A recent study found that 31% of businesses that use at least six Internet technologies are highly competitive, while only 19% of those with minimal use of technology are highly competitive*. What does this mean for your business? Technology is an important component in your ability to stay ahead-of-the-curve. As the number of business websites continues to grow, so does the necessity of using technology to remain competitive.
Small businesses face unique challenges, especially in today’s turbulent economic environment. If you worry about your business’s ability to compete in the months or years ahead, consider taking these six steps towards succeeding online:
#1. Creating a website
If your business is not online, you are at a considerable disadvantaged in today’s increasingly plugged-in business arena. And while it may be the first (and most obvious) way to use technology to compete, building a website is still an overwhelming prospect for many small business owners. Luckily, there are many options available for those that lack the tech-savvy - or, more likely, the time – to code a website. First, a website builder tool makes it as easy as dragging and dropping your website content into a template. For a more customized website, professional web design services are a reliable option.
#2. Search engine optimization
Once your website is built, you can’t assume that visitors will begin showing up. You’ll need to find a way to place your website where people are looking for the products and services you sell – namely, in the search engine results page. Search engine optimization is a natural (or “organic”) way of making your site more appealing to the search engines through the use of keywords, link building and other tactics.
#3. PPC advertising
Search engine marketing, also known as PPC advertising, can provide more immediate results than SEO, but at a cost. PPC begins with choosing keywords relevant to your website, bidding on them and placing them in ads that appear at the top and along the side of a search results page. You’ll pay each time someone clicks your and, since these costs can ad up quickly, you’ll want to give careful thought to keyword research, landing page creation and website analysis when building your PPC advertising campaign.
#4. Website security
When you buy an SSL certificate for your website, information transmitted between your site and your visitors’ browsers will be encrypted. The level of encryption will depend on the type of SSL you install, as they vary by assurance (and price). The bottom line: SSLs provide the type of website security you must have to compete online.
#5. Business email
Using an email address that’s tied to your domain name is an easy way to gain the credibility that is so important when you’re vying for business online. A professional email account can also provide useful business solutions like shared calendars, shared contacts and other communication tools.
#6. Customer service
While certainly not a new concept, customer service has reached new heights thanks to advancements in technology. When your customers can reach you via email or live chat, you boost their confidence in your business.
If you question your ability time to keep up with the latest advancements on the Web, Network Solutions has the answer. Our website services are designed with all-in-one convenience in mind. You’ll find all the pieces of the puzzle here – and we’ll help you fit them together to create a website that helps you compete online.
*The Small Business Success Index, an ongoing measurement of the overall health of U.S. small businesses, was commissioned by Network Solutions, LLC and the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. To take the survey yourself, click here.