The importance of having an online presence is something businesses of all sizes have been aware of for decades. With the COVID-19 emergency, though, it’s put added pressure on many small businesses who may have had a basic website, but didn’t rely on it for their livelihood.
To adapt to the booming online marketplace, Viasat Business Internet offers a few tips for small and medium businesses to improve their presence and ensure they’re not missing out on online revenue opportunities. And, when things return to normal, the work you do now in this arena will benefit you in the years to come, providing a diversified way to reach customers.
- If your current online presence is just a simple website with basic facts about your business, it’s time to consider adding additional content to engage customers at all stages of the purchase process. This doesn’t mean you need to make your site super complex or refresh content weekly, but you should add more context around what makes you unique, details about your offerings, and why your customers like you. Written testimonials, photos of completed work, and links to media coverage are great places to start. If your business has a Yelp page, now is the time to be responsive and keep any changes related to COVID updated (such as store hours). If you haven’t done so yet, create a profile on Google. Keep your content authentic to your business and don’t feel like you have to make it perfect out of the gate. The beauty of web is you can easily build on it overtime.
- Don’t forget about e-commerce. This is particularly important for restaurants, where online sales have grown tremendously in recent years - and the current emergency has made them even more prevalent. The good news is there are quite a few solutions out there you can purchase rather than try to figure it out yourself. Here’s a list of some top online ordering products for small restaurants, and another list for other types of businesses.
- Not a web developer? That’s OK. There are a lot of resources available. Tools like WordPress and Squarespace make it easy and affordable for average people to create robust, good-looking websites, and most of them include secure website hosting. Make sure whatever you deploy is indexable by search engines like Google. Additionally, there are resources like UpWork that connect you to project-based freelancers who will competitively bid to help create your website, optimize it for search, create graphics or videos, and more.
- The boom in apps for businesses has made it possible to gain access to the kind of advanced software that used to be out of reach for small businesses. There are even apps that can help track schedules, orders, aid with organization and a lot more. Here’s a list from NerdWallet of top small business apps.
- Finally, don’t forget your phone. Not everyone wants to order things online, so having alternative ways to reach you on your website or Google My Business listing, such as a phone number or email address, is important.
The bottom line is that upping your business’s online presence is no longer a luxury, it’s critical in today’s social distancing climate. The good news is, it’s a lot easier today than it was in the past, and any improvements you make in the midst of the current situation will only help your business in the years ahead.
If you need a high-speed internet connection to get your business online, no matter where it’s located, Viasat Business is here to help. We cover 96% of the U.S. population with broadband speeds and specialize in connecting rural businesses located outside of the cable and fiber zones.