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The online business world continues to be one of the most challenging and competitive of industries.

As businesses struggle to pull ahead of the pack, their competitors seem always nipping at their heels. If you feel that your online business is being circled by virtual sharks in the online pool you share, the following tips can help you solidify your brand, retain and attract customers, and thrive in spite of your relentless competition.

Stellar Website

If you're up against niche competitors, a good website might not be enough.

Whatever your online business, you need a memorable website that is both sophisticated and easy to navigate.

Get out of your box and check out a myriad of websites, even those that have nothing to do with your type of business. Look at formats, color schemes, organization, and design concepts just for a start.

Some top-notch websites you may be able to gain inspiration from include Laduree.fr, Cartier.com, and Art.com. Your website is key for marketing your business"it is the face of your business, so you want it to look and act accordingly. Search boxes that don't search adequately, confusing headings, or a poor text-to-graphics ratio can turn people off before they ever really get to know your business or your products.

Relevant SEO Content

To help generate traffic to your website it can be beneficial to engage writers to contribute research, articles, or even blog posts.

Good SEO can help your website receive a higher ranking than your competitors, allowing you to attract more potential clients or customers to your site. Once you can get them to your website, you've made your first important virtual contact. The best SEO strategy may start with a list of keywords, but it needs to end with relevant and meaningful text.

Blogging, of course, is a great SEO strategy, but simply generating landing pages focused on your keywords can also have a strong impact on your SEO success.

Be Social

If you have an online business, you should have an online presence on various social networking sites.

Since the big names in social media are free, there's no excuse for neglecting this marketing avenue. For one thing, you can reach thousands of would-be customers simply by creating a Facebook page and using the site as a means to spread the word about your affordable services or terrific products.

Social media sites are ideal for updating people about changes to your company, upcoming plans, or special events"to name a few. These sites also provide a direct channel to real people; by using these forums to connect to the people who use them, you can build relationships with far more people than through a traditional email list.

Know How to Straddle the Line between the Personable and Automated

Being a personable and trustworthy business is important to attracting and retaining customers. You can demonstrate these qualities by posting relevant and helpful articles related to your products, publishing an email newsletter for your clients, and possibly even offering tutorials.

Customer satisfaction must be your first priority. On the other hand, knowing when and what to automate can help your business achieve efficiency and organization. With scripts, autoresponders, or special software programs, you can automate elements such as list management, thank you messages, confirmation messages, and so forth. An online company simply must keep up with advances in automation and technology in order to remain viable on the internet.

By remaining diligently dedicated to your customers, you can almost ignore what the other guys are doing. Also, keep in mind that having a lot of competition means that you must be in a lucrative market or other businesses wouldn't be so hot on your tail. While other companies scramble to check out your moves, stick to these solid tips to obtain and keep your lead.

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy How To Spy On Your Online Competition

Charles Dearing

 Charles Dearing is a website development business consultant. He contributes regularly on some of the top internet marketing and seo blogs including the SEARCH ENGINE PEOPLE Blog.

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