Whether you’re starting small and plan to stay that way or intend to scale up to Fortune 500 size, an online presence is an important branding tool. According to Google, 97% of consumers search for businesses online. If the vast majority of consumers are online, isn’t it in the best interest of your business to be as well?

Chances are your business has open and close hours. When your physical storefront is closed your opportunities to convert don’t have to wait until opening. The internet has no closing time and your web space can be a permanently open showroom. Prospective customers or clients can view your digital storefront from the comfort of their homes or on their phones while on the go. This is invaluable to sales based businesses because e-commerce means opportunities to convert are 24/7.

What an online presence says about your brand

Depending on the source, over 50% of consumers don’t trust a business without a website. The internet age has enabled people to verify anything they may not immediately trust. An online presence gives your brand a starting point that you control. The presentation and initial reaction to your business online are entirely up to you. Make it a positive experience.

Marketing beyond your locality

“If your business is not on the internet, then your business will be out of business” – Bill Gates. The beauty of the internet is that it isn’t limited to zip codes. An ad in the newspaper or fliers around town may be great for local business, but your website can reach literally anyone else with internet access. The effectiveness of this comes down to company success and personal marketing strategy, but the benefits of global reach are massive.

A pressure free environment for your buyers

Your online showroom or storefront enables prospective consumers to gather information on their items of interest from a place of comfort under no outside pressure. This is invaluable as consumers love to buy but generally aren’t interested in being sold to. If they’re immediately interested they can buy on the spot, but they maintain the option to enter your brick and mortar location to ask further questions.

How to begin

The most popular way to begin is to set up a WordPress blog or site. You can select from a plethora of colors and templates to match the ideal “feel” for your online presence. When listing information on your site, take into consideration questions you’re asked most often by customers. Here is some basic information –

  • Business hours
  • Brick and mortar location
  • Menu if your business is a restaurant
  • Sales and specials
  • Product list (as well as if they’re out of stock)
  • Contact information

Links to other online media

Once you’ve properly updated your site, it’s time to make sure it gets noticed. This is where SEO or “search engine optimization” comes into play.

SEO for the layman

Bringing acronyms into play can make things intimidating and SEO can be complicated at times, so here is the gist of what you need to know –

  • The vast majority of internet users trust search engines to find websites.
  • SEO relates to how well search engines can find your website.
  • Consistent, relevant and well-formatted posts to your blog aid in SEO.
  • Content by others mentioning your business aid in SEO.

Those looking to scale majorly should contact a professional.

This explanation is oversimplifying the concept but on purpose. SEO is an art form unto itself and there are other areas of your web footprint to focus on before delving into it.

For those looking for a professional online presence

If you’d prefer to keep your focus on the growth and sales end of your business and leave the web design and development to the professionals there are a multitude of options out there for you. When searching for a professional, these are some key things to look for –

  • The design and function of their site
  • The capability to work with the platform you prefer (WordPress etc.)
  • That their websites are responsive (mobile ready)
  • An understanding of Google, Adwords and other relevant SEO tools

Social media and API integration capabilities

Your web presence can also extend onto Facebook and various forms of social media. In fact, both are suggested for those looking to take their business to the next level and reach a greater number of consumers. If you’re in the market for a web design team and in Toronto, Canada, you need look no further than Toronto web design and development. They’re more than capable of meeting all your early web presence needs and have a service to update your current website. For ore information visit: Toronto web design and development – Outshine your competitors!