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Creating An Online Presence: Part Two

February 08, 2012
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Part one of this article can be accessed here.

If a customer needs your cleaning or maintenance services, the first place they will likely turn to is the Internet.

If you are a business owner who does not currently have an online presence, you are taking the chance that your services will be overshadowed by competitors who do represent their business online.

This is perhaps the driving force behind the importance of marketing your businesses competitively in the industry and doing so by creating a website.

Conceptualization

Once you have decided to create a website, the first thing you need to do is formulate a concept behind it.

Define the purpose for your business'' online space so you can later manage it and its content consistently.

You can do this by setting the goals you hope to achieve with your site.

For example, your goal for building a website may be to use it strictly as a profit stream for your business — so you can clearly inform the public about your services or simply to be more accessible and visible to those who are already patrons of your business.

Evaluating the direct outcome you hope to achieve by entering the online space will enable you to make the most of your website experience.

Whatever your specific goals may be, you ultimately want your website to attract an audience.

A website appealing to the eye will draw potential customers in and better ensure that information will be read.

Your website should allow visitors to gain information regarding products and services and create intrigue so they continue to explore the site and hopefully convert to new business.

The layout and design of your page can help accomplish this.

Grab their immediate attention with a creative header and logo on the website.

Even a simple, creative tagline below your company name can cause viewers to gain more interest in your site.

Images and multimedia features like videos are other great elements to consider when thinking about your site''s content.

But, take care in how you organize and compile the information.

An overabundance of Flash animation and images may slow the loading time of your website, which can deter visitors from staying longer.

Be sure to always keep a good balance between text and images to avoid discouraging visitors of closely reading important details about your services.

Relevancy

While how you display and visually communicate your services is important, so is ensuring that all content is relevant to your business.

Use the website as a way to evoke interest in what you do but also to answer questions that prospective customers may generally ask.

There is no need to completely fill the "white" space of your website, as the quality of content takes precedence over quantity from the visitor''s perspective.

"Informative" and "eye-catching" are often two descriptions that imply a successful website.

But, along with keeping your site attractive, it is important to always keep your site as a user-friendly tool for researching service providers in the cleaning industry.

You can do this by understanding what customers want to learn about a business like yours.

Keep in mind that your goal is to get people to explore your website as much as possible so they convert into a new client later on.

An effective method to use when working towards that objective is to understand that their time is valuable and convenience is of the utmost importance.

For instance, your customers are interested in quickly obtaining your business'' contact information, so clearly place it in the same location on every page.

You may also want to include a tool such as Google Maps to ensure your customers can see where your storefront is located or to help visualize how far your service area reaches into the surrounding region.

Personalization

Every customer appreciates and values the opportunity to both see and share personal experiences.

It can be beneficial to your reputation as a service provider in a niche industry to include an area on your website for visitors to leave comments and ask questions.

This is a great way to provide feedback and share accurate information that also highlights areas of your expertise that you may not have realized were of importance to clients.

You can also use this feature to easily track positive or negative comments.

If you come across positive feedback from customers, place the insight on your website to emphasize the quality of work you do.

Insights from current clients will create a platform of trust in your services that potential customers can rely on when deciding to do business with you.

The capstone to any online presence strategy should definitely be online marketing.

Utilizing opportunities on the Internet beyond your website can enhance its impact on the public.

It increases the visibility of your business or brand, especially when using outlets like social media and online search engines.

The former allows you to more personably communicate and share your line of work with a vast amount of interested people.

Additionally, optimizing your website for search engines will improve the chance for your business to appear prominently in search results.

Keywords and relevant links included in site content, for instance, are beneficial and easy strategies to use for enhancing your website for searches.

Cross-market your business by including links to social media profiles like Facebook on your homepage as well.

And, don''t dismiss the opportunity to submit your business contact details to online search directories like YellowPages.com or Google Maps.

This directly associates your organization with specific offerings within a certain region, putting you in front of those interested in conducting business with you.

Having a professional website has become a mainstream method for marketing a growing business.

It can become a driving force in developing clientele and should be valued as an essential element of managing your business.

Tied in with other avenues on the Internet, you will be on your way to success.


Lauren Whitson is the spokesperson for 1&1 Internet Inc., the world''s largest web host. 1&1 was founded in 1988 and hosts more than 11 million domain names, while more than 70,000 servers run in the company''s five state-of-the-art, green data centers. 1&1''s global community is approximately 10 million customer contracts and growing. 1&1''s mission is to provide an optimal Internet presence for private users and small to medium-sized businesses by offering a complete range of innovative, high-quality web solutions at value prices. Find out more at www.1And1.com.

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