business directories such as Google My Business, Yelp, Better Business Bureau and AngiesList offer basic services for free. Any small business can and should immediately take advantage of this by claiming their place (i.e. if they haven’t already). As a rule of thumb, owners should regularly check and update their business listings with relevant information such as description, business hours, location, email, phone number, and social media handles. Adding new images of the business and asking customers reviews on these listings is also highly recommended especially on Google.


Amp Up Your Social Media Strategy

Social media has already been the center of online activity for most, and the COVID-19 pandemic has made it even more so. This is a prime opportunity for small businesses to reach out to and engage with potential customers through social media platforms. In the event that you don’t have dedicated company social media pages, getting started is easy and is completely free to begin with. That said, most business tend to have accounts on major social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram – this makes it a matter of keeping them populated.

Make sure that the social media pages are optimized for searching, have all the up-to-date business information, and a consistent supply of content. This can include website links (such as blog posts), business images and media (mainly videos), comments on current situations, and even interactive content such as giveaways and polls. If your product and/or service can be sold online, you can even integrate social shopping. Make sure to reply to comments and messages – this shows that you as a business are proactive and ready to engage with your followers – customer or not.

Make Sure You Have a Professional Website

In today’s day and age, a website practically functions as a business card. It will be a go-to resource for both current and prospective customers, making it critical for businesses to keep theirs completely up-to-date on all points. This can only be possible by having a professional website. Contrary to a standard website, which has basic design elements, supports basic texts and pictures, and has no SEO optimization, professional websites offer businesses the ability to add every feature they could possibly need.

Flexible in nature, professional websites support the latest and the best off-page, on-page and contextual SEO, which helps them rank higher on search engines -and helps the business stand out online. They can support any type of design aesthetic, along with interactive features such as photorealistic imaging, virtual tours, polls, contact forms. Last but not the least, you can also include the online sales of your products and/or services through these websites through ecommerce plugins and online ordering, both of which can be easily integrated here.

Be Proactive in Promoting Your Brand

Having a great professional website with adaptive design, engaging social media pages, and high-end features are definitely the best way to start when boosting your online presence, but people do need to know more about them. In a world of competition and abundance, the only way for a small business to make themselves known is by proactively promoting their brand. The best way to go about this is through paid advertising. This is a technique that allows businesses to improve their online presence by promoting their business on Google, top search engines and social media.

There are a few types of paid advertising. One of these is Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC) – these are the advertisements that typically appear on the right side and top end of search engine results. As the name suggests, these charge by the click made by a prospect. Another great method is online display advertising. These are featured on the top, side, and bottom of various websites. Besides the obvious, these advertisement methods help businesses collect important data such as behavioral and contextual metrics, which in turn helps them streamline their online marketing and advertising better.

Improving your web presence may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The above-mentioned ways can help small business cement their place online, draw prospects and convert sales in the best way possible.