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How to improve your online presence

Laptop showing the search engine Google
Photo: 377053 from Pixabay

It is every entrepreneur’s dream to have his/her business flourish in every way possible. Contrarily, this is becoming harder and harder each day as competition is becoming more intense due to businesses now having to play on the global level. Dreams, however, can still come true if the right strategies are employed. As an entrepreneur, one needs to ‘read the times’  for him/her to keep up with the fast-changing business environment. You should understand that the era we are living in right now is the technological era, where almost everyone is turning to technology for solutions. Rather than looking for solutions physically, people are opting to use the internet. It is therefore of paramount importance that as a solutions provider, you are at the right place at the right time, employing the right tools to withstand the fierce competition.  When prospective clients come looking for solutions online, be there. 

There are measures that can be taken to ensure that your presence is felt online. These are:

  • Having a functional website 
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
  • Finding the perfect hosting provider
  • Choosing the right domain name
  • Installing an SSL certificate on your website and,
  • Maximum utilisation of social media platforms

A detailed explanation on each of the measures is provided below.

Having a functional website 

A website is a very powerful marketing tool so the first step that you should take towards making your business visible online is having your website developed in the right way. By ‘right way’ I mean the website should be able to attract prospective clients as well as sell the products and services as intended. To achieve this end one should make sure that he/ she chooses the best web developer for the job. There are two major aspects you should consider when having a website developed. These are:

  • Functionality/Usability
  • Design 

Functionality/Usability

Today’s business environment is highly competitive so to survive you should have your website developed in a way that puts you at the top. Make sure that your website is designed in such a way that your visitors will find it easy to read, navigate and understand. The visually impaired should also be taken into account when having your website developed. Choosing a professional website developer will ensure that this is achieved. It is also of much importance that the website gets proper testing before launching.  I’m sure no one would want the website to malfunction whilst a potential client is visiting. This will give an impression that you are not professional at what you are doing, even if your products are the best. 

It is also essential for your website to be mobile friendly for a great number of customers will prefer browsing using their mobile phones. Stay ahead of others by making sure that your business is accessible on all devices.

Design

Beautifully designed websites are bound to attract more visitors so you have to be careful when choosing the design for your website. This includes the colors that you are going to use as well as the organisation of the website. Most web visitors will leave your website without even viewing your products or services if they feel that your website is not friendly enough or if your website does not catch their eye.

SEO(Search Engine Optimisation)

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the most significant factors you should take into consideration when you want to improve your online presence. Search engine optimization when defined in simple terms, refers to the process that website owners go through to ensure that their sites get top rankings in search engines, for example Google.  A good website design is the first step towards effective search engine optimization. 

Whereas humans are attracted by pictures and videos and are able to understand what those visuals mean, search engines ‘see’ differently. What may seem beautiful to the human eye may be confusing to a search engine. This is due to search engines detecting things that are not visible to the human eye, for example titles, headers and descriptive text. If therefore, your site has some components that are mislabeled or missing altogether, your website will get low rankings on search engines. 

It is also important for one to know that whenever a keyword is typed in the search box, the search engine filters through millions and millions of websites and displays those that it finds easy to understand and are of good quality. Having your website developer include some key words and components and key words when developing your website is therefore of paramount importance. One should also be aware that people in this era want to find things easily so it would be wise to use keywords that people usually use. 

Search engines also get an idea about your website using other sources, for example social media platforms and other websites. It is therefore important to improve the information concerning your website that is found on other sites.

Finding the best hosting provider

Having a professional and reliable website hosting provider is also another way of improving your online presence or visibility. One may ask how web hosting contributes to online presence, but the speed at which a page loads affects a website’s ranking on google. It is therefore of significance that a website owner finds a hosting provider that offers excellent services. 

The hosting package chosen should also have enough bandwidth and storage space. It will be a major drawback for a visitor to try and access the website, only to find that your website is not accessible because you have run out of bandwidth or storage. Your hosting provider should be able to help you keep your website running always.

Choosing the right domain name

A domain name is the name that is used to access your website online. A properly formulated domain name will ensure that you are easily found on the internet. When choosing your domain name try to choose something that is catchy and easy to remember. This should also give a hint about what your core business is. With the fierce competition for clients that is in the business environment, it is best to use a short and precise domain name. If clients find your domain difficult to remember or too long, it is possible that they will opt for another website. 

Choosing the right prefix or extension for your domain is also a crucial part in improving your online presence. Extensions like .com, .org, .net and country domains like .co.za, .co.zw are among the top ranking extensions. The right domain name will most likely attract more customers to your website.

SSL Certificates

When customers visit your website they want to feel safe. They want to feel that the personal information that they are providing on your website is protected from prying eyes. If they feel that they are not safe, they will leave your website and you would have lost potential clients. A way to make your customers feel secure when visiting your website is by installing an SSL Certificate. One might ask what is an SSL certificate? An SSL certificate is a digital certificate that is installed on a website to enable encryption of the data that is shared between your website and the browser that your web visitor is using. This encryption prohibits third parties or hackers from accessing information. 

Installing an SSL certificate does not only increase the trust of website visitors but it also improves your ranking on Google. Google gives top ranking to those websites that are secured. It also warns web visitors when they visit a website where there is no certificate installed thereby eroding their trust. Having a high ranking from google is a positive step towards gaining popularity online.

Maximum utilisation of Social media platforms

If there is any greater way of reaching a tremendous amount of prospective clients it is through social media platforms. Almost everyone is part of one social media platform or the other. It is therefore essential for an entrepreneur to utilize all social media platforms for example, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin to improve visibility online. There are three major things that one should do to get the best out of social media platforms. These are:

  • Having an understanding of how each platform works
  • Linking accounts to your website
  • Interacting with the audience

Having an understanding of how each platform works

It is important for one to have a proper understanding of how each platform works and what type of audience one can find there, for example, you should understand that LinkedIn is for professionals and educative articles rather than promotions should be shared. Facebook, on the other hand is perfect for promotional material. To utilize Social media platforms effectively, you should, therefore,  do a thorough research on what type of content to post. Keep it in in mind that as an entrepreneur, you should provide valuable content to your audience. In the process you should try to use ways to captivate their attention, for example, visual material like videos and pictures. 

Linking accounts to your website

Another important thing that you should not forget is to link your profile to your website. Every post on your page should provide access to your website via a link.  Remember, the aim of creating a page will be to try and attract as many people as possible and then at the end of the day, convert them to clients. Therefore, make sure that you provide access to the services you offer always.

Interaction with the audience

Interaction with the audience on your social media platforms is a significant factor you should take into consideration when you want your presence to be felt. You should always employ good public relations to keep your audience interested. Make it a point to try to engage with your audience, make them feel that you are present. If someone posts on your page, make an effort to reply and always be professional when doing so even when they are not. If someone has a grievance, make every effort to assist them in the most professional way possible. Good customer service will always put you in the lead.  

To sum up, an improved online presence can help you reach a large number of potential clients which will in turn drive your sales upwards. Employing the measures provided above can help you, as an entrepreneur, to improve your online presence and stay on top of your game.

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