Why Have A Website?
Why Is Digital Presence Important?
Here are a few reasons why you should have a good overall web presence, including a website, but not just a website on its own.
Plus a few tips on how to manage your overall web presence to get the best from it, as it constantly needs attention, just like a shop window.
The times they are a changin’. Everybody Googles everything, including you. It would have been a good idea to establish a really good web presence ten years ago before the COVID, Ukraine, and looming Recession. But failing that, now is the next best time to address this. This is the foundation for your Marketing activity in the landscape of the 2020s.
We all go online looking for news, recipes and gifts, suppliers and services, restaurants and takeaways, or when researching information. It used to be important to be in the Yellow or Golden Pages, but that is passé now. We all need to be able to be found online when someone is Googling or looking online for us, our services, or our products. People do a search and want answers immediately 24/7/365, so we have to turn up when they search to offer that service. Preferably at the top of the results page. This is down to SEO Search Engine Optimisation.
How we appear, when we do get found, will define what people think of us, if they find us at all and it will dictate their next click or action. That web presence is our shop window, so it needs to be dressed well, to showcase our company, business, products, or services. We do need to optimise our website design or web presence so that we get found by the very people we want to reach. It does not happen by chance or just because you have a website – far from it. We can also save a lot of time by using the web to offer Customer Support, answer questions, and provide FAQs or Guides, like the one, you are reading. Or you can offer a Live Chat or email response. This allows people to ask a question when it suits them. We just have to be open to getting these queries via Live Chat, Email, Snaps, Facebook Messenger, GBP, Whats App, etc.
This is a huge opportunity for all of us. Now we can market to a wider or to a specific audience. We can make widgets in Ireland and sell them in Iowa. Design houses in Dublin and sell them to builders in Dubai. Catch crab in Donegal and sell them to fishmongers in Osaka. We can sell online, we can communicate online, and we can do meetings or hold events online. And we can use any marketing medium to send people to our web presence, where they can then engage with us.
Compete on the online High Street
As ever the big retailers and brands or large firms are prolific online. Why? They realise that they need to turn up and they will optimise and advertise online to get found. The glossy magazines get less and less advertising spend, as it goes online now to Google Ads, Linkedin and Facebook advertising etc. But, there is a wonderful opportunity for smaller, niche professional services suppliers to compete with the big guns. The web can be a great equaliser. The big spenders may get found, but the smaller guys can also get found by optimising their presence to their specific target market. This way you can be found organically, avoiding any big spending on Google Ads or Facebook Ads. Let the big guys spend on Google Ads to generate interest in the topic and you just turn up on the same page organically.
Building a web presence
People often think that a website is your web presence, however, it is only a part of it. It is a very important part and is like a big digital business card or shop window. It can be considered your land, a solid foundation, where you build a presence and manage it. Just like with a brick-and-mortar store, you can continually add to it. Unlike Facebook or Amazon where they change the rules and it is more like building your web presence on shifting sands.
Put a stake in the ground and build a website that reflects who you are and adequately showcases your products or professional services. Design something that makes you proud. This is not simply a box-ticking exercise. You would not appear in public looking shabby or unkempt, so make sure your website wows you. Then find out if it wows your potential clients. How? Just ask a few of them – simple!
It is always a good start to ask your own existing clients what they want to see on your website. Then add these items to the design and development planning stage. Remember, it is an ever-evolving thing, so it is never ever finished, much like that bricks-and-mortar store or office and its shop window, which constantly needs constant attention, cleaning and security.
Just to complicate things a bit or rather, to offer more opportunities, remember that your website is not your total web presence. If you Google your company name, (use an ‘incognito’ window) you will see where you appear and how you look to ‘searchers’. Any instance of your firm appearing needs to be curated so that it reflects well on you and is ‘on brand’. You can create an entity on Facebook with a Company profile page. Do the same on Linkedin. Create a Google Business Profile or Google My Business entry in Google – keep it up to date. Appear in Google’s map stack, which is critical for Local search. Ask for positive reviews in Google or Facebook Reviews. Get recommendations on Linkedin.
Then Google your competitors and see where they are appearing. Can you pick up a few tips from them? You want to get ahead of them in search, to be found at the top of page one in search for key search terms for your services. And you want to look like the best option for visitors when you do turn up as an option on Page 1 results. Once you know who you have to compete with, then you will know what you ned to do to get ahead of them.
Manage that digital presence
Keep curating your website content and your Facebook, Linkedin, and Google pages. Create a great digital version of ‘you’, wherever your audience looks for the products or services you offer. You may have to write blog posts or do some guest blogging. You may want to join Facebook or Linkedin Groups which have taken over from Forums. Be in there to answer questions, be helpful and be of service, to show domain authority or expertise in your subject matter.
ROI – Return on Investment
Gone are the days when you spend money on advertising and think that half of it should hopefully work. Nowadays, you can see exactly what is working and which advertising spend gets results for you. This is brilliant news, however, it does take some effort to get your head around how to make it work for you. Try everything on a small scale initially, find out what works, and then drill down by investing more into what works well. Nail it, then scale it. Keep testing, because the audience will move around, using new apps and visiting new sites, etc. You can always outsource this work to someone who knows how to use the various tools. Just like you do with your computers and security.
There are tools to manage your spending and show results. Both Google and Facebook provide their own free tools for you to use. It is important to understand how the tools work, otherwise, Google and Facebook will happily take loads of your money and advertise to the wrong audience. They do want you to get it right, but you need to understand their clumsy tools.
Marketing in 2023
2023 will see some big changes for us all, some good, some challenging, but the changes will be swift. Effects of a recession, supply chain issues, recruitment problems, retention of staff, working remotely and other things. Managing your overall web presence, including your website is how you actually do your Marketing in the 2020s. Will you do it well or will you avoid this as an option? There is a huge opportunity for the businesses who use the tools or engage someone to do it for them, by outsourcing. And likewise, the businesses that avoid the challenge are losing out every single day. There may well be less people on the streets, but they are all on the web every day, browsing, shopping, and learning. Look at all the delivery trucks passing the shopping centres bringing the online purchases to individual homes.
Why have a website or web presence? It is simply a must, as well as being a wonderful opportunity – what are you making of yours?
10 Reasons our clients decide to get a good website include – based on their feedback:
1. To look more professional online
2. To attract a certain type of client and recruit team members
3. To discourage certain types of client
4. To promote or launch a new service or product
5. To increase sales
6. To reduce time doing things currently being done by staff by using the website to answer questions
7. To improve SEO Search Engine Optimisation and rank higher in Google search results
8. To get a new or fresher look or design
9. To get a website that is mobile responsive
10. To make a statement about a new direction or a takeover or other big decision
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