Updated: Oct 2, 2019
As our world becomes more technologically and digitally driven, it’s become necessary for businesses to have a strong online presence in order to not just stay competitive, but to survive. But with so much out there, it can be difficult to know where to start. Take a look at this starter checklist of how to build your business’ online presence.
Map Out Your Plan
First, save yourself time and energy by sitting down and mapping out your goals and plans. What results do you want to see from building your business’ online presence? Do you want to make it easier for people to find you, to attract new customers, to increase loyalty among existing customers, to spread the word about your promotions, events or offers? What features do you want on your website, and what audience are you targeting? Will you be adding social media to your online presence? (We highly recommend that every business include a social media presence to their online strategies!) Think about the future you envision for your business, how you would go about planning for those goals in a brick and mortar storefront, and how that can translate into your online business.
Create A Website
A business’ website serves as your virtual storefront, and a very strong representation of your brand and identity. Make sure your website has a clear and consistent tone, is easy to navigate both on computer and mobile, and contains all the information about your business that you want available to the public. Choose features that reflect your business’ atmosphere, such as: color schemes, your logo, images and video of your business that you want displayed, a complete list of services or products offered, an “About” or “FAQ” section, and your business’ complete and accurate location information.
Build Your SEO
Search Engine Optimization is becoming a very commonplace term, and for good reason. With so many websites out there and more being added every second (1.94 billion as of January 2019!), it is absolutely essential that your website is highly visible and searchable online. Most users don’t go beyond the first page of search results, so be sure that you are using keywords and adding relevant content about your niche market regularly. Having a well designed website that is user-friendly (including mobile-friendly) also contributes to your search ranking. Consider consulting an SEO and digital marketing expert to tailor and refine your SEO strategies.
Be Active On Social Media
Whether you are running a dental practice, a restaurant, a furniture shop or a salon, it’s important to be active and consistent on social media. Create and share new posts at least once a week (ideally more), and respond regularly to comments, within 24 hours if possible. This shows customers (both current and potential) that you are invested, engaged and responsive, which builds trust and loyalty. If you have multiple platforms (such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, etc.), link your posts back to your website, your Instagram to your YouTube video, and so on. We recommend focusing on one or two social media platforms, and being consistent with your posts and responses. Post primarily images and video content relevant to your business with short and simple text, and be professional but conversational in your responses.
Monitor And Market
A strong and successful online business strategy is very effective at increasing your business’ visibility, traffic and revenue. However because the digital landscape is always changing, it’s important to regularly monitor your online presence and strategies. This includes everything from your website, SEO, social media accounts, digital marketing strategies, tracking traffic and engagement for each, and seeing what strategies are effective and what can be tweaked to improve effectiveness, as well as keeping abreast with the latest technological developments that can change the way SEO works or how users find you online. It is a constantly expanding and evolving field, so it’s a good idea to consider hiring or consulting a professional digital marketer to help you achieve your goals for building your online presence!
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