building your reputation online










web site design


web site design


















Building Your Reputation Online
Herman Drost

After running an online business (web site design) for a
number of years I built a reputation online that helps
me to gain and retain a continuous flow of customers. I had
no online reputation when beginning my business, but was
able to build it up step by step over the last few years.

Why is building your reputation important for your
online business?

People tend to purchase services or products only from
people they trust. For example you may have hired a
contractor do a repair on your house, that did not deliver
on what was promised leaving you very disappointed in his

So how can you build a reputation online which creates
trust between you and your customers providing you with
repeat business?

10 effective ways to build your reputation online

1. Provide courteous customer service - always be polite
with each customer, greeting them (ie Hi, Hello, Dear)
first and ending your communication appropriately (ie Best
Regards, Sincerely, All the Best). I always try to do this
in my email communication and postings in online forums.

2. Over deliver on your products - this is a great way to
gain extra credit with your customers. People often take
short cuts due to lack of time or impatience and therefore
under deliver on their service, leaving the customer unhappy.
A good example of over delivering is to provide quality bonus
products when a customer purchases your e-book. Another
effective way is to offer extra quality advice even after
the client has purchased your service or product.

3. Become an expert - writing articles about my business
and publishing it on the Web has been a very successful
way to build trust and loyalty. I try to make the information
easy to read, and provide the necessary steps to put the
knowledge into practice. This saves a lot of time and frustration
for people who want to find quality information quickly.

4. Display your full name, company name and contact information
When I visit a web site I want to know who is behind it and what
they have to offer before I will make a purchase. Within your web
site, include your full name, a picture of yourself, and contact
information. Include a telephone number as well. I often have
customers who call me instead of using email. They want to be
sure there is a live person behind the web site (not just an
autoresponder) that they can talk to personally.
This helps build trust immediately by clarifying customers
questions who may have hesitated to communicate
with email.

5. Create a clean, navigable, and fast loading web site.
You only have 10-20 seconds to get the attention of your
web site visitors. Create a design that is easy to read
with web copy focused on the benefits of your business.
Don't try to wow them with a flashy design. Most visitors
are simply looking for targeted information.

6. Be an active web participant - participate in online
forums by offering quality advice, asking questions,
giving testimonials and being courteous. When people
see that you frequently help others in the forum, they
will visit your own site (you can leave a link to your site
at the bottom of each post, if they wish to contact you).

You may even want to
create your own online discussion
forum. This creates a supportive environment for people
to share ideas and ask questions related to your
business. This helps you to gain a lot of repeat customers.

7. Provide testimonials - ask for testimonies from
satisfied customers and put them on your web site.
Visitors are more apt to buy from you, if they can read
about others' experiences that worked with you. Be sure
to include their email and/or web site address so the
testimony is believable. Don't create false testimonies
(with no qualifying email or web site address). It only
reduces your credibility.

8. Provide quality products and services - if you offer a
high quality product or service, your customers are more
likely to return in the future to do more business with you.

9. Keep in constant contact with your customers - send out
a bi-weekly newsletter, create an online forum, use
autoresponders, or other methods to stay in touch with your
customers. Most people these days are simply too busy to
remember to return to your web site for the new information
you wish to share with them. Constant communication with
your customers creates long term relationships that leads
to building a strong reputation.

10. Be personable - be interested in what your customer is
trying to achieve with your service or product. Don't try
to take advantage of their inexperience and just sell them
something. That action will come back to bite you later.
Always be honest and upfront with your customers and you
will reap many rewards.

Building your reputation online doesn't happen overnight.
Therefore be consistent and patient in your efforts.
This will create a solid pillar for establishing a successful
business online for years to come.

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Herman Drost is the Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW)
owner and author of Affordable Web Site Design and Web Hosting
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