I was looking through my black book of ideas and client transaction the other day and came across several business cards I had collected over the years. I decided to check out their websites to see where they were in keeping up with the times. Alas! What I saw was somewhat shocking. Some of the websites were broken, poorly designed or simply not up to date with the times. That is what inspired me to write this article.
One thing I observed about most of these businesses whose online presence wasn’t up to par is that their owners are from an older generation (approximately fifty years or older); Which got me thinking that perhaps they are the traditional people, who simply acquired a website because it was the trend at the time. If there is any truth to this observation then it explains why they have abandoned the management of their online presence and solely focused on their offline dealings. If they are still in business, I would like to think that to a certain degree they are following certain traditions that have kept their client base over the years.
Keeping your business’s online presence up to date is not only good for growth but shows that you care about providing client by providing them with the best. In this day and age perception is everything. If you are not managing your online presence you might as well be losing existing or potential clients to your competition.
Checklist and self-assessment
It is time to do some business soul searching to see if you are keeping up with the times. Sure, you have a website and I applaud you for taking that step already. However, if you are a very traditional person who just acquired a website because it seemed cool at the time you may not realize what standards your website should be meeting in today’s business. So, below are a few checklists to help you in this self-examination.
Brand Uniformity: Does your website match the rest of your identity and branding? People love quality brands they can recognize. Creating a uniform identity via your website helps with this.
User Experience (UX): User experience is a whole science about how your users find information once they arrive at your site. As a business owner you know best how you want your clients to interact with you. However, if you don’t there are a few resources for you out there. This is no different online; you can also direct how you want your clients to interact with you online. Put yourself in your clients’ shoes, when you go to your site is it easy to navigate through your site in as little steps as possible to get to the information you need or is it cluttered and confusing? With the little attention span we have today. If a client goes to your site and can’t find the information they are looking for they will quickly move on to your competitor.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Basically, SEO refers to several practices that allow your site to rank higher in search engines such as Google. This allows your business to be found online much easily (although it’s not an exact science). If you have a marketing department that is technologically savvy they will most likely be aware of various SEO practices. If you don’t, then your website designer should at least know basic SEO like including Meta tags in your site code. The question for you is, is your website SEO ready?
Mobile Responsiveness: Today we as people are more tech savvy than we have ever been. I am almost willing to bet that you have a smart phone in your possession. Most people get their information on the go through their phone and most of the old sites out there aren’t mobile responsive. This means the site doesn’t appear properly when viewed through a phone. The good news is that by hiring the right web designer you can have your website mobile responsive. A mobile responsive site will allow you to view your site either as it was intended on a desktop computer or to view the mobile version. Take out your phone now and look up your site online to see how it’s faring.
Apps and Mobile Apps: In addition to having a website it is now becoming a standard among businesses to have apps that makes interacting with their customers much easier. Imagine having your own app that lets customers who are nearby your business know that you are having a special. You can now send out notifications which they can get on their phones via your app which they have downloaded. This saves you time, money and helps to grow your customer base by making things much easier for them.
There’s more to everything that has been mentioned above, including incorporating social media into your website and being able to drive sales through that means. If you are still in the minority of businesses who still don’t have a website or understand why you need one. Here’s a short video that will show you the why. It is time to take that giant step. You don’t have to do it alone if you are the traditional type. Keeping up with the times in terms of your online presence doesn’t mean giving up good old traditional customer service. It simply means you are providing better service. If technology isn’t your strong suit you should hire a web design professional like Uzo Design and interns to help with your site and social media pages updates.