Moving Beyond an “Online Business Card”

online store for small businesses

marketing plan templateA traditional website is a thing of the past. Today consumers crave interaction when engaging with businesses on the Web. Applying this mindset into an online strategy will help set a professional website apart from the rest.

In order to stay ahead of the competition, all businesses need to be up-to-date with the newest and most efficient technology. While having an online presence may not be the newest movement, the strategies which a business can leverage on the Web are constantly evolving.

No longer is a website a simple “online business card” for companies. In order to keep up with consumer demands for more interactive and convenient online experiences, business owners need to take an in-depth look at their websites in order to meet the needs of 2015.

In order to best position your business on the Web, it is important to understand some of the key elements business owners should implement to modernize their websites.

1. Streamline All Online Accounts

With the popularity of mobile apps, Web hosts have begun to implement the concept into their online solutions. Now called ‘Web Apps,’ these features offer a way to streamline all third party online accounts into one, central location. Additionally, Web apps that are integrated within a website remove the need for visitors to be diverted away to external URLs while allowing for essential business processes to be accomplished.

For example, Open Table is a service that allows customers to make online reservations to their favorite restaurants – perfect for any food service business. YouTube lets users directly integrate videos making it perfect for contractor and retailers while Scribed Documents showcases PDF files so real estate agencies, for instance, can display contracts or property fact sheets. Integrating outside accounts to your business website provides customers with unlimited convenience and helps generate more interaction.

2. Social Media Integration

While many small business or start-ups do not have the budget for expensive marketing campaigns, incorporating social media into the marketing strategy can be the perfect solution. Networks such as Facebook, Google+ and Twitter are all cost-free ways to improve communication with customers. Updating information about current promotions, commenting on industry news or engaging customers in conversation are all great purposes for adopting social media accounts into business plans.

Once accounts are created, display feeds and “Like” buttons on the business website. A new level of accessibility and transparency is met by keeping all profiles in plain view for consumers.

3. Go Mobile

Americans no longer operate on a strict “9 to 5” office schedule. It has become more common for them to move between different offices, cities or even states on a daily basis due to both professional and personal responsibilities. Therefore, making websites mobile friendly gives them the ability to reach you at times and locations that are convenient for their schedules. Whether on a train, in between meetings or sitting a home, their phone is always with them, and in turn, so is your business.

Due to the variations of resolutions and screen sizes, implementing a responsive design into a business strategy has proven to be one of the best solutions. This technique automatically identifies the device in which the website is visited on and adjusts the site so it is viewed perfectly. Furthermore, popular search engines like Google favor responsive designs and thus place those websites that use it higher in results.

Through the evolution of technology, many tools have been made available to businesses that prove to increase profits and reputation with consumers. Modernizing your business website to be more than a static webpage will create a more efficient and educational experience for you and your consumer audience.

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As a manager for 1&1 Internet, Inc., Kelly Meeneghan Peters is an industry specialist providing expert advice on how SMBs can thrive online. With a passion for helping SMBs to get off the ground and become profitable, Peters’ goal is to eliminate hesitations of getting online and encourage SMBs to embrace all the Web has to offer including website design, social media and online marketing. 1&1, a global leader among Web hosts, provides companies with the tools necessary to get online and be successful. For more information visit or learn about how you can drive success for your business at