How your website affects your company’s reputation
As the center of your online presence, your website plays a major role in how potential customers and clients perceive your company. Users have certain expectations when they visit your site, and you need to meet – or exceed – these expectations.
Many factors play into how Internet users perceive your site, but these are the major ones to consider when working on your online reputation:
Your position in organic search results
Before a visitor even arrives on your site, they want to know that it’s reputable. You can demonstrate this by ranking well in organic search results.If the first thing that a user sees when they search your name is interesting, well-written articles and blog posts about your industry, they’ll know that you’re worth their time. If this isn’t the case for your business, it’s time to rethink your approach to search engine optimization, or SEO.
SEO can help you improve your rankings in search engine results, and as a result, the number of people who click through to your site. That means you get more opportunities to promote your brand online and even acquire new customers.
Design and overall appearance
Once a visitor arrives on your site, the first thing they’ll notice is how it is designed and laid out. If it appears messy, unprofessional, or difficult to navigate, they’ll likely return to the search results and try another business – possibly even one of your competitors.
That being said, you don’t need to go overboard and have every new feature and latest design style on the market. As long as your site is user-friendly and looks professional, your main concern should be the next element.
The factor that will ultimately play the biggest role in how visitors perceive your site is the quality of its content. Informational, in-depth content that helps them understand a topic or solve a problem will make them see your company in a favorable light and build your brand as a trustworthy resource in their minds.
On the other hand, shallow, poorly-written content will have the opposite effect. So if your site is full of generic, keyword-stuffed content, this is the first place you should start in your online reputation management strategy.
Speed and usability
In addition to appearance and content, the usability of your site also plays a major role in whether or not visitors have a positive experience with it. If it loads quickly and is easy to navigate, they’ll focus on the content and learn more about your company.
But if your site is disorganized, if it’s difficult for users to find what they’re looking for, or if it simply takes too long to load, they’ll associate your company with frustration. This is never a good association – but thankfully, it’s an easy one to fix.
By testing your site speed and usability on a regular basis, you can be sure that you always provide a positive experience for potential customers. However, it’s important that you include mobile usability in these tests. An increasing number of Internet users browse exclusively on their smartphones, tablets, and other devices, meaning that responsive design is a necessity.