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Like It or Not, Your Online Reputation Matters

These days, before buying anything online, people love to read online reviews: did the product live up to their expectations? Did it work as described? Would they recommend it to a friend or would they opt for something different next time around? We go through all these steps to buy items such as a minor as lipstick or a toaster.

When customers are thinking about an even bigger decision – such as investing in a product or service that your company offers or joining your company as an employee – you better believe they’re going to do their due diligence and research you and your company. And what will they do if they can’t find any information on the internet? Well, chances are, they’ll move on to a similar company that has the information they need readily available online.

More than one-third of small businesses didn’t have a website in 2018, although this figure was expected to shrink to single digits by the end of last year, according to Score. Shocking, we know, since today’s customers and prospective employees all likely have smartphones and are actively looking for information on companies they are interested in doing business with.

A business’s online presence is 2019’s Yellow Pages. In order to attract top talent or prospective customers, you have to have a mobile friendly web presence and properly manage it.

Let Them Find You
When we talk about folks being able to find you, we mean both your prospective customers and your prospective employees. Today, folks are so connected to their smartphones and tablets that the easiest place for them to find you is through online mediums. In fact, in the previously referenced study, a whopping 88 percent of small employers with websites “agree that a website makes it easier for customers to find their business” and get the information that they need to render an informed decision.

Let Them Like You
Potential clients and employees like to see reviews before they make a purchase or commit to a company.  According to studies, 84 percent of consumers surveyed said that they believe a business with a website is “more credible than one with only a social media page.” This is due, in part, to the fact that if it’s your own website, you get to control every aspect of your brand and company’s image, with none of the limitations that come along with social media platforms. That’s not to say there isn’t value in these platforms, but more so that it should complement and drive traffic to an existing website as opposed to being a substitute for one.

Let Them Choose You
More than three-quarters of those surveyed suggested that having a website helped to bring in customers, which, one would hope, would equate to greater sales. Further, a whopping 81 percent of those surveyed indicated that having a functioning website had helped them to grow their business and expand into new markets and territories.

Let Them Work For You
Agreeing to work for a company is akin to making a VERY big purchase in and of itself. Indeed, a new employee is signing on not just to spend a huge chunk of their time with you, but also to promoting your products and services and casting your business in the best possible light at all possible times. With this in mind, you better believe that they’re going to cyber stalk your company to figure out exactly what it is you do, what you stand for, and what life will look like when you’re paying their bills. Having a website allows you to position yourself in the best possible light and really nab that key talent.

Let It Be Compatible
Building a website is one thing, but today it has to be compatible across multiple devices. As we touched on above, people like to use their phones and tablets to do research in their downtime, so if you’re building out a website platform, be sure that it is mobile friendly. Another reason it’s so important? Way back in 2015, Google began dinging companies for not having a mobile-compatible web platform by preventing them from moving up as quickly in the search engine optimization ranks, which means you won’t be a top choice if someone performs a Google search for something your company does.

Building your online presence isn’t a “set it and forget it” situation.  You have to update your website with new content frequently in order to remain searchable, as well as to keep your customers coming back to you.

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