(Gawkwire.com) – Customers, clients, and a faithful audience of readers and supporters have become the foundation of successful businesses in the online world. If the people who truly understand your product recommend it and your services to those around them, they will stand by your decisions and even help you grow by offering their own opinions and assistance.

Having an online presence for your business is an important part of the success of your company in the contemporary market, so here are some tips for those who have not made the leap into e-business success yet.

Blogging for Customers
Blogging used to be a means for angsty teens for emotional release, but now it’s become possibly the most important part of online businesses today and helps make a great website to boot. From a Search Engine Optimization perspective, blogging means you are putting out daily updated content, and that means you could rank higher for your key search terms in Google and the other engines. But another rarely-seen benefit is that your customers can give their opinions. While sharing insights into your business, you can gain new customers by publishing your opinion, asking for advice on new product launches, or even simply running a contest or sharing new ideas for the future of your company.

The client’s interest to what you have to say and more importantly your dedication to their comments, concerns, and criticisms will benefit your company’s image, allowing the customer to see you’re the best possibility for their needs. The key is really interacting with your audience, which will attract future customers as well by promoting an image that says your business cares. Blogs are also a great place to share special discounts and promotions that your customers can’t find anywhere else.

Open Your Doors 24/7
Maybe you can’t provide live 24/7 support for walk-in clients or customers who have questions at 4am. But you can still prove that your company cares about the convenience of its customers by running a website that operates 24/7. Trust me, this is a big bonus. I’m one of those people who has trouble sleeping occasionally, and if I’m surfing around and have a question about a product, I get incredibly frustrated if I can’t find a website or at least an email address to talk to someone about my concerns. Having an email address actively available 24 hours a day will be perceived as a convenience for customers, and it can also help boost sales by offering a window into your company whenever the consumer is interested. The best part is that it promotes a worldwide, international presence, as customers in China can email you with their inquiries just like people in America or Spain.

Convenience is Everything
I’m looking for a flower delivery service to surprise my mom on Mother’s Day. Since my mom lives in Missouri (true story), I remember that there’s a local florist there she enjoys, so I type in JoeSchmoDeliversFlowers.com…only to find the only information listed is their phone number, and their hours of operation are M-F, 9-5 (and it’s Saturday at 8pm!). Not only do I want more information (and thus Joe Schmo loses a client) but I’m also frustrated that Joe’s website doesn’t include any pictures of various arrangements, pricing for delivery options, or a simple email address.

The convenience of being able to read your company’s biography, history, sales pricing, services or products, and customer reviews will provide potential customers with a friendly, helpful image before they buy. If Joe Schmo’s site had included at the very least some information on their floral arrangements, I may still have purchased. Plus, if you sell a product that can be purchased instantly, you can add a shopping cart to your website and your customers can shop 365 days a year from the convenience of their own homes. Again, this is something that’s a must-have in my opinion. If your potential customers have questions, listing an email address offers them a place to get support instantly. Even if it may take you a day or two to respond, it may still be easier for customers who do not have access to drive to your business or call you from a long-distance area.

What You Need
A website, duh. 😉 Plus a domain name, some email accounts, and a shopping cart if you’re willing to go the extra mile. Oftentimes you’ll be able to find a complete ecommerce solution for under $100/year, a small price to pay for the added business you’re sure to receive and the referrals that should start pouring in once people are able to access your website 24/7 and get a distinct picture of what makes your company unique.

Writer’s Bio: Tiara Rea works for Lunarpages Web Hosting, where she is the Affiliate Program Manager and writes for the Lunarpages Newsletter and Blog. A geek at heart, Tiara fronts the band Me & Mildred Against the World and is obsessed with Harry Potter, good poetry, and Japanese manga.

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