When people click onto your website, love — or hate — at first sight is a very real possibility. No matter what type of business you run, whether you’re an online store that operates over the internet or a local cafe with a physical space, how you present online is extremely important.

With more than half of the world’s population online, any serious business has to take a good look at its online presence. If your business’s online approach is not up to scratch, you could be missing out on many potential business opportunities or customers.

Here are three easy ways your business can present itself well online to improve your brand perception, build trust, and earn more sales.

1. Your Website Is Your Digital Storefront — Keep It Appealing

The first thing that people see from your business may well be your website. Unless they happen to be strolling by your business and decide to pop in, most customers will find you via the internet. If you are an online store, this is the only route to your products and services, so it’s important to make your website both user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing.

If your homepage is your digital storefront, the rest of the website is akin to walking through the store and surveying its products. Make sure your homepage is modern and uses appealing imagery, but don’t stop there. Take the time — and hire a graphic designer or web developer if needed — to revamp your whole website to give your visitors a pleasurable experience. Just as aisles in a store are clearly signposted so that customers know exactly where they need to go to get what they want, make sure visitors can find the information and products they need without navigating through multiple confusing menus and unrelated pages.

One of the world’s most successful online clothing stores, ASOS, has perfected this strategy. At all times, its homepage is full of vibrant images of a variety of different people wearing the brand’s clothes. Each picture is responsive, taking browsers to relevant categories when clicked on — keeping users on their site for longer and making them far more likely to buy.

Consider hiring a professional photographer or, if you’re a dab hand with a camera yourself, take a photography course to ensure you present stunning images that showcase your business and products in the best possible light.

2. Social Media Can Be Your Connection to Customers — Make Good Use of It

It’s important to pay close attention to social media. With over 3 billion active users across these various networks, this presents another potential way to reach customers. Facebook and Twitter are great ways to have conversations with customers and help answer their queries — they’re much faster than email and publicly show that you pay attention to customer concerns.

Why not make use of the amazing new images you’ve taken by uploading them to Instagram as part of a carefully curated and visually stunning feed that shows your customers what you’re up to? If you’re keen to show a more behind-the-scenes look at your business, consider uploading videos to YouTube. You could interview your employees or collaborators to build trust and give a face to your business. This showcases a more human side of your business and conveys its values and personality. You could also repurpose these when you are recruiting new employees — candidates love to see what it’s like to work within a business and what the company culture is like.

American fast food chain Wendy’s is a master at social media. The iconic eatery always has a crafty comeback handy — notably aimed at its rivals, such as McDonald’s — and this has helped the brand power its way to $64m in profit. Take a leaf out of Wendy’s book and showcase your business’ personality and culture through the effective use of social media.

3. Be Helpful and Give Your Potential Customers Advice and Answers

A final way your business can stand out online is to give advice to your potential customers and answer their burning questions. This can be hosted on a blog or advice section on your website, and it doesn’t actually need to be directly linked to what you’re offering.

Confused? If you provide advice around the products and services you offer, as well as your industry in general, you will build up a reputation for being an authoritative source and an expert at what you do. Well-written content that directly addresses a common query also has the potential to rank well on search engines, which could see more traffic coming to your site.

Google is the biggest name on the internet. As such, it already comes across as an authoritative source of information. Google’s support section provides helpful information on general internet queries, with an especially informative section on search engine optimization (SEO). Information about SEO is useful for a broad range of people, from big companies trying to corner the market with their online presence to bloggers looking to build traffic. Not everyone who asks for such information will use Google services, but nevertheless, the info that Google provides is useful and accessible — and that means people will keep going to the famous search engine when they need answers.

Answering questions shows that you’re concerned about helping customers — not that you just want the sale. Ironically, doing just that can help you convert more customers, as it helps you build trust and overcome any objections a potential customer might have about going forward.

Ori Guttin is a co-founder of Viewbug, an online picture-sharing community, and has spent years working in the internet industry. He specializes in web entrepreneurship, marketing strategy, start-ups, and strategic partnerships.