Presence is Profit
‘An electronic presence increases customer awareness of a company and its products and services, with the desired outcome being a greater likelihood of purchase’(Heinze, 2006)
In today’s digital age, business owners should prioritise getting their website noticed if they want to grow their brand exponentially. It’s important to realise that being on the internet and having a web address is not enough; you need to get the attention of your potential customers by having an established web presence.
The graph above has been taken from Heinze’s study of large American companies (Heinze, 2006). It displays an increase in online sale levels across all five sectors of industry, spanning from 1997 to 2003. As you can see, the 21st century has brought an array of technological innovations to the internet which have allowed many businesses to thrive online. This trend has continued up to the present day, with companies like Amazon commandeering the digital marketplace. With an enormous diversity of products, Amazon demonstrates the importance of having a strong web presence because it can appeal to everyone. The goal is to encourage people to browse your website so they are more inclined to buy something they like.
‘The fundamental objectives of corporate web presence are to establish a positive corporate identity in cyberspace and to conduct business with customers and business partners over the Internet’(Heinze, 2006)
A professional and pragmatic web design will boost the identity of a company and lead customers to interact with the website more willingly.
These fundamentals catalyse web presence and make a business more efficient by allowing transactions and communication to be done swiftly online. This makes business more efficient, as products and services can be purchased by anyone that has access to the internet.
‘People are increasingly using smartphones and tablets for accessing the Internet, not just desktop personal computers and notebooks, therefore websites need to be optimized for all these devices in order to provide the best user experience’(Mohorovičić, 2013)
One of the main features you need to consider when developing your website is to make sure it is adapted to all devices. Many potential customers (especially those coming from social media advertisement) will be using their smartphone or tablet. This is why it is crucial to have your website in a “mobile-friendly” layout so that different devices can browse seamlessly. In doing so, you are ensuring that your business provides the best online experience for your clients.
Effects of COVID
As I’m sure you’re aware, 2020 has been a year of lockdown and restrictions while the country attempts to control the spread of Coronavirus. In this time, many of us have resorted to using the internet to stay connected, and this has caused a profound increase in web traffic and online purchases. Many vulnerable people have resorted to buying services and products online, and areas in local lockdowns have a growing reliance on the internet marketplace.
The graph below captures the impact of the 2020 lockdown during the months of February to March, with website revenue and conversion rates having increased rapidly to levels rarely seen before (WITHIN, 2020).
This underlines the importance of a strong web presence because more people are purchasing from the internet, and you need to channel this traffic to your website.
Developing a Presence
Here we have created a checklist of things to cover;
- Well designed – make your website look professional and attractive by using bold colour schemes and stand-out images.
- Easy to navigate – visitors will want to find the information they’re looking for as soon as possible.
- Regular maintenance – your website requires the same maintenance as your real-life premises as it is equally important. Regularly updating and optimizing all web pages and publishing regular blog posts should be an essential part of your overall content marketing strategy.
- Search engine friendly – where your business appears in online searches is a good indicator of how strong your online presence is. Use relevant keywords and tags to achieve results.
- Social media – with numerous social media channels to choose from it’s important to select those that are the best fit for your business. With the right advertisements, you can bring in more potential customers.
Things to Remember
Wilson explains the issues that hinder the development of a good business website:
‘major problems holding back further development were said to be: development of secure sites and suitable payment systems, faster connection times and wider access’(Wilson, 1996)
Having a website that is secure and trustworthy helps customers feel comfortable when making purchases or enquiries. All payments should be quick and easy, to encourage the clients to return again.
Wilson then proceeds to highlight some improvements that people often forget:
‘future developments were seen to be: more interaction with users, more general content to be added, the addition of more products and services and increased use of multi-media’(Wilson, 1996)
Interactions will make customers feel welcome and secure on your platform. Wilson also points out the benefits of having a variety of different products and services for users to choose from, as they will help keep people’s attention and draw them in from elsewhere on the internet.
Imagine Can Help
Imagine how much stronger your web presence could be if you had someone on hand to help develop a clear strategy for all your digital marketing activities?
For help setting up or enhancing your company online contact Mandy on 01636 922747 for an informal chat about your requirements and their web presence services.
Cockburn, C. and Wilson, T.D., 1996. Business use of the world-wide web. International journal of information management, 16(2), pp.83-102
Heinze, N. and Hu, Q., 2006. The evolution of corporate web presence: A longitudinal study of large American companies. International Journal of Information Management, 26(4), pp.313-325.
Mohorovičić, S., 2013, May. Implementing responsive web design for enhanced web presence. In 2013 36th International Convention on Information and Communication Technology, Electronics and Microelectronics (MIPRO) (pp. 1206-1210). IEEE.
WITHIN. 2020. Marketing Pulse. [ONLINE] Available at: https://go.within.co/retail-pulse/. [Accessed 14 October 2020].
I’m a recent graduate from Keele University where I achieved a BA (Hons) in English Literature, with a dissertation specialised in First World War poetry. During my time as a student I developed short stories for a creative writing portfolio, and I aspire to become a published author alongside my career.
I have studied a wide range of modules from History to Film studies, and my degree has enabled me to build on something I love to do. As a film enthusiast, I am constantly thinking of new ideas and stories to write about, and scriptwriting is a passion of mine. My favourite sports are football and basketball which I play most weekends. I also try to influence others with a positive mindset and consider teamwork a valuable asset. Reading is a big part of my life and studying it at degree level has transformed me into a versatile writer that can produce imaginative and insightful work.