5 Essential Steps for a Business Owner to Improve Their Online Presence
What's the buzz about businesses publishing SEO content? How can you get started with a business website?
Business owners, no matter their industry, need to have a strong online presence. The days of Yellow Pages and customers calling companies for information are in the past. Most people will now go online to find the products and services they need. If they click on your site, they expect to see your operating hours, directions, and price estimates clearly defined.
Not sure how to build your online presence most effectively? Not a problem. Here are the five essential steps.
Step One: Register a Domain Name
The first thing you need to do is buy your domain name, known as a web address. Many specialized websites make the process quick and affordable. Remember that shorter is better You want your domain name to be memorable and easy to find. If your business name is Smith Family Home Decorators, for example, that’s too long for a fast-entry web address. Including the whole name would be www.smithfamilyhomedecorators.com. Try to shorten it to www.smithhomes.com.
If the domain name you want is already in use, don’t worry. You can switch the words in the domain name until you find one available. You might also try different suffixes for your web address, such as .com, .org., or .net. Your first choice should be .com, though, as it’s the easiest for customers to remember. You can cheaply register your domain name at sites like Hover and GoDaddy.
Step Two: Build a Website
Building your own website may seem daunting, but it’s fun once you get the hang of it. Many companies provide step-by-step directions for creating your own high-quality pages. Register with sites like Squarespace and Weebly and try their services for free before buying. Keep your site easy to understand with relevant information.
Step Three: Join the Biggest Social Networks
You might already have a personal account on Facebook, but your business needs its own page too. Social networking is a great way to gain notoriety and keep in touch with customers in your area. There are more options than just Facebook, however.
Register with Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Use Twitter and Instagram to tell the world about deals or new products, and LinkedIn to find new employees. Joining four social networks might seem overwhelming, but you don’t need to monitor your feeds all day, every day. Think of one or two tweets a day or one big Facebook post per week. Start small, and things will build over time as more people notice your online presence and “like” what you do.
Step Four: Start an Email Newsletter
On your website, include an option for readers to sign up for an email newsletter. This is one of the most useful ways to build an online presence and keep people interested in your business. Don’t send out newsletters more than once a week, though. No one wants spam emails constantly reminding them of your products. Ensure your newsletters are informative and entertaining so subscribers will read them. MailChimp is a useful site for crafting professional newsletters.
Step Five: Update Frequently and Strategically!
Now that you have a website, popular social network accounts, and an email list, you’re done, right? Not quite.
More businesses publish web pages and blog posts by the day. To get noticed, you need to update your website with industry-related blog posts on a weekly basis. You also need to tailor your posts with an appropriate number of keywords. Doing so prompts search engines to rank your website as relevant for the user. The less you update, and the less strategic you are in your use of researched keywords, your information will appear lower down on search result pages. If search engines don’t classify your pages as high-value, fewer potential customers will see your site.
As a busy business owner, the idea of doing so much writing might seem unthinkable. If you enjoy writing, this is time well-spent. But because web publication is such a necessary, time-consuming task, most businesses publishing SEO content hire a dedicated writer. An in-house or independent contractor can easily manage your online presence. It is the most cost-effective form of advertising today. Outsource and negotiate what you want to pay for such services.
Search the web for “Search Engine Optimization” (SEO) or “content management” for more information.