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Customer expectations of all businesses, no matter what size, are changing incredibly quickly. And while the constantly evolving online world presents a real challenge to small businesses, it also brings a great opportunity.
The internet has fundamentally changed the way we live our lives. From keeping up with the news and doing your weekly shopping to booking a holiday, the internet is now an integral part of our lives, and nine out of ten people in the UK are internet users.
Recent research by Nominet, who run the UK Domain has found that nine out of ten people search for something online weekly, and eight out of ten purchase something online at least once a month.
If you are not visible online, or fail to make the most of this valuable channel, you could be missing out on a lot of business as potential customers search online and fail to find you – but instead find one of your competitors.
As Russell Haworth, CEO, Nominet highlights: “Having an optimised web presence – whether that’s offering online ordering, handling customer support via email, engaging on social media or something different – isn’t just a ‘nice to have’ anymore. It’s an essential tool which can get new customers through the door, enhance your relationships with existing customers and help you stand out against the competition.”
Here are eight vital tips you need to build a successful online business:
- Let your website illustrate who you are – customers like to understand you and your story as much as they want to hear about your business
- Stand out from your competition – focus your content around your unique selling points and what makes you the better choice.
- Choose the right domain name – make sure it’s relevant and credible but equally memorable so it is easily found in a web search.
- Use onsite SEO to increase your website’s chance of appearing in Google search results – consider the keywords you wish your website to appear for and ensure that your content is as comprehensive (and useful) as possible.
- Use content marketing to answer your customers’ questions – consider your customers and focus on answering the questions they’re likely to have (FAQs are perfect for this).
- Have a presence on social media – connect with your customers on the platforms they’re using and reach a new audience.
- Make your website fast – Google loves websites that load quickly, as do your customers, so optimise for speed where you can.
- Build an email list – email marketing is still cost-effective and well worth your effort, so incentivise customers to join a mailing list with content and offers.
To read more, download our free guide to growing your business online, or visit the UK Domain for more hints, tips and tools to help you grow your business online.