The environment of the web is continually changing, the weighted importance of real-time content, social integration and mobile compatibility rising significantly in the last few years. These changes are creating opportunities and challenges for companies and organizations of all scales and experience depending on adaptability and preparation.
Your online presence is created by the ongoing conversation between the website (your virtual storefront), fresh and relevant content, and your community (social media integration).
The first step is to lock down your brand, define your identity and stick to it. Create your website to reflect your company’s purpose and ideals, while keeping visual elements consistent. If you removed your logo, would visitors still recognize it as your brand?
The ease of use of your site for both the visitor and the content manager is one of the most important elements for online success. Establish a clear purpose and goals for the site’s foundation. Develop a strategy to encourage visitors to take action and draw out a sitemap to support your goal. Navigation and layout should be simple and intuitive, promoting the visitor to explore.
Create your site in a content management system that allows you to easily and comfortably update and add content. It is increasingly important that your site stay fresh and offer your audience a reason to return. This not only positions you as a knowledgeable resource, but also improves your position in search results.
The shift to mobile web browsing is expected to overcome traditional browsing in the next few years, making the effectiveness of your website heavily reliant on its ability to maintain functionality across devices. You should know your audience and what devices they use, but your site should ideally perform across all platforms. The recommended method is to create one responsive design layout, versus creating and updating multiple devise-specific sites.
Integrating media outlets will allow you to operate more effectively and efficiently, while stimulating real-time conversation in the community. Your involvement in the various social media platforms will vary depending on your business. Carefully select which of these will be the most effective in achieving your goals and commit to evolving your brand’s presence in each. Tools are readily available to integrate posts from one platform to another, saving you time and increasing exposure. Even with a wealth of content, only posting to your own site will most likely not create the following or involvement you desire.
In the era of the web, creating your presence online can be equally, if not more important than a brick-and-mortar establishment as many people start the purchasing process with research online. Integrating your brand’s vision with its website, relevant content, and community will establish your company as an authority in the industry and could be the deciding factor in whether or not you make the sale.