Web based review sites and smart phones are providing local small businesses with incredible opportunities to make a huge impact on their businesses.
Online reviews are simply a fact of life nowdays. Even small communities’ businesses are being reviewed online. With smartphones, the reviews can now take place instantaneously, via many apps designed to allow access to review sites, including Yelp’s iphone app. According to Yelp:
- Just over 1 in 4 searches on Yelp are performed from our popular iPhone application.
- Even more thrilling: every five seconds someone uses the Yelp app to call a local business.
If you believe you can dismiss these reviews, take note. According to Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey from last year, “ninety percent of consumers surveyed noted that they trust recommendations from people they know, while 70 percent trusted consumer opinions posted online.”
You can reasonably assume people will ask their family and friends first for a recommendation but if none are familiar with your business people are highly likely to base their decision to visit your business based upon online reviews. If you have consistently negative reviews, you can be pretty certain they will decide to go to elsewhere.
What are people saying about your business online?
No business will receive all glowing reviews. In fact, people are more likely to trust the reviews they find online if there are some negative reviews.
However, it is important to pay attention to all the reviews, even the negative ones. Is there a consistent theme with the negative reviews? Are people commenting frequently about poor service, a poor product, bad business practices? You need to take these reviews seriously and look at them objectively. Is there something you can do to improve the experience of your customer?
Use online reviews to find ways to improve your services, business processes and products. Ignoring the bad reviews will not make them go way, in fact you can assume you will loose business if all people use to make a decision to go to your business is the reviews they are finding online.
Find out how Mid Columbia Webs can help you optimize your web presence to take advantage of these online review sites, contact us for a free consult to learn more!
What changes (if any) have you made to your business based upon online reviews? Please comment below and share your experience.
Recently I read a post on ProBlogger titled Top Ten Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Small Business Blog Using Twitter. This is a must read post for any small business trying to figure out how to gain leverage from twitter.
A couple of points covered in this post are to complete your bio page. This includes your name, location, website url and a short bio about your business. Without this information, people have no idea who you are and what your business is about. People will typically not follow anyone without this vital information completed.
You also want to replace the default twitter logo with either your picture or your logo. Again, people want to know who is behind the account. Personally, unless I know the person, I will not follow anyone with the default twitter logo.
You’ll also want to create or have created for you a custom twitter background. This is valuable real estate to not only allow you to highlight your brand and provide more information about who you are and what your business is about.
Below is a short video which shows you what you need to change and where to go to make those changes:
In order to measure website traffic you need have a web analytics software installed. What is web analytics? According to wikipedia:
There are a number of free and paid options out there and I’ll list a few below but Mashable as a fairly comprehensive list. I do not recommend using any software which provides a visible visitor counter on your site. These statistics do not increase traffic to your site and make your website look outdated.
Depending on your needs, you can either track your traffic in real-time or a delayed statistics. You can use more than one option in conjunction as each provides different levels of data.
A couple which I found interesting based on Mashable’s post are:
1. VisitStats – provides real time website tracking, web monitoring software to alert you if your website goes down, touch mapping, and a tool for identifying your visitors by website, email, etc. Looks as though there is a free and paid version
2. Clicky – another offering real time analytics and has an iphone version
3. Woopra – real time analytics which I have used. User-friendly and has a wordpress plugin to allow you to easily integrate it with your wordpress site. I’ve had a couple of issues with it not displaying my current visitors stats within my website but I can view these stats when logged into my woopra account. I am not big on tracking my real time data so have not taken the time to find out why I’m having a problem.
4. Google Analytics – Google analytics is a very popular choice for the simply reason it’s FREE and provides good data. All you need is a google account in order to start using it. The easiest way to get google analytics on your site is to sign up for your google account, go through the steps of setting up google analytics and send the generated code to your web developer. If you have good technical skills you can certainly insert the code yourself, but if you are running a site with standard html pages, the code will have to be added to each page to monitor your site correctly.
You can get a general idea of how your site is performing by looking at the data in any analytics program but to really understand the data it’s important to educate yourself. I will be purchasing Web Analytics 2.0: The Art of Online Accountability and Science of Customer Centricity based on the recommendation of a colleague.
Without analytics it is impossible to know how effective not only your website is but your marketing efforts to drive traffic to your site. There is certainly much more to understand when tracking performance but utilizing and understanding web analytics is a first step.