The online presence of your business allows you to connect with potential customers while increasing the legitimacy and stature of your business. Modern customers expect to research a company online. Many are leery of businesses that have no online presence at all. The following are some tips that can help you create a good online presence.
Start by Building a Website
Creating a website for your business is easier than ever. It is not like decades ago when you needed to know how to code. You can use website builders, a CMS, or freelancers to do the work for you.
The two things you will need to get started are hosting and a domain name. The domain name can be compared to the sign that would hang outside of a physical brick-and-mortar location. It’s how people contact you online.
Hosting can be compared to renting a space for your business. Hosting is where you put your website. The hosting option you will choose will vary based on the type of business you own and the amount of traffic you expect to have to your site.
Getting a reliable high-speed internet package could be beneficial as well, ‘cause it could significantly speed up the process of building a website and make sure everything runs smoothly.
Exploit the Power of Social Media
Some businesses have opted to forgo a website entirely and instead do their advertising via social media. Instagram and Facebook are two of the most powerful tools for building an audience and connecting with them. The nice thing about using social media is that potential customers already use it. Also, they are familiar with how it works and have grown to trust products and services being offered through social media.
For example, if you own a café or a restaurant, with just a Facebook page and Instagram profile, you can upload new pictures of food that you offer, update your menu, and interact with customers. You can offer coupons and promotions and highlight special events. Some restaurants use a Facebook plug-in to make reservations.
The downside of not having a website and only using social media is that your reach is limited by the mercy of the social media platform. If Instagram or Facebook change their algorithms, they can limit the number of customers you can reach. You are also limited with design and layout options.
Learn about Search Engine Optimization
A well-designed website can be a place where your audience learns more about you and the products and services you offer. However, even the best-designed website can get lost in a sea of millions of websites online. How do you address this? Search engine optimization is the answer.
When properly applied, search engine optimization techniques can take your website from being invisible to putting it on the front page of Google rankings. Investing in an SEO expert allows you to channel your efforts to produce the best results.
Connect with Online Communities
Regardless of the industry that you are in, there are online communities related to that industry. Start finding out about these communities and identifying their thought leaders. Once you participate in relevant discussions with these communities, you are able to build relationships.
This is important because thought leaders in any industry are likely more connected than you are right now. They will introduce you, your product, and your service to others in the industry. New connections could either be customers or partners who can help your business grow.
We recommend searching LinkedIn groups and Google groups when starting to form these relationships. However, you can visit any reputable online forum that pertains to your industry and where users help answer questions that people have. When you become recognized as a trusted voice in your industry, people will look for your products or services. We recommend avoiding directly advertising your product or service in the forums you use as this can turn people away and may get you banned from the forum.
Make Good Use of Google Analytics
You likely monitor the financial health of your business using accounting software. You should also monitor how you are doing online using tools like Google Analytics. You need to know how your efforts to improve traffic to your website, improve brand recognition, and improve brand loyalty are doing.
Using Google Analytics helps you see where you should devote more energy and more money. You should track your progress from day one and continually improve until you reach your desired goals.
The great thing about Google Analytics is that it’s a free tool. You get detailed statistics on how many users visit your homepage, where they are visiting from, the devices they are using, and what browser they are using.
Over time, you should see trends. You may notice that website traffic peaks during certain times of the week or the month or that certain events positively or negatively impact your website traffic and your social media following. Once you have this information, you are able to make better decisions for your business.
Invest in Blogging
Blogging is still a powerful tool to establish your online presence. Blogging is not writing random thoughts or ideas about the product or service you offer. It involves creating pinpointed content designed to generate interest, attract new readers, and provide valuable information.
You need amazing original content that is posted regularly if you will succeed at blogging. If you do not have the gift of writing, invest in an in-house copywriter. Or you can use the scores of freelance services available to find a good copywriter to provide you with a regular feed of content.
You want all of your online efforts to have a long-lasting impact. For this to happen, be it on your website, social media, forums, or a blog, present a consistent message and make sure that everything you create provides value to your readers.
Building an online presence is not something that will happen overnight. It takes time. However, if you are consistent and you are committed to it, your efforts will be well worth it.