Committed to success? Have a new website in the works?
With all the changes Google has made in the last year to support mobile-friendly websites, savvy business leaders are getting on board. They’re ditching outdated websites for fresh, mobile-responsive designs.
You have invested a significant amount of time, creative energy and money into your business’s new website. When it’s ready to go live, you want as many people as possible checking it out. Ensure your Launch Day is a smash hit by creating a buzz leading up to the big event.
Here’s nine things you can do to get great results. Tick off these items from your checklist for a website launch:
Number One: Great Content. Long before launch day, devote ample time to creating high quality content. Ideally, three published pieces on Day One gives your audience enough variety to click through and read. Test and test again. Check the functions and appearance on mobile devices before you go live. First impressions are important. Initial content quality signals the experience readers can expect in the future. You want to build a loyal following of return visitors.
Number Two: Coming Soon Page. Create a “Website Coming Soon” page to let people know about your new website. In addition to informing them that it’s on the way; a “Coming Soon” page get’s people excited about your business, services or products. Offer new visitors a place to sign up for your email newsletter and provide links to “follow” and “like” you on social media.
Number Three: Email Subscriber List. Build your email list in the lead up to your website launch. If you already have an email subscriber list, enlarge it through your social media accounts and your “Coming Soon” page. If you don’t have one already, ask your existing customers for their email addresses. Supercharge your ask by adding a promotional boost; offer incentives for signing up for your email newsletter (email newsletters provide ongoing contact with customers). Promote the newsletter and special incentives through social media.
Number Four: Launch Day Email. Your business’s website launch is an unique opportunity to get customers excited about your business. Create a catchy-looking email to blast out on your launch day. Use an email marketing tool like MailChimp to design an attention-getting email. The email should showcase your value proposition by highlighting your best content. Encourage subscribers to visit your new website with a promotion (e.g. a free consultation, or discount coupon for giving your website a mention).
Number Five: Grow your Social Media Presence. After you’ve completed your target audience research; it’s time to setup accounts on relevant social media platforms. Your business doesn’t need to have a profile on every single channel; just the ones your target customers generally use. Instead of wasting time setting up profiles and sharing posts across 7 or 8 platforms, spend your time creating valuable content in places where your preferred customers are likely to find it.
Number Six: Mobilize your Existing Friends. If your business already has an active social media following; give your fans a heads up that your new website is coming. Share the news a few times per week in the month leading up to your launch. The average Facebook user has 338 friends. Not all your friends or social media followers will “like” or “share” your posts. But, you’ll never know if you don’t ask. Ask friends, family, other local businesses (nicely!) to like or share the news about your business’s new website on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram.
Number Seven: Online directories. Your business’s presence in online directories will influence your search engine optimization (SEO). Depending on your industry, your business has a number of options, for example: Yelp, YellowPages, Google, OpenTable, Bing, Wedding Wire, to name a few key ones. Do your research and submit your business information to the most relevant sites. Here’s a list of the most popular online business directories in 2016. Online directory entries only contribute to SEO if the business’s information (name, address, phone number and website url) is accurate and consistent across all directory websites.
Number Eight: Reputation Review. If your website is launching at the same time as your new business venture, you likely won’t have an online reputation. If you’re building a new website for an existing business, now is the time to see if people are discussing your business online (and what they are saying!). A good place to start is by reviewing each of your business’s online directory entries and social media accounts. Update any outdated information. Respond to any existing reviews. In any case, setup Google Alerts to notify you anytime someone mentions your business online. Click here to learn how to get people to review your business online (and handle negative reviews). Most consumers are influenced in their online buying decisions by positive, and critical reviews.
Number Nine: Set up Google MyBusiness. Google is the gold standard when it comes to web searches. To get (and stay) ahead of your competition; take advantage of some great tools for getting noticed. With Google MyBusiness, you can customize how your business contact information will look to customers on Google search. MyBusiness uses your business name, address, phone number and website uniformly across the platform, including: Mobile Search and Google Maps. Your customers, and potential buyers, see consistent, accurate information anytime, and anywhere they search. You can also add attractive photos and manage your reviews on Google. Both measures will help you stand out from the crowd.
Launching your new mobile-friendly website is an important and exciting day for your business.
You’ve spent valuable hours and dollars building the perfect website. You want to make a great first impression on your current and potential customers. This means you need to create and implement an effective strategy well in advance. Follow this Checklist for a Website Launch and you’ll be well on your way.
If you don't have time to execute all these activities or you're not sure how, Webware helps launch your website with a bang.
In 2015, the United States spent over 60 Billion dollars on their pets! The pet trend is going global, with many countries across the world reporting increased numbers of household pets and pet-related purchases. With more and more pets in the home, I started to wonder, what about pets in the office?
It turns out, I am not the only one interested in bring their furry friends to work.
Last month, in celebration of our four-legged friends, the United States, Canada, Australia, and United Kingdom participated in the cutest, 18 year old tradition of Take your Dog to Work Day (TYDTWD). On June 24th, offices across the world opened their doors (and hearts) to employees’ pooch pals. The day came at the end of Take your Pet to Work Week celebrating all pet family members.
What could be more fun than petting animals on coffee breaks and between meetings? Basically, nothing. However, it turns out that pets in the office provide more than just a cuteness overload at work. There are several REAL benefits to office pets/bring your pet to work days. To help your superiors see the light on this important issue, I have compiled a list of reasons to consider an office pet or bring your pet work days. Here we go!
Improve employees' health. Studies show that pet ownership can affect a number of aspects of our health. Pet owners visit the doctor less frequently, saving the U.S. over 11 million dollars in healthcare spending annually. Pet ownership alleviates stress and depression, reduces obesity rates, and improves heart health by lowering blood pressure. Petting a dog releases “happiness” hormones like serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin while bringing cortisol, the “stress” hormone, levels down. Improved health means happier employees and fewer sick days.
- Boost productivity. Taking a quick, 10-15 minute break every hour or so has proven the most efficient, productive way for humans to work. An office pet or pet-friendly office is far more likely to encourage these productivity enhancing breaks. A quick trip around the block with your pooch or a few minutes petting a kitten can recharge employees. For many employees, the ability to have their pet with them means less worry about what’s happening at home and less concern about staying later at the office.
- Encourage a positive office environment. Research shows that the simple presence of a pet boosts positive social interaction and increases helping behaviour. Pets can help break the ice between strangers and reduce tension between team members. A dog-friendly office promotes communication, cooperation and friendship between coworkers. And a team that gets along is more likely to enjoy coming in to work.
- Attract employees and customers who share the same pet-friendly values. Pet-related spending is up all across the world. More and more people everywhere are embracing life with four-legged family members. An office pet or bring-your-pet-to-work policy can attract new talent and customers who share your company’s values. Etsy, “the world's most vibrant handmade marketplace” has dog-friendly offices in New York, London and Dublin. Sarah Starpoli, Etsy's manager of culture and engagement tells CNBC “People want it. People know about it when they come in and are hired”. I couldn’t agree more!
- Improve pets’ health. Not to be overlooked, we can help our pets stay healthy with more socialization and physical activity. With the increase in importance of pet-family members, it’s crucial to keep them happy and healthy. Allowing pets in the office gives our animal friends more frequent walks and less days spent alone.
What started out as “Take Your Dog to Work Day” turned “Take Your Pet to Work Week” has sparked a rise in pet-friendly offices. A survey conducted in 2015 shows 8% of American workplaces allow pets in the office, up from 5% in 2013. Employers are opening their office doors to furry family members to create better workplace environments fuelled by happier and healthier employees. With all the proven benefits, it might be time for your company to consider how an office pet could positively impact life in the workplace.
Up to 62% of consumers (and growing) do their research online before making a purchase! It’s never been more important for businesses to have a well-designed, informative website.
To make a lasting impression on potential customers, here’s 10 essentials for your small business website:
1. Mobile, mobile, mobile! Your website must be mobile-friendly.
- Between December 2013 and December 2015, smartphone internet consumption grew by 78%.
- Your customers are likely accessing your website from a mobile device.
- A responsive website ensures a smooth, easily-navigable experience and happier customers.
- Googles cares deeply that your website is mobile-friendly. If it’s not, your website will be bumped down the search results pages, finally landing behind your competitors’ responsive websites.
2. Relevant business information. People are visiting your website to learn more about what your business offers.
- 47% of website visitors check out a company's products/services page before looking at any other sections of the site.
- Design each webpage from your customer’s perspective: Give them the info they need to make an informed decision about your product/service.
- Make sure important content is easy to find on your website.
3. Visible Contact Info. It should be as clear as possible how and where to get in touch with your business.
- The business phone number should be visible on the homepage. Once on a company's homepage, 64% of visitors want to see the company's contact information.
- Enable Click to Call. Based on Google’s commissioned research by Ipsos, 70% of mobile searchers have used “The Call Button” in order to get in touch directly with companies.
- Another convenience favoured by many is live chat support. Learn more about why it’s awesome here.
- A Contact Us page: a feedback form, the business street address, driving directions (if applicable), or even a link to your FAQ section.
4. Simple Design. The more “visually complex” a website is, the less likely it is to be seen as “beautiful”.
- All elements (words, images, videos, links) on the homepage should have a distinct and meaningful purpose.
- Avoid clutter, small/hard to read fonts, and complex layouts.
- Include clean lines, intuitive navigation, simple font style and colour schemes throughout the entire website.
5. Reviews. As the digital age’s word-of-mouth, online reviews are a simple, yet effective way to increase traffic, sales, and improve your online reputation.
- 88% of consumers take reviews into account on purchase decisions!
- Add a review widget like Yotpo so customers can leave a review directly on your website.
- Include a few customer testimonials/reviews on your website.
6. Quality images. Showcase your products and services in action.
- Use high-resolution images to highlight your products and/or services
- Better quality images create a more enjoyable user experience
7. Understand SEO basics. Search Engine Optimization is a guiding principle when building a website for your business.
- SEO comprises several factors working together to build your website’s visibility in search engine results.
- Some factors include: website content, mobile-friendliness, website quality (speed to load pages, duplicate pages, broken links, etc), website architecture and geophysical location
- SEO dramatically affects how many people (potential customers!) can find your website in the internet maze.
- Even if you aren’t building your own website or implementing the SEO strategy, it can be extremely helpful if you understand what SEO can and cannot do for your business.
8. Call To Action. A visual focal point on your website that invites customers to act.
- Common examples of Call to Action are “Buy Now” or “Signup Here” or “Enter your email”.
- Draw customers’ attention to your offer with colours, images, or typefaces.
- For example, a bright pink “Start Your Free Trial” button against a neutral background will immediately catch the eye.
9. Monitor load time. How quickly (or slowly) the content on your website loads is crucial to maintaining visitors’ interest.
- Page load speed affects SEO
- Images, videos, or text that takes too long to load can cause frustration and drive customers away.
10. Advertise your website on social media. Make it easy for anyone visiting your social media pages to get to your website.
- Add your website to all your social media profiles, business cards and other marketing materials
- Facebook updates, Tweets, Instagram posts etc., should eventually entice people to check out your website.
More and more people are fact-checking products and companies online before they make a purchase. Use these essentials to help your small business website stand out among the online clutter.
Get a mobile-friendly website that not only looks good, but also adds value to your business. With custom designs, digital services and reasonable prices, Webware’s toolkit is the perfect solution for small businesses.
One of the great benefits of the Webware platform is the ease of use. It’s very easy to make changes to your website yourself – to edit your content, change images, add blog posts, even create your own web pages.
To make it easier for you to add great-looking web pages, Webware has added 14 new web page design templates! Now your inner website pages can look just as great as your home page, and you can choose from a wide variety of styles that include images, videos, product collections, forms, and more.
Scroll down to see all the new page types you can select for your website:
Menu Collection Page
Text & Image Pages
For details on the variety of page types available, see our Help Center article here.
To learn the basics of how to add a page, view this article.
Great news for Webware customers! Use our latest product update, customizable forms, to help you get the most out of your website.
Now you can create custom forms on your Webware site, to collect exactly and only the information that you care about from your customers.
There are three types of forms available on any Webware site: Registration Form, Profile Form, and Newsletter Form. Each of these forms gives you an opportunity to find out more about the people who visit your site.
Your site will be created with each of these forms already included and with standard fields such as name and email address.
You can now customize your forms by adding or removing fields, even creating custom fields, to collect the information you want to know about your customers.
For example, if you’re offering B2B services, you may want to know Company Name or Website URL.
If you’re an ecommerce apparel store, you may want to know Gender or Shoe Size.
There’s all kinds of information you might want to collect, such as:
- Company name
- Neighborhood or zip code
- Preferred store location
- Shirt size
For details on how to customize your forms, see our Help Center article here.
For more on the types of forms on your Webware website, see this article.
Are you considering an investment in your small business by building a website? The good news - An effective website can help your business reach new customers and boost your bottom line. The bad news - A poorly designed website not only doesn’t help your business grow, it can cause customers to lose confidence in your business and head elsewhere. Understanding what makes a powerful website from your customers perspective ensures a better user experience and more success out of your website. Whether you plan to invest money by hiring someone to build it for you or invest time building your own website, knowing some website psychology basics can help you get the most out of your investment.
Here’s 4 principles of psychology to keep in mind when building your website:
As humans, our brains are wired to constantly seek out what we recognize. Recognizing patterns helps us understand and navigate our surroundings. If we come across an unfamiliar situation, our brains may interpret it as a threat, triggering a chemical “fight or flight” response. [source]
However, familiarity lends itself to trust. If your website fits the “website pattern”, your customers are more likely to inherently trust your website and business. Upon landing on your business’s website, your customers will make snap judgements (in less than 1 second!). Instilling trust right away improves the chances of your customers staying on your website after their first impression. Your website should include the basics like your logo, obvious navigation, and banners with high-quality images balanced with easy-to-read text to maintain a recognizable “website pattern”.
From a user-experience perspective, cognitive load is the amount of mental effort required for your customers to navigate your website. The original definition of cognitive load, first used by psychologists, defines cognitive load as the mental effort required to learn a new task. For your customers, the new task is to understand how your website differs from other websites then adjust to their behaviour to effectively use the website. The cognitive load required affects how easy it is for your customers to find the information they’re looking for on your website - and as a small business, you want to make it as easy as possible! [source]
The first step to make things easier for your customers (aka reducing cognitive load), is to know what they’re looking for when they visit your website. Are they looking for food/service menus, your blog, products you sell, information on products/services, or contact details? Then, focus on presenting the information in an easy-to-find way. To reduce the risk of cognitive overload in your website visitors, keep your website as simple and clean-looking as possible. Each piece of content on your website should provide valuable info. Using keywords at the top of your website, like in the navigation bar, help customers understand and navigate quickly.
Human brains are designed to pay attention to anything different or unique in our surroundings. From an evolutionary perspective, humans noticing something out of the ordinary was developed as a survival tactic to judge potential threats. [source]
Though there aren’t any threats on your website, marketers can take advantage of this human tendency by creating a visually unique Call-To-Action. Draw customers’ attention to your offer with colours, images, or typefaces. For example, a bright orange “Start Your Free Trial” button against a neutral background will immediately catch your eye, drawing attention to what you want your customers to do. For your customers to be able to respond to your call-to-action, they need to know where it is. For the best results, make it easy for them to find by ensuring it stands out from the rest of your website.
With roots in Information Foraging Theory, information scent can be traced back to the earliest humans hunting for food. The scent of information describes our ability to judge whether or not we will find what we’re looking for by following a certain path. Humans are designed to look for cues that point us in the right direction as we hunt for information. The hunt boils down to two factors - motivation and effort. What will I gain by following this cue (motivation)? and is this a worthy use of my energy (effort)? [source]
Tap into your customers’ natural instinct to know where to look for information. Descriptive navigation tabs and meaningful subheadings initiate a strong information scent. Maintain the scent with images and further text descriptions on landing pages. Like cognitive load, the goal is to make things as easy as possible for your customers. Even if you have a lot of products or subcategories, studies show that customers don’t mind clicking several times, as long as they believe they are headed in the right direction. If the cues on your website don’t support humans tendency to follow the information scent, they’ll likely become frustrated and head back to Google to continue their search.
Investing time and money into your website can be invaluable for your business but it’s important to understand the underlying factors of website success. Using science-backed tactics to instil positive feelings in your website visitors means better chances of reaching new customers, increasing awareness and building sales. Time and money are both extremely valuable to small businesses; keep these website psychology basics in mind to maximize your investment in your website.
Don’t want to waste time or money on your website? Webware’s professional team ensures your website is optimized for user-experience and setup for success.
The trend of mobile search shows no signs of slowing down soon. Following the path that Google began in April of last year, the mobile-friendliness ranking signal will be updated in May 2016 to further improve mobile search results.
According to TechCrunch, “Google’s search chief Amit Singhal said for the first time this summer , more Google searches were completed on mobile devices than desktop computers”. There are 100 billion searches performed on Google each month with more than half happening on mobile phones!
With more and more people relying on Google’s mobile search, this update to further penalize non-mobile friendly websites is the next natural step for the search giant.
From the official Google Webmaster blog,
“Getting good, relevant answers when you search shouldn’t depend on what device you’re using. You should get the best answer possible, whether you’re on a phone, desktop or tablet. Last year, we started using mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal on mobile searches. Today we’re announcing that beginning in May, we’ll start rolling out an update to mobile search results that increases the effect of the ranking signal to help our users find even more pages that are relevant and mobile-friendly.”
With this update to its search algorithm, Google continues to confirm the mobile-first industry standard. If your business website is not mobile friendly, now is the best time for a redesign. Not sure if your website is mobile-friendly? Click here to test your website.
This is great news for Webware customers! Our mobile-friendly, responsive designs will continue to be favoured by Google and give our customers great search results ranking.
How is your website working for your business? If it’s not bringing in traffic or sales, it might be time to give your website a health check-up. Here’s 10 common issues that signal your website could benefit from some TLC:
1. Your website is not mobile responsive. Or worse, you don’t know what mobile responsive means. A website that can be viewed on all devices is not optional; it’s essential. In this booming age of smartphones and tablets, non-responsive websites are outdated, annoying to navigate, and severely affect your rank in search results. If your website in not mobile responsive, run, don’t walk, to your nearest, trusted web designer. Read more about mobile responsiveness and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) here.
2. You don’t know what SEO means. If you have never heard of Search Engine Optimization, that’s a red flag that you need help. SEO is an essential component of a successful and effective website. When ranking websites in search results, search engines, like Google, run algorithms to check several factors on your website. Here’s a few examples of factors that contribute to where your website lands on search engine results: website content, mobile-friendliness, website quality (speed to load pages, duplicate pages, broken links, etc), website architecture and geophysical location.
3. Your website has no (or minimal) traffic. Your website has very few visitors or the number of visitors is declining. This is most likely related to no SEO or poor SEO practices. Even if your industry is already saturated online (like women’s fashion), there is room for everyone and a little SEO work can go a long way.
4. Your web traffic isn’t navigating past your homepage. If your website has a high bounce rate, your traffic is either clicking the “back” button in the browser, closing the tab, or going dormant. In any case, they aren’t being captivated by your website and there could be a few things happening:
- content is cluttered or hard to read
- content is irrelevant
- there is no Call-to-Action
- your website is attracting the wrong traffic
Whatever the reason, if visitors to your website aren’t moving from the initial place they land, now is a good time for a general website review.
5. Your website isn’t updated regularly. In addition to mobile responsiveness, updates to a website positively contribute to it’s Search Engine Optimization. Regular updates help your website and business get found. If it’s not updated regularly, you will likely notice a decline in web traffic and a drop in your search results rank. If you can’t or don’t know how to make changes to your website, seeking help can get you on the right track.
6. Your website has 404 error pages. These are error messages a visitor will receive when a URL (link) doesn’t exist; either because it was moved or deleted. This can be an annoying and frustrating experience for your web traffic and may send them packing. Search engines, like Google, do not like 404 errors either. This will be reflected on the search engine results page (SERP) with a low rank. A review for 404 error messages and broken links should be part of your regular website maintenance plan.
7. You have trouble finding your own website on search engines. If you can’t find your own website online, how do you expect your customers to find it? Being unable to find your website (without typing the exact business name) means it’s not fully optimized for search engines. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a basic website practice that makes it easier for search engines, like Google, to find your website. There are several things you can do to improve your website’s spot on the search engine results pages and here is a good place to start.
8. Your website was designed by you. Unless you’re a professional designer, designing your own website can be tricky. Web designers have studied the discipline in detail and understand what makes an effective web page. DIY websites can be time consuming, frustrating and can lack the professional polish that comes with hiring an expert. An effective website provides customers with a smooth, user-experience; something a designer has been perfecting for years. If you want your website to work for your business, it’s best to seek out a professional designer.
9. Your website doesn’t have an online marketing plan. Even if it’s basic and simple, every website needs some amount of online marketing. There are both free and paid services to help you market your website. Blogging, social media presence, email newsletters or setup and maintenance of Google tools are all things you can do for free! Without a plan for finding and attracting potential customers, your website may not be as effective as you expected.
10. Your website uses flash intros. Thankfully, flash intros on websites have been on a rapid decline over the last 5 years. “Flash” is a web coding technology (by Adobe) to create animation, like a video, on a website. Firstly, search engines cannot read flash technology. If your website has any flash elements, they are detracting from your “search-ability” (how easy or hard it is to find something online). Secondly, they use a lot of bandwidth and can take a long time to load. If your web developer recommends flash elements for your website, it’s time to get a second opinion.
Your website should be contributing your business. If any of the above 10 signs ring true for you, it’s likely your website could be working harder for your business. Seeking the right help can give your website the refresh it needs to compete in this ever-changing internet world.
Not sure where to start? Webware offers a complete tool-kit to help businesses navigate the internet. Your toolkit includes: a content website or an ecommerce website, blog plus all the digital services your website needs to thrive online.
Google provides some amazing tools to anyone with a website. These (for the most part) free tools offer businesses an amazing advantage over their competition on the most used search engine in the world. Where your business ranks on Google Search can influence how many new customers visit your business and possibly your bottom line. Use these four powerful tools to ensure your business is as visible and effective as possible across all Google platforms.
The Google My Business tool is arguably the most important tool offered by Google for businesses. The My Business Tool allows you to set up how your business contact information will look to customers on Google search. Once set up, your location, website, reviews, phone number and business hours will appear prominently in Google search results, making it easy for your customers to see relevant information quickly. The My Business Tool is used across Google, including Mobile Search and the Google Maps app, so your customers see consistent, accurate info from anywhere they search. Given the popularity of Google and it’s powerful local search, the My Business tool is a necessary component to any business’s online strategy.
When it comes to website data, Google Analytics is the gold-standard for tracking and reporting on your business’s website. Google Analytics tracks and reports visitor data in a convenient dashboard allowing businesses to see new visitors to the website, returning visitors, how long each visitor spent on the website, which pages they viewed and their geographical location. You can also pull reports on specific page performance and traffic sources. Businesses can monitor marketing campaigns, conversion rates, keyword data and add e-commerce tracking. Google Analytics is a “freemium” (free with paid options) tool for monitoring the basic health and operation of any website and is a must for businesses.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console, previously called Webmaster Tools, allows for more advanced website tracking and maintenance of Google-friendly websites. It provides detailed reports on your search traffic, click-through rates and mobile vs. desktop traffic. Through the Search Analytics Report, you can group, filter and compare your data to tweak your overall digital strategy and maximize website performance. The alerts feature will notify you of any website errors that might affect your rank in search results. Google Search Console can provide your business with the tools to get an extra edge against your competition in search results.
The Google+ Publisher tag is another valuable tool to further enhance how your business info appears in search results. Once you install the publisher tag on your website, Google will link your website to your business brand page on Google+. When someone searches your brand specifically on Google, the content from your Google+ plus will appear on the right side of the search results, providing an eye-catching and detailed description of your business. The Publisher tag allows you to show customers more than the basics of your company without leaving the Google Search page.
With consumers turning to the internet more than ever for information, a business in solid standing with Google is likely to have better online visibility and see increases in both foot and website traffic. These four tools comprise a solid foundation for any business looking to establish a strong online presence and manage an effective, profitable digital strategy.
Webware offers it’s customers an extensive range of services to help manage and grow their websites after the initial launch. The Digital Services Package includes the set up of Google My Business, Google Analytics, Google Search Console and Google+ Publisher for your website. The package also includes blog content writing, online reputation management, website/keyword analysis and optimization to ensure your website adds value to your business. Click here for more info.
In this digital age, the value and influence of online reviews is on the rise. Eighty-eight percent of consumers take reviews into account on purchase decisions! Reviews, both positive and negative, can influence your business’s reputation and bottom line. Monitoring what’s being said about your business online is an important part of any digital strategy. Keep reading for a detailed guide on how to make reviews work for your business.
Here’s why your business should care about reviews:
- Trust - 88% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Consumers actively seek out opinions on products/services and studies show consumers highly value peer reviews.
- Visibility / SEO ranking - Businesses with more total reviews and more positive reviews are ranked higher on search engines. For example, Google Maps and Google Mobile Search return the top three businesses nearby with the best ratings and reviews.
- Traffic - The more visibility your business has online, the more likely you are to see an increase in foot and website traffic.
- Conversion - 40% of consumers read reviews on their mobile while at the POS. Positive reviews can close sales and increase overall spending. They can also be a tie-breaker when deciding between establishments so ensure your reviews are accurate and up-to-date.
Ready to get started? Here’s your most important review-related questions answered:
Which review sites should my business use?
The best thing your business can do is find where your competitors are reviewed. Do some research to find which review sites your industry uses to concentrate your effort.
Some popular places to leave and read reviews:
Google Reviews - Google is the most used search engine in the world and specializes in local search. This is a good place to start.
Yelp - This app spans many industries and is go-to search tool for consumers looking for highly rated businesses.
Trip Advisor - If you’re in the hospitality business, TripAdvisor is a well-known and respected website to find reviews
Angie’s List - Mostly for North American based businesses, Angie’s list is ‘higher end’ review site for product and service businesses with guaranteed verified reviews.
Your Website - Add a review widget to your website. Reviews on your own website can increase traffic and sales.
How many reviews does my business need?
Consumers generally read between 4 and 10 reviews before they trust a business. Check out your competitors then aim to stand out from that number. However, consumers are smart and can sniff out fake reviews. If your competitors have 10 reviews and your business has 200, consumers are likely to be weary of your reviews. Aim for a steady increase of one review per month or per quarter.
Can I trick Google with fake reviews?
Absolutely not. Google is well-known for authenticity and will find, then punish, businesses abusing the review system with poor search rankings.
What can I do about bad reviews?
Negative reviews are an opportunity for your business. If you receive a bad review, reach out to the customer. At the minimum, you can apologize for the negative experience and hope they return to your business for another chance to make things right. You can also offer an exchange/refund or discount to compensate for a bad experience. If your business turns the experience into a positive one, you can ask the customer to update their original review or write a new one.
How can I monitor reviews to stay up to date with what people are saying about my business?
Set up Google Alerts to let you know anytime someone says anything about your business. This allows you to respond immediately and provide top-notch customer service.
Ready to get reviewed? How to get reviews:
- First and foremost, DO NOT offer incentives for reviews. This is against most review sites’ policies. Incentivized reviews create mistrust in your customers and will get you booted off review sites.
- Lightly encourage your customers to write reviews. Use your best judgement here. Ask your regulars and satisfied customers. Not everyone will write a review, but if you ask 10 people, you may get 1 quality review.
- Display your reviews inside your establishment. This shows your customers you value their input and may encourage them to add a review as well.
- Establish your online presence. Simply increasing your online visibility can remind customers to write a review.
Word-of-mouth is one of the best forms of advertising. As the digital age’s word-of-mouth, online reviews are a simple, yet effective way to increase traffic, sales, and improve your online reputation. With the increase in value and influence of reviews, a small business can no longer afford to have a poor online reputation. Ensure your small business is up-to-date and reaping the benefits of this essential online tool.
The holiday season is upon us! Is your business prepared? The average American consumer is expected to spend over $800 during this holiday season. SMB retailers see 20-30% of their annual business during the last two months of the year. It is essential for you to ensure that your business is able to capitalise on the high rate of spending during the holiday season. An estimated 47% of consumers prefer to shop online compared to the usual brick and mortar stores. In other words, it means is that there is big money to be made this time of the year as far as online shopping and marketing go. But how do you make sure that you and your business are prepared?
Here is where you can start…
1) Start Planning For The Holidays Today
If you have a website or a dedicated blog, begin by updating it to reflect the mood of the ongoing holiday and festivities. If you haven't posted a new article, photo or even a mere promotion in a long time, then this is the time to do it! You can also try pinning one or two colourful banners or even populating it with holiday verbiage. If you run a webstore, then it is an opportune time to start planning what deals and discounts you can offer!
2) Step Up Communication with your Customers
The key to driving traffic and increasing sales during the holiday shopping season is knowing exactly who your customer is and marketing to them well in advance of the holiday season. Businesses that communicate with their customers year-round have more successful holiday marketing campaigns because they took the time to build relationships with shoppers. Incorporate your holiday promotion ideas into a year-round marketing strategy. During the holiday season, focus on your existing customers but also work towards improving your business’ online presence and driving more traffic to your site.
3) Harness the Power of Social Media
It's the holiday season. And as far as the web statistics go, this is the time of the year when social media outlets record the highest amount of traffic per year. Therefore, it goes without saying that if you lay out strategic plans to tap into this traffic, you can easily multiply your mailing list subscriber base within a few weeks or even days! Be accessible on every social media platform and every device. 65% of shoppers use social media to find the perfect gift, so help them find your store. Below are a few ideas for great social media posts during the holiday season:
- Gift guides
- Wish list items
- Creative ways to use your business’s products/services
- Seasons greetings from your staff
- Party planning and event ideas
4) Partner with Other Small Business Owners to Drive Sales
Just like the adage goes, there's indeed strength in numbers. And if you're just starting out (have a new blog, website or social media page), you'll be far much better placed this season if you concentrate most of your effort in pooling your resources together and partner with other local businesses in your area by promoting one another’s products/services during the holiday season. Partnerships with other local businesses will spread awareness about your business to a new audience of highly qualified buyers, e.g. if you own a nail salon, you could partner with a hair salon and offer combined holiday packages.
Now is the time to get working on your holiday marketing plan. Try out one - or all - of these ideas to kick-start this holiday season for your business.
Webware.io is now integrated with Fedex, the world’s largest express transportation company. Webware customers now have access to Fedex’s shipping service right from their Webware workspace.
Enabling Fedex with your Webware website allows you to manage your entire online business from a workspace you already use. Track and fulfill orders right from the same place, your Webware workspace.
Setting up Fedex with your Webware site saves you time too. You won't need to add any shipping rates or setup weight slabs (for example, 1kg = $2.99, 2kg = $4.99, etc). The shipping rate is automatically integrated into your shopping cart during checkout, based on the weight of the items and the zip/postal code entered. This shipping rate includes delivery fees and pickup fees.
Activating Fedex on your Webware website makes shipping easier and streamlines your e-commerce process. Take advantage of Webware’s newest integration and simplify your shipping today!