In the 1990s, a website was viewed as a priority for only the largest organizations. Fast forward to 2018 and having an online presence is a critical step in setting up a business. In any case, whether you build a website for it or not, people are still going to talk about your company online.
Ergo, it’s in your best interest to be the one who initiates the conversation since it allows you to shape opinions on your own terms and thus nurture a good reputation for your brand. A good online reputation is never accidental but rather requires deliberate and consistent effort. The following are a number of ways you can do that.
1. Quality Content
There are hundreds of millions of websites online today with thousands more going live every day. Whatever your product may be, there’s likely dozens of established websites selling something identical or similar. One of the best ways to set yourself apart from the rest, is to create great content.
Customers are drawn to businesses that demonstrate a certain level of commitment to quality. That means ensuring order, coherence, consistency and accessibility on your website. Not only should you create grammatically correct content but web applications on the site should work as required. You could for example, install an application monitoring tool that helps you keep track of the performance of your web apps so you can catch any burgeoning emerging problems early.
2. Social Media
Facebook is the third most visited website in the world. With more than 2 billion active users, it is symbolic of the prominent place social networking has assumed in the world today. What started out as a casual platform where people could stay in touch with friends and family has transformed into a vibrant forum for businesses to connect with their target audience in near real-time.
Facebook and other networking sites such as Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn are therefore vital in building and protecting your online reputation. In fact, the lack of presence on these leading social media sites is in itself injurious to your brand. It reeks of a business that is out of touch with societal and technology trends.
Once you do create your business’ social media account, ensure they are active, have a consistent posting schedule and you engage your audience by promptly responding to queries.
3. Monitor Your Mentions
Mentions is a term that gained popularity on Twitter. While it is important to keep an eye on your social media mentions, it’s just as vital for you to monitor what people are saying about you on the wider Internet. Given how vast the world wide web is, that may seem unrealistic. Fortunately, there are free tools to help you do that, perhaps the most effective being Google Alerts.
Google Alerts are easy to setup and will send you email notifications daily that show you where conversations touching on your brand are taking place across the public internet. You can therefore nip in the bud negative sentiment before it spirals out of control and extensively damages your online reputation.
4. Implement SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) raises your website to be among the first results when someone searches for a specified keyword in a search engine. The majority of visitors to your site are likely to be people who clicked on your link on a Google or Bing Search result.
What’s the relationship between SEO and reputation? Recognition. Even before you do anything else, people assume that a website that pops up among the first results has a certain credibility that websites further back lack.
Building a good online reputation takes months and years of work. It can however be easily undone in a day. It is therefore vital that you put in place mechanisms and procedures that make it hard to drop the ball and that will ensure your reputation is consistently positive.