Taking your online business to the next level

growing business womanIf your business is online – whether you’re managing a blog or running an ecommerce site –  the old saying: ‘if your business isn’t growing it’s dying’ is probably more relevant to you than to most other types of business. Keeping up with the latest online customer trends is essential, whether you want to grow your business or just stand still. And just as bricks-and-mortar companies expand to different locations, you too can increase the scope of your online venture to reach new audiences. Here are some steps for building up your website to take your business to the next level.

Keep up with your audience

Having put considerable time and effort into building a website, it’s crucial to ensure that it continues to effectively speak to your target audience. The most enduring online businesses achieve growth by keeping track of their visitors’ behaviour and adjusting their website accordingly wherever necessary. Analytics tools are an essential part of this, providing unique insight into your visitors, such as where they come from, how long they spend on each page, which keywords bring the most traffic to your site and what design aspects are off-putting. Using free tools such as Google Analytics or real-time tools such as Woopra is one of the most effective ways to understand your audience and grow your business.

Website plus

If you’re looking to take your business to the next level, it is equally important to think beyond your website. As consumers are increasingly using mobile to surf the web and make purchases, having a mobile-friendly website is now essential. Going a step further and creating an app could be a competitive way to engage with your audience. Depending on the type of business you’re running, an app will enable users to make fast in-app purchases. Apps are one of the less explored mediums among small enterprises, so could set you apart as a contemporary business.

If you have an ecommerce store, it is additionally worth checking-out sales platform for your type of product, like Asos, Etsy and Ebay. Keep your own site, but experiment with other shop-fronts too.

Prepare for more traffic

An essential part of growing your online business is not only making sure that your website is secure, but also ensuring it is ready to expand in terms of content, and equipped to receive higher volumes of traffic. You can best prepare for the growth of your business’s online presence by making use of a flexible web hosting package, like this one by 1&1, which offers unlimited webspace. As for the burgeoning volume of traffic, a performance server ensures continued site functionality when running an online project with lots of data – such as multiple pages containing images – which is crucial to keeping visitors on your site. There are various server solutions available depending on the size and needs of your project. Some companies even allow you to upgrade or downgrade your server package at any time according to how your business evolves, or simply opt for temporary support – ideal for the initial growth phase.

Have your growth team in place

If you are relying on external web development partners take time to fully research their credentials and take up references. Sally Ruddock of ecommerce company, Scarlet and Mustard advises: “It’s crucial you pick a team who totally gets you and what you’re trying to achieve, and who also react quickly when you want something done – a crucial part of being an internet business. It’s easy for them to court you with great ideas to get you on board, but all too often once they’ve got you, you become less important. Pick people who are creative and with lots of energy, and who have excellent attention to detail.”

Of course with a good content management system, like WordPress, you may be able to do much of the development and maintenance yourself. But even so, it is worth having a support contract in place to make sure that any problems are sorted out promptly and effectively.

Image via Shutterstock

 

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