Getting your website right: A path to brand loyalty for small businesses
6 min read
11 May 2016
For small, medium and early stage-businesses brand loyalty is a highly valued commodity – it takes time to earn but can be lost very quickly. Whilst large, established brands can afford the occasional blip in customer service, smaller brands are more exposed and have little room for error.
Businesses need to therefore rely on the resources available to ensure the customer experience is unfaltering and, in many cases, the website is at the heart of this.
Driven by the always on, always connected world, consumers want 24/7 access to everything online. Figures from a Capgemini report show that UK online spending reached £114bn last year – getting the website right is vitally important.
Even the smallest startup or the most early-stage business understands the importance of an effective website and its role as the primary access point for customers. A website which conveys your business’ personality, which clearly communicates your products and services, and which scales and develops with your customers will contribute to creating a loyal following.
But many business owners lack clarity regarding the type of platform which can help them to achieve these goals.
We think you should consider the following four areas:
(1) Scalable business, scalable website
The website needs to be reliable. Consumers want access to a website 24/7 – they have little time for excuses and won’t tolerate downtime. They’ll simply click to the next competitor site.
For some businesses, such as retailers, there will always be fluctuating traffic levels to their website, depending on the time of day or month. Whether it’s your average Wednesday in April or Christmas Eve, businesses must be able to provide customers with a stable website, or risk losing them forever.
Along with retailers, all businesses face the challenge that incoming traffic to their website may change dramatically at any point. Maybe an article in a national newspaper becomes highly popular, maybe it’s a seasonal holiday, or maybe discounted products become a hit. The key for SMEs is having a platform which can be scaled immediately depending on demand.
A platform like WordPress provides this and ensures that no matter the increase in traffic, businesses have the capabilities to adapt quickly and meet demand without the risk of downtime.
(2) Plugins, plugins, plugins
When choosing a website, businesses want it to resemble everything that their company is. It needs to be personalised to portray the brand that they care so deeply about and they want it to be secure and safe.
One of the greatest aspects about choosing a web platform these days is that, thanks to the vast developer communities which now exist, there are a host of plugins available which allow businesses to customise their site and ensure its security. For example, more than 43,000 plugins are available in the WordPress repository alone.
It’s not true that all businesses that operate on a specific platform have the same website structure and no individuality. The number of unique plugins which now exist allows companies build a unique website, and add and change functionalities to suit the business as it grows and develops.
Continue reading on the next page for why WordPress is no longer just a blogging platform and how it’s supporting businesses of all sizes with an online presence.
(3) Brands as publishers
A crucial aspect of any website is to promote and showcase the great information and content companies have to offer. Today, many brands are taking publishing into their own hands and looking to build direct relationships with customers. For SMEs, who may not be able to employ huge teams and technical specialists, there is a need for a simple CMS that can be managed by anyone.
Brands want to become publishers of content themselves. This allows a greater diversity of content to be shared, real time updating of stories, and less reliance on one technical individual with the relevant expertise.
The ease of use and flexibility of WordPress (rooted in its blogger origins) is really driving this “brands to publishers” revolution.
(4) Enterprise-class for businesses of all sizes
WordPress now powers more than 74m websites, or 26 percent of the web. The days of WordPress being thought of as just a blogging platform are truly over. WordPress is now the CMS of choice for some of the world’s biggest brands.
Enterprises such as CNN, Tech Crunch, Skype and UPS use WordPress as their platform, and it is clear that it provides an enterprise-class service.
Although SMBs face different challenges than bigger organisations, they need to be enterprise-ready and have access to the same tools and mind-set that has driven success and growth in their larger counterparts.
For many companies the website acts as the most important extension of the business as a whole, while for others the website actually is the entire business. Through making their website secure, making it personal and making it work 24/7, businesses have a great access point to customers to develop brand loyalty and increase sales.
With loyalty in mind, these are the most effective reward programmes in the world.
Fabio Torlini is MD EMEA, WP Engine