One of the main problems that many companies face is that their online presence is considered to be a separate activity to their offline functions. This can be very difficult for people to comprehend, particularly those which are, shall we say, “long in the tooth!” This can lead to many issues with building an online brand and presence.
There are many companies which will have spent thousands of pounds, dollars or any other currency which you may be able to think of, through the process of building their website. Quite often this will generate a small amount of business for a company and generally people will build their website on the basis that it is the “thing to do” as opposed to having an online strategy.
After a period of time this business platform which they may have built will then go stale. Because it isn’t working at this point, most people will consider their website to be a failure and that will be that. Would you make an investment of several thousand pounds on something else and then let it go stale because it didn’t immediately set the world on fire? Some might, but for the majority probably not.
First lets look at the website itself.
If you have an offline business which you are looking to promote online, what is the purpose of the website? Is it to provide information to your customers about whatever it is that you do? Is it to generate leads? Is it to sell products?
Just asking these simple questions will decide the look and feel of the site, so it may need to be a sales page, or perhaps stacked full of information about your business, with different methods of presenting information, through video, audio and articles. Find some examples of what your competitors are doing. This can provide a clear indication as which type of site you should develop. However, they may have got it wrong of course!
So, lets say that we have understood the type of site that we need, next we look at ways of attracting people to this site:
How are people going to find your website. Lets use this analogy, if you are a restaurant owner and your restaurant is tucked down a side street away from the main road how are people going to know you are there? The internet is very similar. Clearly you need to tell people that you are there. So, how do you do this? You can write articles about the types of services and products which you provide. You can demonstrate your expertise through this medium. You could make some videos and post those on video sites.
Your keywords are critical. You need to decide what keywords you want your website to feature for.
Are you going to advertise? If so where. You need to find places which you believe is appropriate for your customers. This might be through using Google advertising, or through other platforms such as Facebook. You want to try to target the correct audience for your products. What about other people’s websites which are in a similar industry of field? You may easily be able to promote your business for little or no cost through these methods (consider JV’s with any business transacted).
If you consider these factors, this will help you to build a long term online presence. You have to be prepared to make changes to the site from time to time, it needs to be versatile and you need to review it as any other part of your business. This process takes time, but if you adapt a structured approach this will make the process a lot easier.