"open" sign hanging in a shop window

Photo by Mike Petrucci

These days, everything is digital. Especially the marketplace.

Expanding your brick-and-mortar storefront into the online world by creating an online presence has now become an essential part of growing your business, even at the local level. Taking an active role in the ecommerce space can significantly expand your reach, and open up new avenues for revenue.

Here are some strategies that can give you the advantages you need to succeed in the digital world.


The Benefits of Expanding Your Online Presence

Before we dive into the “how,” it’s a good idea to understand the “why.” Expanding your online presence offers several key advantages:

    • Broader Audience Reach: In the online world, your store is no longer limited by physical location. Customers can access your products or services from anywhere across the globe.
    • Increased Sales Opportunities: An online presence means your business can operate 24/7, increasing the potential for making sales while you’re at home getting some much-needed sleep.
    • Better Customer Experience: Providing customers with an easy-to-navigate website improves their shopping experience. Providing simple but important quality-of-life incentives like this can potentially increase customer loyalty.
    • Improved Brand Visibility: With the right search engine optimization (SEO) strategies, you can boost your brand’s visibility online, making it much easier for potential customers to find you.


Transforming Your Physical Storefront into a Digital Powerhouse

Now this is where the rubber hits the road. Here are 3 key elements that can significantly increase your local brand’s success in the online world.


1: Responsive Web Design

The first step in creating an impactful online presence? Making sure your website is both accessible and visually appealing across all devices and audiences.

A responsive web design automatically adjusts your site’s content and layout to fit the device the visitor is using to browse your site. This is crucial. More than 60% of online traffic now comes from mobile devices.

Another bonus: Because responsive design improves the user experience, it also has a positive impact on how search engines like Google rank your site.


a hand touches a tablet nearby is a phone, mug of coffee, and a plant

Photo by Milena Trifonova

2: Top-Notch User Experience

User Experience (UX) is at the heart of all successful online transitions.


UX refers to a person’s entire interaction with your website, including everything they touch, click, swipe, see and hear. (If you’d like to take a deeper dive into this topic, we explored a key aspect of UX, User Interface, in a recent post.)

When creating an effective UX, here are some key elements to focus on:

    • Simplicity: Keep your website’s design clean and straightforward. Overcomplicating the design can overwhelm visitors and even confuse them, detracting from their experience.
    • Navigation: Ensure your site’s navigation feels natural and intuitive. Users should find what they’re looking for easily.
    • Speed: Page load time is critical. No one likes to wait for a page to load. Optimize your site to guarantee lightning-quick loading times.
    • Call to Action (CTA): Clear and compelling CTAs guide users towards taking the desired action – whether it’s making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or contacting your business.


3: Harness the Marketing Power of Local SEO

For small businesses, local SEO is a game-changer. It helps your business show up more prominently in local search results, making it much easier for customers in the area to find you.

Here are some ways to optimize for local SEO:

    • Google Business Profile: Be sure to create your Google Business Profile listing. This free tool allows your business to appear in local search results and Google Maps.
    • Local Keywords: Incorporate location-based keywords into your website’s content and descriptions, so your business shows up when people search for those terms.
    • Local Link Building: Entice other local businesses and websites to link to your website. This not only improves your site’s rankings, but also makes great use of your professional relationships within the community. Some examples of local link building are BBB, local chambers, and associations.
    • Reviews and Testimonials: Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews online. High-quality, positive reviews can improve your business’s reputation and rank within local search results.
five yellow stars lines against a pink and blue background

Photo by Towfiqu Barbhuiya

Website Success for Small Businesses

Expanding your physical storefront to an online presence requires thoughtful planning and execution. But the payoff is well worth the effort – extending your reach, attracting more customers, and opening up new revenue streams.

Here at Smart Link Solutions, we’ve been helping local businesses thrive in the digital world since 1994. With a focus on building strategies tailored specifically to your needs, we offer services including:

We’re a Google and Shopify partner! Want to make the most of your online presence? Stop by Smart Link Solutions or give us a call at (866) 757-5100 today!