What has your business achieved in the last year?
In any field, it’s important to constantly learn new lessons and put your experience to good use. This is especially true for online businesses, since technology and trends change so fast it can be hard to keep up.
You need to stay on top of your game this year, so what can you do? We recommend setting yourself a few realistic goals for 2017, and working on them as soon as possible.
Here are our top choices for business New Year’s resolutions…
Build your business website
Amazingly, it’s estimated that around 40% of small businesses are still managing with no website at all. This makes it extremely difficult for new customers to find out you even exist, let alone persuade them that you are the right choice for them. It instantly gives your competitors a huge advantage.
If you’re in this position, your first resolution for the year has to be to get online.
Update your website
Got a website already? Great. But is it actually up to scratch?
Although you may have invested a lot of money in your website, but if that was more than two or three years ago, there’s a good chance your site could require an update in order to present your business in the best possible way.
Modern users expect any business to have a fast, attractive and responsive website design that adapts to screens of any size, whether you’re viewing on a phone or a desktop PC. They expect seamless social media integration, easy checkout functions, engaging content… the list goes on.
It might be a daunting task, but there will almost certainly be at least a few small ways you can really improve the experience of visiting your site, and that could convert into great sales figures.
Get on social media
Engaging in conversations on Twitter, Facebook and other channels is no longer optional if you expect to be taken seriously in most markets. Customers in 2017 expect businesses to have a presence everywhere that matters, because they know that even if a business isn’t listening to their opinions, their friends and followers will.
The worst case scenario here is to be getting a bad reputation on a social network you haven’t even signed up for. But apart from damage control, there are many positive reasons to get more active on social media. More personal relationships are usually great for business, so anything that helps connect you with your customers is a great tool when used correctly.
Write a monthly blog
It shouldn’t take too long to sit down and write a few hundred words on something that’s relevant to your niche. After all, you’re passionate about what you do, right?
Of course, not everyone finds blogging that easy, but it’s important to think about the benefits of investing that time and sharing your expertise. As someone managing a business, you have a huge amount to offer your readers, so don’t undervalue your knowledge.
In addition to directly speaking to your customers through your blog, this is also fantastic for search engines. Fresh content appearing on your website on a regular basis is a great indicator for the likes of Google, so you may also see your search positions increasing as a result.
Create a written plan
Whatever you do, it’s essential to write notes on what you plan to achieve by the end of this year, or even in the next few months.
From there, once you have an objective in mind, you can decide what ideas you’re going to implement in order to get there. It’s important to do these things in the right order and make coordination a priority, otherwise you run the risk of all your team members heading in different directions. This makes it much harder to make progress.
We wish you the best of luck with all your business resolutions this year! If you’d like help with these issues or any other plans you have for marketing your business online, we’d love to hear from you and help find a solution.
Most of us have already experienced first-hand how the internet has changed how businesses operate on almost every level. Ignoring this change stopped being a real option at least ten years ago. Why, then, have so many businesses found themselves completely unprepared to deal with an online security crisis?
Cases of cyber-attacks and hacking are increasing for small businesses, as well as high-profile brands that have been damaged by surprisingly low-tech attacks. One example is Dyn, whose cloud-based infrastructure was overloaded in October 2016, taking down the likes of Twitter, Amazon, Spotify and many more. This highlighted again how reliant we are on our online presence, and how dangerous this can be when we fail to protect our businesses.
This also reminds us that even businesses that don’t allow customers to make payments through their websites need to take security seriously. If your website falls victim to any kind of malicious attack, either from an autonomous piece of software or a hacker specifically targeting your business, all of the following could be at risk.
- Your customers’ sensitive data – not only financial, but personal information such as email addresses, phone numbers and anything else you have on file
- Confidential information about your company regarding finances, sales, personnel or even the valuable trade secrets that make your business a success
- The operation of your website and availability of your services to clients
- Your rankings on search engines
- Your reputation as a reliable, secure company that can be trusted
That last point is perhaps the most crucial of all sometimes. Trust is hard to build, and even harder to get back once it’s been lost. A security incident or hack may be concerning to even your most loyal customers, as it brings into question the level of responsibility you take for the security of those people.
So what can be done? Prevention really is better than the cure with online security. There are a few measures we would highly recommend, all of which we can offer at Easy Internet.
- An up-to-date, responsive website which caters to your users’ needs while providing state-of-the-art protection already built in. We recommend using a reliable CMS (content management system) such as WordPress and keeping it fully updated.
- Robust, reliable web hosting to make sure your site stays online almost 100% of the time. We can take multiple backups every day, and we also offer Cloudlinux to ensure total account isolation from others on the same server.
- Comprehensive security measures, such as our Sitelock add-on, to scan for uploaded viruses, exploits and other threats in real time and keep you alerted to any changes.
- Regular technical audits to make sure your website it optimised and operating correctly, with no past security problems affecting your current site.
The task of getting your website fully secure can be a daunting one, so we like to make it easy for our clients. If you think you may need help with any aspect of your online marketing, simply get in touch with us and we’ll be more than happy to advise you.