Developing a successful online presence is essential for blogs and businesses to grow in today’s incredibly competitive climate. Although it may seem easy at first to simply put some ‘stuff’ online and wait for visitors, a significant amount of research and investigation has gone into optimising and extending one’s online footprint to their target audience. There are many things you can do to create a thriving online ecosystem surrounding your business, but what are they, and who does it well?
Improve Your Online Facilities.
Your online presence is only ever as good as your website. Regardless of how much you invest in advertising, if the website is flawed it will turn all those potential customers away.
The first thing to consider is aesthetics. Well matching colours that allow you to control and emphasize areas of your website are incredibly important. Colour theory is a lengthy discussion topic, but it boils down to several base components; ensure your website has a harmonious and well matching colour scheme, make your website easily readable with a high contrast between your text and background, and don’t overload your website with unnecessarily bright colours at every turn.
Next, your website simply must be optimised for both computer and mobile traffic. Google now prioritises mobile friendly sites in web searches done on mobile devices, and these searches make up more than 50% of all web searches. To make your site mobile friendly it must have a responsive design, which means aspects of the site shrink and reposition themselves according to the size of the monitor or screen it is displayed on. This involves creating break points at sizes most appropriate for phones, tablets and pcs and designing your website around them.
Now your website both looks good and is accessible to all devices, you need to consider how it is going to be used. Navigation through your website must be simple and quick; the more times a visitor has to click through links to navigate to a specific part of your site, the less likely it is they will stay on the site at all. To counter this ensure any link categories are accurate, wide enough to encompass the topics of your site, but specific enough to prevent undue extra navigation.
Internal hyperlinking and Call to Action buttons are a great way to create concise navigation. Call to Action buttons provide a convenient and commanding path to where you want them to end up, ideally at your website’s crux area such as an online shop or a top article of the week. It should be a simple and clear message (‘Shop Now’) that is separated from the rest of the site by nuances of colour, and it should always be present in some form wherever your visitor is on your site.
Tone Your Social Media Integration.
Choose the right medium for your blog and business. This will help you focus your audience and share the things you want to share. For example, Facebook is the mammoth in the room, with over two billion monthly users, and if you want to seek out a large customer base and create a stable hub for close customer interaction Zuckerberg’s giant is what you should consider. But, if your blog is based on anything physical, be it sports, art, production, travel and so on, Instagram allows you to impress your following with regular but small picture updates; as a visual medium it’s a lot easier to create a viral post or advertisement on Instagram than on other social media sites, which are often bogged down with text.
It is possible to present yourself on multiple platforms but each social media account will require a certain amount of time and resources to manage effectively. If you try to juggle too many at once it will lead to irregular updates and a lacklustre following. Online iGaming provider 888Casino avoids this by playing to its strengths; they prioritise YouTube, Instagram and Twitter for interactive news announcements, over Facebook, where it is harder to announce and spread snippets of information to a wider userbase.
When it comes to social media, get creative. Engage with your audience though regular and interactive updates, and stay ahead of the curve by utilising new platform features. The whole point of social media is that you are creating a medium through which you can have a two way conversation with your following; listen to what people are saying to and about your activities and adjust and respond to them accordingly. Don’t be afraid to throw in a bit of humour and humane-ness too, people love it when it’s made apparent they’re not just talking to a robot on a payroll. A little transparency can go a long way.
Increase your Follower Interaction.
This is part and parcel with utilising social media correctly, but there are additional ways to create discourse between you and visitors to your site. The first and simplest is having a ‘contact us’ tab which presents a dedicated follower service email and possibly phone number, depending on whether you’re offering services. A blog generally will not need a contact number.
Exit Overlays are the next best method to encourage interaction with website visitors. These are lightboxes that target individuals leaving your site by presenting them with forms, offers or queries. For example, a business customer may add an item to a cart but then decide to leave the website, on clicking exit the lightbox will appear and propose they have their basket emailed to them, or it may ask for feedback on why they decided to leave. Such interaction is valuable as it may bring that customer back in future, and it could provide useful information which you can use to improve your site.
Lastly, bonus or loyalty schemes are a great way to retain a visiting base, or even boost your presence on a specific site. Rewards can be a whole host of things from physical items to discounts and virtual tokens, so long as they are appealing and relevant to your following. How you can introduce rewards schemes is only limited by your creativity, but two standard practices are coffee-shop style purchase trackers, and rewards events such as raffles. For the former you could simply offer a free item after every 4th purchase on your site, while for the latter you could create a poll for feedback with the intent of putting every name on the poll that has subscribed to your social media page in a raffle for an enticing reward.
These three targets above are imperative and incredibly effective measures to increase your online presence. If you look around at various big businesses like McDonalds or Waterstones you will see them utilising many of the techniques outlined above. It will be worth your time to study these businesses and use them as examples for your business, always think ‘what are they doing to increase their online presence and how can I adopt it?’ and you’ll soon find yourself adapting those very techniques to your growing online success.