This post is the first in a new series from Vivial.
In today’s ever-connected world, it seems like a given that websites are an integral part of every business marketing strategy. After all, online is where customers are looking for information about a business. Whether it is doing a “near me” search for a local restaurant or trying to find location, hours or contact information for a specific business, customers do the majority of their research online using a mobile device, tablet or desktop.
But the truth is still that nearly half of small businesses don’t even have a website. And for businesses that do have a website, it is often neglected—not optimized for mobile, and filled with out-of-date information.
With all of the hats marketers are required to wear, it’s no surprise that the website often gets neglected. In trying to keep up with day-to-day social media updates, special offers, email marketing campaigns and other real-time tasks that demand immediate attention, it’s easy to forget about the website. Creating fresh content and having the time and staff to devote to keeping the website updated are other challenges business owners frequently point out as barriers to building and maintaining a website.
But it shouldn’t be this way. Websites are still a foundational marketing element for businesses of all sizes—especially small- and medium-size businesses (SMBs) like restaurants, retails, gyms, banks and other service providers.
Here are four ways business owners can dust off their website (or create one!) and use it to help attract and engage customers.
Build it mobile-friendly
For businesses that don’t have a website, now is the time to set one up. And for businesses that do have a website, now is the time to make sure it is mobile-friendly. How do you know if your site is optimized for mobile? Check out Google’s Mobile Friendly testing tool. Google says that more than half of searches are performed on mobile devices, making it essential that your website be optimized for viewing on all kinds of mobile devices.
There are many options available for businesses to quickly and easily set up an optimized website. Vivial offers a free website build service that provides businesses of all sizes with the tools and support to create, launch and maintain a website.
Create a schedule for updates
Once the website is built, it’s important to keep the content fresh. One way business owners can do this is to create a schedule and set up calendar reminders for making website content updates. On a monthly or quarterly basis, do an audit of the website to make sure contact and location information is correct, business hours are current and any offers, promotions and events are updated. This is especially important for businesses that may have seasonal hours, multiple locations or rotate promotional offers.
Optimize your website so Google finds you
Fifty percent of people search for local businesses on Google and visit the local businesses they searched for that day. So, search engine optimization (SEO) and being found on search sites like Google is essential for businesses to get the most out of their website and truly use it as a tool to find and attract customers.
Using SEO services, keywords, links to social sites, directory listings and having quality content are all ways businesses can help their websites show up higher on local searches.
Leverage content marketing
Content isn’t just about creating more content. It’s about creating quality content that will resonate with target customers.
A good way to start is with a mix of evergreen and timely content that responds to current trends and topics. How-to guides and tutorials, frequently asked questions and resource guides specific to the business type are good examples of evergreen content, while holiday shopping lists, summer travel guides and other seasonal content can be mixed in for more timely content.
Using links on the website, posting on social media and leveraging visual content like photos, video and infographics will help content show up on searches and be found by customers.
While the opportunities to engage and attract customers grow every day, the simple website needs to remain a foundational element of every business marketing plan. Vivial works every day with businesses of all sizes to help build and maintain websites that attract and engage customers. We’ve taken our own advice and recently revamped the Vivial website, inviting business to enter the site based on their level of digital marketing knowledge. Our new website provides, what we think is an excellent user experience with improved navigation and functionality throughout. Providing trend reports, white papers and educational opportunities to ensure businesses have the information they need to be successful.
Todd Renard, Vivial’s Vice President, Digital Product Management, is a digital marketing executive with an established performance track record for innovation and execution, balancing strategy, tactics and logistics. As an industry leader, Todd has over 20 years of experience bringing products to the SMB market place and has been recognized for his leadership in operationalizing, promoting and fulfillment of online advertising solutions for local businesses. Prior to joining the company, he served as Vice President, International Business Development and Channel Partner Account Management for WebVisible, and held senior management positions for TriZetto, R.H. Donnelley/Dex Media Cohere Networks, Inc. and CommNet Cellular.