Firstly, you need to understand that if you don't have an online presence for your business, you're losing out on potential business. There’s countless opportunities and all-around benefits that can help you and your business grow. Even if you don't conduct your business online and you're able to run it successfully without tapping into the digital world, it can only help if you do. One of the most important effects of having an online presence is the credibility it provides for your business.
What is Digital Credibility?
Let's talk more broadly about the credibility of having an online presence. Digital credibility. A term I may have invented but may already be used somewhere else. The phrase may be new, but the principle is there. People need to see that your business is well established before they trust you and commit to your services or products.
Significance of Websites for Digital Credibility
Websites have become a standard. The cold hard truth is that every well-known business has a website, and it was probably professionally built.
According to Zippia, about 60% of small business owners have a website, with an additional 20% who "plan to" do so. If you weren't planning on having a website, 80% of businesses already have an advantage over you.
Anyone can technically have a website. There's not a rigorous investigative process to determine if you're approved. If you know how to make a website, then you can make one. It's the most obvious of all your means for establishing digital credibility. It's your space to share whatever you want however you want with potential customers or clients.
Companies like our partner Wix, one of the largest web companies in the world, make it easier than ever to build your own website. If you're deciding if you're going to build your own or hire a professional, consider reading our article on that matter.
Custom Domain Names & Custom Emails for Digital Credibility
Alright, so you open up your email and you see "Your Package Wasn't Delivered, Click Here..." as an email's subject line. Now you may already get some bad digital vibes just from the clickbait email subject line, but you were actually expecting something in the mail that day, so you click it. It looks like a fairly well put together email, something Amazon may send your way even though you get notification on your phone and Alexa-connected devices. Wait. What's this? The email came from firstname.lastname@example.org? Nope. Not today, scammers! A legitimate company like Amazon obviously has their own domain name (amazon.com), they definitely don't weave look-a-like numbers with their letters like a new driver's vanity license plate, and they would send official emails (both automated and not) using their professional and recognizable domain name.
A domain name is unique. Two people can't have the same domain name at the same time. They can be similar like Yourwebsite.com and urwebsite.com so if someone doesn't know which one your official website is, that's where the rest of your digital credibility comes in. The first thing I'd do is look at social media or professional business listings to crosscheck the official domain.
By the way if you don't look at these things when checking your emails, you better invest in good Antivirus software. These are just the basics.
Professional Business Listings for Digital Credibility
I would argue that professional business listings like Google My Business or Bing Places for Business are as important as a website if not more for Search Engine Optimization and establishing digital credibility.
This is completely free from start to finish. They're Google & Bing platforms that provide a full suite of features to provide information to people searching the internet. They do require some authentication before you can claim a business as yours like proving you live at, work at, or own the business address. This is good because things like this make it more of a credible source for the information provided about your business. Google My Business listings are most frequently used as a credible means of checking business hours, looking up phone numbers and calling, or looking up and driving to addresses.
Social Media for Digital Credibility
I've never been a big fan of using social media on a personal level but it's hard to deny the importance of it as a business. People are all over social media and recent studies have shown that a lot of younger people utilize social media platforms as a form of search engines to look up information.
Anyone can create a social media page for anything, but it adds an additional layer of linking everything together for added credibility. Just like the custom domain name though, two people can't have the same username at the same time but it can be compared to your other means of digital credibility.
People are skeptical now and they're becoming more aware and critical of what's considered credible on the internet. We have come a long way from the "The African Prince needs you to send him $100 in iTunes gift cards so that he may get access to his fortune of gold and send you some" scam days. You're going to need to earn the trust of your potential clients or customers.
Up your DigiCred - Get yourself a website with a custom domain name, follow modern guidelines for your official emails, build out your professional business listings, and have some kind of social media. The good news is that with this growing importance of digital credibility (is this an official term yet?) you and your business have an opportunity to triumph where others have failed or neglected their online presence.
For professional web design and development: Ai1 Development
For easy DIY web design: Wix
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