Creating an internet presence for your small business pretty much goes without saying in this day and age. Virtually no company can really call itself professional without at least having a website and the overwhelming majority of customers will actively search for some kind of internet presence if they hear about your business.
Thus, since you’ve pretty much got to be on the internet anyhow, take advantage of the chance for building an online presence for your small business, a presence that really showcases everything good about your company to as many customers as you’d like to reach. It’s not that hard and it doesn’t have to be expensive: Here are the essential but extremely powerful steps on how to get online presence and to doing it strategically and effectively.
1. The Basic Tools of Online Presence
In order to get your online presence off the ground to begin with, you’ll need some key basic tools at hand.
The first of these will be a set of decent devices such as PCs, a laptop and one or two mobile devices. They will be your constant physical access portals. Additionally, you should register a business domain and buy some high-quality business hosting for your website if you haven’t already done so.
Finally, invest in a strong and reliable business internet service that delivers constant high speeds. This will be endlessly useful when it comes to developing your online presence and serving the customers that come from it professionally.
2. Modern, Clean and Functional Website
Since a website is the fundamental lynchpin of any really effective internet presence, and sort of a digital HQ through which everything else you do online connects, it had better be your best representative on the internet. Your site will be the main place where you really communicate with your clients, sell to them and guide them towards whatever it is you want them to do.
Thus, make sure that the pages which make up your domain (URL) are neatly organized, flow in an intuitive way that guides viewer response, fully functional and interesting.
At the very least, create a site with highly responsive design that works across all browser types and device screen sizes –this includes incorporating responsive design, so your pages can adapt to mobile device based viewing. Furthermore, make sure your site is free of annoying features such as auto-loading music or video, intrusive ads and broken links.
3. Blogging for Online Presence
While you’ll definitely want to have a formal static site if you’re selling from within your pages themselves, a blog can be the organic promotional wing of your digital presence. Its pages should be regularly filled with fresh content within your niche industry and this content should deliver value to visitors.
By creating a blog that does this, you’ll be raising your search rank in Google, pulling in organic (read free) traffic and developing a reputation of trust amongst your potential customers by giving them value that shows your expertise in your business field. In the process of building this reputation, you can also start submitting guest posts on other blogs, posts that link back to your site or blog. This is called content marketing and forms and integral part of comprehensive SEO.
A blog takes dedication and work but it is a great way to save on advertising expenses with the traffic it will almost certainly create.
4. Weave a Web of Social Media ( Social Networks )
So powerful is the spread of social networks that much of our daily sharing, searching and linking up to interesting new content, information and offers comes through our friends and contacts’ recommendations on the social networks.
Considering the immense power of this vast digital word of mouth type system for spreading ideas and information, you absolutely need to integrate your business with it if you want to increase your relevance as much as possible.
So, what does this mean doing? Well, for one thing, you at least need to create business promotion pages on one or two of the major social networks to create your social presence online–Twitter and Facebook being a great starting point. Beyond those, you should also look at niche oriented but lesser known social networks that apply to your own industry and align better with your target market.
Whichever social networks you’re in, your key goal is to create relevant and share worthy reasons for people to follow you and share your posts with their friends and contacts.
5. Focus on Search Engine Optimization ( SEO )
Since SEO is a long term organic rank building process, its success is crucial to creating sustained traffic growth that doesn’t cost you thousands in online ad spending.
This kind of effective optimization will involve developing a site with content that’s highly relevant to niche based search queries, a site that’s well linked to other equally high quality site, and a site whose physical design is search engine friendly.
Most importantly of all, create lots of content that’s relevant to your core audience and spread it through your site, the sites you guest blog on and through your social media accounts. Doing all of these will create more visitors to your pages, and that in turn will boost your search profile within your business niche.
Another valuable aspect of SEO involves linking. On the one hand, this means classical link building as described above (links to or from other blogs and sites), and on the other hand, linking also means being sure to connect all of your different online platforms together for the sake of guiding visitors that land on one place (blog, site, social media page) to the others.
Finally, we come to advertising. Ideally, your online presence should be based as much as possible on long term organic strategies that create real fans and free traffic. But, it’s also natural that you need to get yourself off the ground as soon as you can and want to boost the process with paid ads.
Use these, but be strategic with when, how and why –don’t advertise frivolously if a free strategy might work just as well. Also, before you do any advertising, do your research and find out how to target your best possible audience; doing this will create much higher sales conversions and thus better advertising ROI.