As the days of brick-and-mortar retailers fall increasingly into the past, more and more businesses are turning their attention to setting up online. With an estimated 4.2 billion people hooked up to the internet, it’s no wonder business owners are choosing to invest in website design, SEO, and social media marketing over renting out a brick and mortar store.
That being said, according to recent statistics, six out of ten small businesses do not have a website, while 46 percent of businesses do not even have an online presence. Here are some top tips for starting your own successful business online:
Design and build an engaging website
One of the most important first steps to setting up a successful business online is to design and build an interesting and functional website that will attract visitors, create brand recognition and instill a sense of confidence in anyone who ends up browsing your site’s pages.
Whether you seek outside professional help or learn to do it yourself, a good website should always be quick to load, feature engaging visual and written content, feature functioning links, and clearly explains what it is your business provides.
Write copy that sells
Creating simple yet compelling copy that quickly gets to the point, outlines how your company can solve a problem and sparks interest in the reader is a highly effective method for converting visitors to your website into customers. Keeping content brief yet compelling is a skill that can take a while to learn, yet once you have got it, you will undoubtedly be able to increase your customer base.
Copy should focus on how your good or service is able to solve people’s problems, picking out the chief benefits and expanding on them to fit around your target audience. There needs to be some form of tangible benefit for the consumer, as well as making them aware of what they will lose out on should they decide not to follow through with purchasing your product or service.
Other useful tips for writing copy that sells include:
- Summing up the most important benefits: Once you have expanded on the principal benefits, make sure to sum them all up again at the end to save the reader having to go back through the piece to find them themselves. People have notoriously short attention spans when browsing online, therefore anything that aids them in the process is going to be an advantage to you.
- Clearly define the call to action: If, at the end of the copy, there is no clearly defined call to action—prompting the visitor to take an immediate response – then the content has failed to serve its purpose. However, it is important that this is not a forceful prompt; telling someone to ‘BUY NOW’ may only put them off from making the purchase, as it comes across as aggressive and desperate. Instead, take time devising copy that is compelling and subtle.
Use SEO to drive traffic to your site
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website via organic search engine results. This involves improving your website’s positioning in the SERPs so that when internet users type in certain keywords, your site will appear nearer to the top, indicating quality, value and trustworthiness.
There are several ways to improve the SEO of your website. These include the following:
- Consider the readers, rather than the search engine: Search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo! all use clever algorithms to determine where in the SERPs a website will appear. They are so clever, in fact, that they can now detect whether a website has taken steps to manipulate their positioning. Therefore, a better idea is to optimize your content for the reader
- Keep your blog regularly updated with high quality content: Creating written content is up there among the best methods for increasing organic traffic to your site. It allows you to go into more depth on what exactly it is your good or service provides, as well as offering persona-optimized content that will be helpful to your customers. Search engines will recognize this and position your website in their SERPs accordingly.
- Don’t underestimate the effectiveness of long tail keywords: Even if your business model is within a niche market, it is important to adopt the use of long tail keywords to improve your SEO. This could mean that if you are selling wooden rocking horses in Chicago, then you should identify your product as specifically as possible, such as ‘best high-quality wooden rocking horses in downtown Chicago’, rather than simply ‘rocking horses USA’.