Contrary to the economic climate, there has never been a more imperative time than now to bolster your online presence.
Before COVID-19 began, 80 per cent of Australians were shopping online according to Google. As shops temporarily shut and consumers work from home, the amount of people turning to the web for goods has increased further. Even in the face of a recession, online spending in Australia rose by 3 percentage points over the past three months as more Baby Boomers (aged 52-66 years) and Silvers (aged 66+ years) came online for the first time. This is a significant milestone as traditionally it has been quite hard to convert these generations to online purchasing.
At Wicked Sites we’ve been working with small businesses to strengthen their online assets in the face of COVID. Whether you are a digital nomad or native, here’s our top five easy ways to make sure your business is placed in the best way possible to attract more customers online.
If you don’t have a website, you are practically invisible
Did you know that 87% of customers begin product searches on digital channels? This means that if you don’t have a website, you are more than likely missing out. You can build free websites with companies like Squarespace or Wix, but if this isn’t your area or you don’t have time to do it, we can help.
Let these statistics sink in for a moment: Telstra’s recent small business report found almost 50 per cent of consumers surveyed said they would stop considering buying from a business if it did not have a website. Additionally, 62 per cent of customers said they would stop considering a small business if they couldn’t find information about it online.
How’s your engine running?
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) isn’t as scary as it sounds. When someone types a word or phrase into Google a list of results related to this will appear. The more your website is SEO optimised through keywords and referral links the further up this list you’ll feature. Google uses a myriad of algorithms to rank websites. While many of these we will never know, some we do. Ask your loyal customers or at the very least your family and friends to leave a glowing Google review, make sure your website is secure and it loads quickly (more on this in my next point).
Website speed (and size) matters
Nearly 70% of consumers say page speed impacts their willingness to buy. Make sure your website’s load time isn’t scaring away customers. Two to three seconds is the optimal load time, but we see a lot of businesses running at six plus seconds. Use Pingdom to find out your load time and try decluttering your website to make it run faster (smaller sized pictures and videos for one). Google penalises websites due to decreased speeds, so this ought to help your SEO ranking.
Update your Google My Business details
Nothing pains me more than to see a business without their details updated on Google. If a customer Googles your business to find no website link, phone number or address, they’ll most likely look elsewhere. Head to Google My Business and update your details pronto.
Make sure your website is mobile optimised, or at least friendly
Twenty-five per cent of online sales in Australia were made through mobile devices last year. Your website might have a stellar interface, but have you checked how it looks on a smartphone? Punch your business URL into your phone and have a look. If your website is mobile friendly then this means it’ll accurately display on a smaller screen. If you want to go one step further then having a mobile optimised website will reformat content to the appropriate size for a pleasant browsing experience. Building a website through free platforms like Squarespace or Wix will ensure your website is mobile optimised.
This post was written by Mark Acheson, journalist and digital strategist and founder of Wicked Sites.