According to a report by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 85% of people who search for products or services from local business start online.
Website more important than a phone
Claire Hatton, head of local business at Google Australia, in an interview with SmartCompany claims that, "having a website is more important than having a phone now. You need to be there for consumers where they are looking for you, otherwise they will find your competition," she says.
Online search vs recommendations
Interestingly, one of the key findings of the ABS report was that most people surveyed were just as likely to turn to the internet, as they were to ask for personal recommendations about local businesses.
For business owners, this is a clear sign that now more than ever, it’s important to have a strong online presence and yet, many Australian SME’s still don’t have websites.
If that’s you and you don’t know where to start – here’s eight simple steps to help you get your business online.
1. Get a website
It doesn’t have to be expensive. Find an experienced low-cost website provider and get a quote.
A simple Wordpress site with basic e-commerce can cost less than a thousand dollars to have built.
If you have the time and the interest you can make your own with simple template options.
There are lots of companies, such as WIX that offer free websites and you pay a monthly subscription to keep it live, so shop around.
Tip: You will need to choose and register a domain name (URL) that will be easy to type in and that reflects your business and products.
2. Make sure it looks great
Keep the designs simple. Complex websites can be hard to use and slow to load.
Choose quality images that show your business and products accurately and at their best - research shows that great images can boost sales.
3. Say it how it is
The content- what’s written on your website - is crucial to get right. It should be clear, to the point, easy to understand and grammatically correct.
Nothing says unprofessional than typos on a website.
Most web designers expect you to deliver the content to put on your website, so spend time getting it right, and look at what other similar websites have on theirs as a guide.
4. Integrate your social media
If you’re using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social channels, link them to your website, so people can share what they find there. You might also want to integrate a blog.
5. Make it pleasurable
Really think about how customers are going to experience your website when they land there.
Make sure that essential information, such as contact details are easy to find and that the shopping experience, if there is one, is straightforward.
You don't want to frustrate customers in their initail contact with you and your services.
Get customer feedback once you go live on how they find it.
Tip: Having online forms where people can reach out to you with queries 24 hours are great ways to capture new business.
6. Right action
What do you want visitors to your site to do? Whether it’s to buy a product or book your services make sure that you invite them to do just that.
Use your website to highlight any special offers or unique selling points you may have.
7. Keep on track
You can use free data tools, such as Google analytics to track how your website is working for you.
8. Keep it fresh
Finally, online is continually evolving so make sure your website is updated as required in terms of the content and the technology.
If you don’t have time, pay someone to do it for you
Enter to win a web package worth 20K to help boost your business online with NRMA Business Insurance.