Simple Steps to Improve
Your Online Presence

If you have a relatively small local business you might ask yourself why an online presence is even important. That is the wrong question. The right one would be how you can afford not to have an online presence at a time when there are around 4.57 billion active web users - 59 percent of the world’s population.

The fact is that nowadays people are using the internet as an information directory. If they hear or read about your business elsewhere, chances are they will turn to Google or social media before making a decision. And if they can’t find you, they will most likely just move on to the next name on the list.

Let’s have a brief look at how you can easily build an online presence for your business without breaking the bank.

1. Create a Website

No small business should be without a website in the 21st century, regardless of what products or services it provides. For most people, this is the starting point where they would learn more about your products or services.

Your company website should provide clear, concise information about the products and/or services your sell. Also make sure your contact details stand out - if first-time visitors can’t find your phone number or a contact form very quickly, they might simply leave.

Avoid using huge images, long walls of text, or confusing layouts. Just get your message across in a friendly, convincing manner. Of course you need to make sure your website is optimized for mobile devices - for many people, that is the only way they access the web.

You can use a simple website builder, such as Wix, Squarespace, or Weebly. However, these drag and drop website builders will never appear as professional as a website made in HTML, Javascript, and CSS by an experienced web developer. If you are serious about growing your business in the modern era, you need a website designed by an experienced web developer.


2. Create and Maintain Social Media Pages

Billions of people are on social media every day. For many of them Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn is where they will first try to find more information about a product, service, or company. Here are some tips to help you establish a social media presence:

  • Use good quality photos to portray a professional image of your business
  • Have a posting schedule and stick to it. Rather post once a week on three social media platforms than once a year on fifty.
  • Do not just post about what you sell. This is your company’s human face. Tell something about your own life, your experience in the industry, the fact that you care about the society that supports you.
  • Be responsive. Ask for feedback and respond to both compliments and complaints.
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    3. Register with Online Business Directories

    Online business directories can be a free or cheap way to expand your online presence and help local customers find you. Start with Google my Business, Bing Places, Yellow Pages, and Yelp. These can help to improve your ranking on search engines, particularly in the case of local searches.

    4. Website Blogging

    (Don't skip this one!)

    Website blogging will take more time than just having a website built, but it will become a powerful marketing tool. The aim is to establish you and your business as experts in your field.

    Let’s say you sell pet care products in a town where there are 100,000 residents and two other similar businesses. Who would customers rather buy from: the two they only know as storefronts, or the one that regularly posts good quality blogs about pet care on its website?

    It doesn’t have to stop at your website either. You can start placing you blog content elsewhere for more exposure. For example, do a regular free guest post on a local newspaper’s website, in exchange for them linking back to your website in the article.

    The Bottom Line

    Don’t view your online presence as something you do once and then wait for the customers to flood in. Look at your online presence as a communication channel between you and your customers. A channel that has to be kept alive with information and feedback flowing in both directions. Building this channel will take time and effort, but it can ultimately be a very rewarding experience for your business.