Online Branding -  a Key to Success for Small Businesses

So you have a new business and the available budget is too low for proper advertising through ads in newspapers, magazines, radio or other traditional media outlets. What s left is the World Wide Web and you believe that having a website will do. But to develop a successful website you need time, commitment, patience and professional expertise. 
Successful Websites   What Do They Need?
The Internet environment is marked by continuous changes and demanding consumers. An overwhelming number of choices waits at a click of a mouse. More and more companies have to face the challenge of creating a strong web presence and building up a recognizable brand online. What makes eBusinesses work?
The most important aspect you need to remember is that it is not enough to make a website and put it online. You must give your visitors a reason to come back: call for action and provide constantly fresh content. 
As the Web is an ever-evolving entity, your website needs continuous improvements and adjusting, it needs to be optimized and promoted. This way the results you expect will be gradually expanded to meet your overall goals.
Online branding through a website has an amazing power. Quality content, a user-friendly layout and the suitable code are the three key ingredients to create a successful website. Although properly  blended  they are not able to sell a site without design. And the web design has to harmonize with your branding standards.
Brilliant websites have elegance and style. They generate the emotional aura needed to transform a passive viewer into a customer.
Branding your business online is not only about showing a logo or a new look. Online branding deals with traditional corporate identity components such as values, personality and benefits. Benefits are what your visitors are looking for. Why should they choose you over thousands of eBusinesses? 
A new website is born every day. The competition is extreme. To keep up with the changes is hard. Many webmasters and web designers promise astonishing results in less than a month. To achieve this they use paid inclusion and rarely really optimize your web pages. No matter what SEO myths you have heard, keep in mind that the main part of the web page you have to optimize is the body copy   the text that your visitors can read. This is content and it has to be easy to read, grammatically correct, original, coherent and relevant for your business.
Another very important factor for the success of your website is the appearance. As in life first impressions determine whether we like something or not, your visitors  first impression will instantly determine them if they are going to take the time to check what you have to offer or not. To reach this goal and get the professional website you dream about, you need a pleasant web design and a well organized and easy to navigate website. Time is money; so don t stress your visitors with flash intros unless you want them to go away. The  skip intro  button is one of the most clicked on the web today, after  back . Better create a website that loads quickly, than one with dazzling special effects and background music.
Promote Your Web Presence Through Relevant Press Releases and Articles
The moment you have your new website online, promote it. Submissions to the most important Search Engines are not enough. It takes time till your website will appear in their results. If you have a great product or service, new or improved, don t be afraid to tell the world about it. Write a press release, describe your product and its benefits, and then submit your story to the relevant press release distribution services. Some of them are free and some require a distribution fee. Choose the one you can afford and don t be afraid to post articles for free use. Information and fresh content are valuable and your website will benefit through backlinks from the directories where your articles are posted.  
About the Author
Mihaela Lica is a PR consultant, founder of Pamil Visions 
Previously she used to work as a military TV redactor for Pro Patria and the Military Media Trust within the Public Relations Directorate of the Romanian Ministry of Defence.

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