Start a business, build a website.
They go hand-in-hand. It’s more than just online sellers who need a good site to feed their business. Literally any business can find new customers, stay in contact with established ones, and build their bottom line by operating a good website.
But like anything, a website is a two-edged sword. If you don’t handle it correctly, it can cut you deep. There are three major areas where a lack of attention to your website can do more harm than having no website at all.
Technology has given us thousands of new ways to interact, create, and store. The companies that develop new methods of computing and communicating are quick to advertise their benefits, but not enough consumers really understand the vulnerabilities associated with new technology or what they need to do to be safe.
The cloud is a perfect example. Many people simply hear that it has plenty of storage for their files and can be accessed from anywhere. What they miss is that it’s only as good as the digital security software you use. Failing to create an adequate level of protection against hackers can allow them access to literally anything you have stored there, which can be disastrous.
If you operate a website for your business, you will not only have product information and sensitive company information. You will also have information about customer payment methods, personnel, and your own banking data. Should that information fall into the wrong hands, the results could take years to clean up. And if you don’t think it will happen to you, hire a security firm to see if they can pull it off. The results will probably be frightening, but they’ll at least convince you to take action before real hackers strike.
Search Engine Optimization
Have you ever searched for the same term several different times and always gotten the same top results? That’s not by accident. That’s called search engine optimization, and it’s a powerful tool to help bring customers to your website.
The modern consumer starts online when searching for almost any good or service, because he or she knows there will be plenty of results. When the results come back, most clicks go to one of the first few sites. If you’re on the second page of results, you’re probably lost.
Yet you may be the best match of all. Getting search traffic to find you and rank you high enough to get that attention is a science all its own, and once you set up a website, your next step needs to be finding a SEO firm to help it happen.
There is an old axiom that customers tell one friend about a good experience with a company but tell seven friends about a bad one. The result of this is that your negative moments get a disproportionate amount of attention. If this goes on for very long, you can be out of business very quickly.
The proliferation of online review systems like Yelp, as well as the buzz of social media, can do more in hours to define your business reputation than you could have done in years of traditional word of mouth. So it’s key to make sure that the loudest voice doesn’t dominate the online conversation with distortions, half-truths, or isolated bad experiences.
Reputation management is all about getting a fair, accurate picture of your business online. We all have the occasional breakdown in our systems, bad employee, or other hiccup in our operations. We can make changes and get the ship back upright very quickly, but if the wrong customer has interacted with you during that exception, it will quickly become the rule. Find a good reputation management company and partner with them to help keep your online presence as positive as possible.
No company can succeed today without a good online presence. But if it’s mishandled, the decline of the firm can be accelerated to breakneck speed. Some simple steps in the planning and upkeep of your site can keep it from happening to you, and those steps are a worthwhile investment in your future.