You can do all the extra work and audience building you want when it comes to your online presence, but if you aren’t making the most out of every opportunity (reader) that comes onto your webpage, you’re only winning half the battle. Your reputation is vital, and how people perceive your online presence is the difference between a passive view, a customer and someone who will sing the praises of your website.

Think about it. How many times were you turned off of a webpage without really looking at the product because of how their website appeared or how their representatives interacted with others on social media? The average person is getting savvy to how ad and marketing campaigns work, so you need to capitalize on word of mouth instead.

How do you do that? You manage your appearance and your reputation to make sure that only the best things are said about you. And how do you do that? Give everyone the time they deserve, and stop problems before they happen. Go the extra mile.

Here are some strategies and tactics that will help you market your blog and maintain a long standing relationship with your website audience.

Respond Quickly and Decisively

Being able to respond quickly to your website audience also means that you should nearly always be plugged in. Sometimes you can’t wait a weekend away from the office to respond to concerned or curious users. After that long, they’ll have completely forgotten about their concern (unless it is an emergency), and you’ll have missed your chance to engage positively.

Notifications, regardless of the website, make this a pretty easy task to stay on top of as long as you are dedicated and can find time every day (preferably twice a day) to respond to comments and other alerts on your various accounts that you use to improve your online presence.

Consider the following tips and strategies:

  • Try responding to a comment or two instead of idly waiting for a line or a late meeting. Turn idle time into an opportunity. You will want to stay safe while doing so, so try to avoid using public networks or use a VPN while you do so.
  • Try grouping each social media platform into its own section of time, if possible. Consider using tools such as HootSuite to manage your presence if you only have so much time on your hands.
  • Remember not to get too hung up on messages you’ve already sent. There is little you can do about them, and if they don’t work in their intended way, make sure that you are learning from the experience.  

Always Look to Solve the Deeper Problem

Customer complaints and other problems are opportunities not to be missed. Once you solve their problem or address their concern, they’ll be far more likely to be a return customer. However, you can’t always believe that the concern they bring to you and the thing they ask for is the real thing that they want.  

Before you respond to an email, comment or interact with readers in any manner, you need to ask yourself: “What is the reader or customer really looking for and what can I do to satisfy that need?” Empathy is the better part of communication.

Look Clean and Operate Well

It is well-known that people don’t like waiting for webpages to load, and after a few seconds, your retention rates will drop like an anvil over a cliff. How can you have a conversation if potential clients and viewers leave your site because they don’t have time to worry about loading times?

While there are numerous and contextual methods to speed up a website and make it look nicer, try to consider some of the following to make your website more appealing:

  • If there are scripts on your website that take a while to use but experience minimal usage, make sure you really need them. Some people might find them to be clutter, and they could increase load times. You don’t need to be using all the latest scripts to have a high-quality website.
  • On a similar note to scripts on your website, try not to overload the reader with information and options if you have a focus for the website. While this doesn’t necessarily mean having a minimalistic approach, make sure that every last item on your webpage has a purpose.
  • While this may seem obvious, make sure that you are using fonts and designs for your website that both fit the tone for the website and are visually appealing. A website related to flowers might not make the best first impression with a gothic theme, for an extreme example.

Make the Most of Social Media

It might be hard for you to imagine the immediate benefits of maintaining social media accounts early on in the lifespan of your company. You may see it as a wasteful investment after a month and only fifty likes on your company’s Facebook account, but that doesn’t mean you should quit.

Think of it as a hub and opportunity for your brand. This will be more important to some websites than others, but you need to consider the long-term growth of your page. You might even want to have a placeholder account in the event some trolls or the competition wishes to bad mouth your product. You want to have a feed off positive energy flowing toward your brand.

Don’t Waste Readers’ Time

Your readers are people with just as many hours in the day as yourself, and they want to be informed in an efficient manner as to how you can solve their particular problems. When you send out an email from a mailing list, make sure that you are offering something that is actionable and that is worth the time to consider. A minor deal or a brief update about an experimental program might be inconsiderate to send out, even if it’s exciting for you.

Transparency and Honesty

Readers are a suspicious lot, and they don’t want to have to worry about becoming the victims of a scam. In addition to creating an online presence that puts people at ease the second they talk to a representative or interact with your brand, you need to put your product where your mouth is. You can’t try to pull the wool over their eyes.

It comes down to excellence in everything you do. As people are naturally suspicious online, you need to state your position without overstating your honesty. Would you trust a car salesperson who kept bragging about how honest they were? Of course, you wouldn’t.

You also need to create a level of trust with your readers by making sure that your website and any equipment you use is secure. A breach of security would destroy most strong reader relationships, not to mention the fledgling ones. Protect yourself via the following methods:

  • Make sure that your website isn’t vulnerable to XSS attacks and that your reader’s (or client’s) data isn’t being stolen. The cybercriminal may commit the crime, but many people will still hold you and your website responsible.
  • Similarly, make sure that you are practicing safe public network usage and avoiding data sniffing while away from the home or office. Be aware of the types of data you are sharing and make sure you are using a reliable VPN to encrypt your information and remain anonymous while performing research and communicating with readers. Their safety is on the line as well!
  • Remember the basics of cybersecurity. Don’t let scammers get to you or malware infect your system. Keep your email safe at all costs. Keep up to date with the latest threats. Do whatever will make your website safer and build trust with readers.

Be Generous, Welcoming and Rewarding

Put out your best foot and your best offers (if applicable) when trying to court readers. While you wouldn’t want to put out anything that you couldn’t back up, many other websites are offering their best, and you need to compete with that.

One simple thing you can do is adjust the language of your communications to be open and welcoming. Anyone is welcome to read your site or try your product, and you are there to help in any capacity you can. Emphasize that point. Make it part of your mission statement and your newsletters. Inclusivity is key for most websites (with a few exceptions).

The online landscape is constantly changing, but human nature is a more stable factor. As everyone is going to use the best tactics they can to boost their audience size and public perception, you need to build a reputation for excellence. Treat readers the way you would like to be treated. In fact, treat readers in the way that you didn’t know you wanted to be treated.

Once you make that a regular practice on your website and your social media accounts, you will start to see the growth you hope to achieve.

Byline: Big thanks to Cassie Phillips for this guest post! Cassie  is a marketing professional who also writes frequently about technology topics. She understands the importance of building a community and treating every potential reader as well as humanly possible.