Small Business Saturday Blog

Boosting Your Brand’s Online Presence: 5 Things to Consider

Friday, March 06 at 10:22Digital | Getting Online

Whether you’re a small start-up business or an established SME, in today’s digital-focused landscape there’s no escaping the importance of a successful online presence for your brand.From responsive websites to consistent branding, we’ve listed the top 5 factors you should take into account when approaching your online presence. Some of them are simple and can be quickly implemented by yourself or your team, others are more complex and may require the expertise of a developer or creative designer. Either way, they’re vital steps in your brand’s online campaign and are definitely worth the initial investment if it means reaping the rewards later.1.User ExperienceYour website should be designed first and foremost with the needs of the user in mind. Will the journey around your site make sense to them? Will they find what they need quickly, without having to search too hard? These are the questions you need to be asking when reflecting on the efficiency of your site.• Is your layout logical? Ensure routes around your site are clear. For example, after giving information, ensure advice/contact details are easy to find• Think about all of your users. Your website should be easy to read. The best way to achieve this is to use larger fonts and ensure text is significantly darker than its background.• User-test. If your sample are reporting things which are difficult to read/navigate, your customers will probably be having the same problems.• Include social media icons. Make it easy for your users to share your content.• Put your key message on your homepage – not your entire story. This will ensure users can get a quick overview without being swamped by text.2.Mobile ResponsivenessFor the first time, users on mobile devices are outnumbering desktop users, so a key aspect to bear in mind is whether your site will work on a small screen. You don’t want to alienate any potential customers with a design they can’t use when visiting your site from a mobile device.We looked at a sample of ecommerce beauty retailers and found that between November 2013 and November 2014, their mobile traffic had increased by an average 81%. Similarly, there was a 552% rise in mobile traffic across our B2C property sector sample. Mobile responsiveness is now such an important factor that Google are labelling mobile-friendly sites in their results.
Google’s new mobile friendly indicator means that any users searching on mobile devices will be told before they even click-through to a site whether or not it’s mobile-friendly. So, businesses that appear in the search results with this label are likely to receive more traffic and conversions than those who don’t.Your site needs to be responsive now more than ever. To assess how yours is doing, you can carry out Google’s mobile-friendly test, which will indicate the factors you need to change or improve for your site to be listed as mobile-friendly. You may need the help of a developer to instigate these changes, but it’s certainly worth the effort; you don’t want to let your potential customers scroll past your business.3.Consistent branding Customers expect your brand to be consistent both online and offline. This doesn’t mean simply carrying the same logo across all platforms, it goes much further than that. Consistent use of colours, fonts, tone and brand behaviour also go a long way to creating a recognisable presence. You could take away the logo from a Coca Cola bottle and you’d still be able to identify the brand. You should aim for the same result with your branding too.Any colours or distinctive visual style on your site should be carried through to other channels such as your social media accounts. Offline, you should feature these recognisable aspects on any business cards or display ads you create.Don’t think of your business’ physical location and website as two separate entities, merge both so that they become recognisable branches of your brand whether your customer is online or off.4.Home page copyThe copy on your home page is usually the first piece of information a customer will read, so it needs to completely sum up your brand’s unique style, voice and values. Keep content sharp and to-the-point, users will soon get bored of reading waffle. Use links within the copy to direct users to pages where they can find further information should they need it.Consider the key words your brand should be targeting, and ensure variations of these are used throughout your content. Seek the advice of an SEO professional if you’re unsure about this though, as overusing keywords can be detrimental to your site’s rankings.Meta descriptions and title tags are also important features, and can reap valuable click-throughs if actioned correctly. They let you to sum up important information about your business so that users can get an idea about your services before they visit your site.
Plug-ins such as Yoast (WordPress) are extremely helpful if your experience of technical SEO is limited. With Yoast you can devise meta-descriptions, write title-tags, and target any focus keywords easily.5.Brand voiceYour brand should have a consistent, recognisable tone of voice across all platforms. Consider your target audience and the services your business offers when engaging with potential customers. If your business is a makeup line aimed at teenage girls, adopting a highly formal register probably won’t attract them to your business. Similarly, if you’re offering legal services for businesses, your target audience won’t appreciate an informal, colloquial tone.Whatever the brand voice you decide on, make sure this is carried across every part of your website- from the copy on your product landing pages to any call-to-actions on site. It should also be evident across your social channels too.Creating a recognisable brand voice can help to reassure your customers about your business’ reliability, core values and whether you’d be a good fit for the type of service they’re after. A strong brand voice can also help them to remember your business long after they’ve left your website.By Claire Morris, copywriter for Fluid Creativity. UX insight and web design expertise provided by George Hill. 


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