8 ways to protect the online reputation of your business

8 ways to protect the online reputation of your business

In today’s digital world, your online reputation and identity can make or break your business. To keep your business’s online reputation intact, it is important to know what’s being said about you and to take the appropriate steps to manage any negativity.

As we live in a search-happy world, customers will likely Google you before they consider doing business with you. Your brand must have a solid online presence to appear at the top of search engine rankings and build customer trust.

Here are eight things you can do to ensure your online reputation is not damaging your business.

1. Keep your company’s website up to date

When researching your business, people go to your website, so make sure you leave a solid first impression.

An outdated website can reflect poorly on your business, making you look ‘behind the times’ and unaware of technological advances. Keeping your website modern will increase your credibility and lead to a better conversion rate.

It should also be mobile responsive as smartphones and tablets have revolutionized how people access the internet and get information. Today’s customers want everything to be quick and easy and expect to be able to use their phone or tablet to access your website seamlessly – if you can’t provide this, you’re likely to lose customers.

2. Claim your business profile

Claim your business profile across the web and on every social media site to secure your brand identity. Even if you don’t intend to use Instagram for business, grab your IG handle so that no one else can. If somebody gets there first, it can confuse your customer base.

You may have heard of John Lewis (the man) who snagged the Twitter handle @johnlewis before John Leiws (the shop) could get to it. (They had to settle for @JohnLewisRetail instead.) He is hounded by tweets from customers believing him to be the shop – and luckily for the retail store, John takes time to reply to each tweet and re-directs them to the correct account.

Imagine if he didn’t respond… the customers would surely think their comments were being ignored, which could significantly impact the store’s online reputation. This is why it’s essential to claim your profile on every platform.

3. Utilize social media

Although some brands are wary about using social media, the power of this tool can’t be ignored. Not only do popular social media sites rank highly in search results, but they’re an ideal place to push out company news and engage with customers. Sharing recent press, upcoming events, or company announcements over social media is a great way to illustrate that your company is active and relevant. This will reassure customers that you are easy to reach and open with two-way communication.

4. Create quality content

Customers want to trust what they are buying and the company from whom they are buying, so if search results only show a few hits, it may be a turn-off for potential buyers. Regular information on your website, social networking sites, and press releases will help your online identity grow and reassure people that you’re still active.

Creating a blog and contributing to industry-specific social media discussions are other powerful ways to promote yourself as an expert in your field and reach more people.

5. Layer your security

A security breach can significantly damage your reputation. One of the best ways to keep your business and customer data safe is by layering your security. Adding firewalls is essential in stopping attackers before they can gain access to your critical information, and obscuring the back-end login page will help prevent brute-force attacks.

Complex passwords should be compulsory for your customers and any employees accessing your site’s back end. By only accepting passwords that combine numbers, special characters, and upper and lowercase letters, you protect yourself and your customers from potential hack attempts. The more security you can implement, the better protected you and your customers will be.

6. Invest in an offsite backup solution

Installing the best security features on your site is a considerable step to deter hackers, but none of it matters if you aren’t regularly backing up your site. Aside from hackers, data loss, hardware breakdown, and human errors can quickly happen at any time, so it’s worth investing in a robust backup solution – such as remote data storage centers, backup plugins, and data recovery software.

Without backing up your website, you could be unable to restore it quickly or cheaply to its previous condition. Imagine the potential sales lost if your website was down for just a day, let alone weeks (or even months!). it could take to rebuild it again. This can significantly affect your reputation and bottom line.

7. Don’t compromise your customer’s data

There’s no reason to store thousands of records on your customers, especially card expiration dates and CVV2 codes. Old records should be purged from your database so that just a minimal amount of data is held.

Although some customers prefer their card details to be saved so they don’t have to re-enter them at the checkout, the risk of fraud firmly outweighs the convenience for your customers. Any instances of fraud can destroy your business’s reputation, so stay squeaky clean and don’t compromise your customer base’s data.

8. Monitor what people are saying about you

People write about companies on online review sites, blogs, and social media. To find out what people are saying about your business, you should regularly search for your company name on all the major search engines.

Google Alerts are a great way to see immediately when your name appears in search engines. To create an alert, go to the Google Alerts homepage and type in your name in the “Create an alert about …” box. You can then choose to receive email alerts as your name appears once a day or once a week.

Ultimately, it’s essential to be proactive rather than reactive regarding your online reputation. The above list is a great starting point. Still, in some cases it may be best to hire a professional to monitor the security of your website – as this is a crucial area to the overall impression people will have of your business.

WP Tech Support does more than just protect you from attacks by keeping your WordPress system and plugins up-to-date. They also carry out a manual health check at the outset, providing recommendations for improving the security of your site. Please look at our WordPress maintenance plans to find the best one suited to your business requirements.

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