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Establishing Your Online Presence

08

APRIL, 2018

Web Development

At this day and age, many small businesses are not aware of the potential of having a website. It’s not because I own a web design business. Its the fact of the matter that website is just on the upper hand.

If you are serious about your business, then the least you should have is an official website for your company or brand.

When I mention ‘Establishing Your Online Business‘, it simply means a process. For which anyone, not only businesses, should take their ownership to position themselves out there. Learn the steps to be involved in this revolutionary trend. Else, they are just too ignorant about it. And in most cases, they will lose out.

If you take the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit – Local Singapore Train), you can see at least 90% of the commuters hold their cellphones and do their things. Some might be playing games, some might be hearing Spotify, some might be engaged in social media activities, and some might just be surfing the browser looking for information.

“What does that tell us? Majority of us are online!”

Traditional marketing techniques such as giving flyers, roadside banner ads and newspaper ads are getting obsolete. When is the last time you read a newspaper? When is the last time you search for businesses in yellow pages? When is the last time you watch TV (excluding Netflix)?

Back when I study in the University, Google is your friend. You just have to admit it. All the pieces of information are out there! I mean, there are still other sources of information like the magazines and old newspaper articles. Without you knowing, all printed materials can be found online!

Let say I am looking for a barbershop around my place. I will search for “barbershop in Jurong West”. Look at the search results below:

Big up to Black Tie BarberShop for making it to the first page on Google. BUT, what are the things are they lacking? An official website! The company came out to have a site with a (simply.me) URL, a Facebook page and a listing on Yelp.

If one fine day I decide to open a new barbershop in Jurong West and create an official website for it, who has more authority in this space? You know the answer.

Establishing your business online presence shows credibility, authority, and professionalism. If you are still unaware of it, then you need to read up my friend.

Well, you can say you have a social media page like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. How on earth are those platform yours??? You are just a registered user that promote brand awareness on their platform. Not fully yours.

I am not writing off social media. Don’t get me wrong. They are useful for engagement and social presence. It’s the limitation of things that you can do within those platforms.

Let me break down the pros and cons of social media vs official website so you can have a clearer understanding of this.

Social Media Pros

Free and fast
Most social media sites are free to start with and are easy to set up. You can have one up within minutes.

Little to no-commitment
If one day you decide to close down your business, or your profile doesn’t do any good to the business. You can simply delete your account with a click of a button. Or, simply ignore it.

Global
Stats show that businesses that redirect their traffic to their respective Facebook page increase 25% year after year.

Interactivity
Social media page allows you to engage closely with your customers. In most cases, it is casual and more human-like way. With that, it allows you to easily interact with them and build relationships.

Branding
Customers can learn more about your business’s values, mission, and purpose, through your updates and how you efficient you respond to them. This builds loyalty and your brand.

Social Media cons

Limited to design
What sucks about social media is, they have a fixed layout. Sadly, you have to follow it. The only you can customize is your header and profile picture. As for the rest, you will not be able to change.

Viral feedback
Social media is the best platform to check reviews, feedbacks, and complaints. Well, it’s social proof. So you can’t run away from it. Meaning, you have to closely monitor your page. Recently I came across a local business that gets tons of complaint about their poor service. It will probably make you go out of business sooner or later. The big picture is – you’re not in complete control.

Limited reporting tools
Service descriptions are limited to a number of characters, you are not able to add more fields to describe more about what you do as a business. Or make it more appealing to potential prospects.

Ownership deficiency
In any social media platform’s terms and conditions, they regulate your content to what is deemed ‘appropriate’ for them. For example, if you want to run a promotion, you must follow their rules. Last but not least, ever considered what if one day the platform shuts the site down? And the only online presence you have is with them?

official website Pros

Cost-effective
Website creation ranges from free to premium ones. It all depends on your budget and business needs. Free websites (like WordPress.com) may definitely be a good place to start. You can always upgrade to premium one later.

Credibility
All consumers expect companies to have websites today. It develops trustworthiness of a business if it has a website.

100% control
When you own your own website, you are given the flexibility to dictate how it looks and the feature it presents. Even if you use a template, that can be customized to the way your content is laid out. Templates can be personalized to make it look uniquely yours.

Greater marketing
You have more freedom to communicate and sell to your customers the way you want. You can include cool features like videos, customer reviews, blogs, special promotional offers, and other season campaigns. It allows you to limitlessly market your business within the space.

Decreased overhead
Most customers prefer to get a business’s information online. If you position your website as a useful source of self-service information, it can cut down your operating costs.

24/7 availability
Your website will be “open for business” 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, anywhere in the world even if you’re closed.

official website cons

Site Maintenance
Depending on the capacity of the site, keeping content up-to-date will require some time and effort. But that can be easily done once a week or, month.

Extended complexity
The more complex the design and functionality, the more time and effort it will take to create and set up.

More marketing effort
An extensive effort is required getting traffic to your website. That means you have to produce a marketing strategy and implement it.

To sum things up, I would really encourage all businesses to get their official website up the soonest as they can. Every minute counts. Else you are losing tons of great opportunities ahead for your business. If you need assistance to get your site up, hit me up and we’ll discuss further over coffee.

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