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How to Build a Strong Online Reputation

A local business’s online reputation is a critical part of its success online and off. People want to know that they can trust you before they decide to hire you, and they’ll look to your online reputation to determine whether or not you’re worthy of that trust.

Your Guide to Building a Strong Online Reputation

Step #1. Build the right website.

Every aspect of a local business’s online reputation will point back to their website, including review sites, local directories, and social media. Additionally, when someone decides to work with you after reading reviews or learning about your business based on what they find on an online directory, they’ll come back to your website to schedule an appointment or learn more.

Your website is a big deal for many, many different reasons, and you want to make sure that, when someone visits your website, it makes the right impression. That means that your website needs to load quickly, be mobile-friendly, be easy to navigate and search, and be professional, informative, and attractive.

Step #2. Get your business listed/ claim your listings.

Marketing is all about being visible where people are looking, and that’s true whether you’re talking about traditional advertising or digital marketing. When someone is looking for a local business online, that search often starts on local business directories and review sites. And, your business needs to be there when they do.

Your local business needs to be listed across every relevant review site and directory. Every business should be listed on the big ones, like Google, Yelp, and Top Rated Local®, but you should also ensure that you’re listed on the review sites that are specific to your industry. For example, if you’re a home contractor, you’ll need to be listed on Angie’s List, and if you’re a wedding photographer or planner, you’ll need to be listed on The Knot.

Getting listed and/or claiming your existing business listings will also ensure that your contact information is accurate so that people can get a hold of you when they need to. Additionally, it gives you the ability to respond to your reviews.

Step #3. Get more reviews.

Reviews are arguably the most important aspect of any local business’s online reputation. Every business online claims to be the best at what they do, which is why what a business says about itself doesn’t matter a whole lot. But, when a customer says a business is the best, it changes everything.

Most consumers read a business’s online reviews before deciding whether or not to work with them. When they do, they want to be able to read multiple reviews to get multiple perspectives. They also want to be able to read recent reviews because they’re more relevant to the experience they can expect to have.

If you don’t have many reviews — or you’ve got negative reviews — it doesn’t put your business in the best light, and it can send customers the other way. That’s why you need to make sure that you have plenty of online reviews.

Getting reviews doesn’t have to be challenging; it can be as simple as asking for them. Unfortunately, even if you provide a next-level experience, not many people will write reviews on their own. However, the vast majority of people will write one if you just ask.

Requesting a review right after the service has been rendered is probably the most effective way to generate reviews, but you should also take advantage of email and SMS marketing to get more reviews, as well as social media.

Step #4. Respond to your reviews.

If one of your customers has taken the time to go online and write a review for your business, acknowledge that and take the time to respond to them. Responding to your reviews shows how much you appreciate them in the first place, and it shows your customers that you truly value their feedback.

Whether the feedback is positive or negative, responding will tell your customers that you’re listening. And while it’s important to respond to all of your reviews, you should make responding to your negative reviews your highest priority.

When you respond to your negative reviews, it gives you a chance to share your side of the story and show the world what kind of customer service you offer. The right response to a negative review can turn the situation around and help you earn a customer for life. It also shows anyone reading the exchange online how much value you place in correcting your mistakes and providing a good experience.

Step #5. Monitor your online reputation.

A local business’s online reputation isn’t set in stone. It’s like a living, breathing thing, constantly changing with every new review or brand mention. Because it’s always changing, it needs regular attention, which means that you need to monitor it closely.

There are plenty of tools out there that can help you keep a close eye on your online reputation, including Top Rated Local.

When you claim your Top Rated Local listing, you’ll get real-time notifications any time someone leaves you a review, giving you the ability to respond right away. You’ll also be able to access every verified review site you’re listed on from one place, and your Rating Score™ will help you quickly compare your overall online reputation to your competitors’.

These days, having a great online reputation is a critical part of a local business’s success, and that starts with having the right website. If you don’t have a website — or the website you have isn’t exactly up to par — it’s time to start building a new one with Websites 360®.

Our website builder is incredibly easy to use, and each template is mobile-friendly, SEO-friendly, and 100-percent customizable. Choose a design template to get started.