6 Essential Steps for a Business to Improve Their Online Presence Part 1
6 Essential Steps for a
Business to Improve
Their Online Presence
You‟re probably aware that it‟s become absolutely necessary for
business owners, no matter their industry or field, to have a
strong online presence. The days of yellow pages and customers
phoning up businesses to ask for information are slowly sliding
into the past. These days, most people will instantly go online in
order to find out about your products and services, your operating
hours, and where you‟re located. Not only that, but they are
„vetting‟ you prior to calling as well. They want to know what
your online reputation says about you.
Are you unsure of how to build up your online presence? Not a
problem. Check out these six essential steps.
The first thing you need to do is buy your very own domain name, also
known as a web address. This is very easy to do, and a lot of specialized
websites have been created to make it an affordable and quick process.
Remember that shorter is typically better—you want your domain name
to be memorable and easy to find. For example, if your business is
called Smith Family Home Decorators, that‟s probably too long to
include entirely (e.g. www.smithfamilyhomedecorators.com), so try to
shorten it to something like www.smithhomes.com. If the domain name
you want has been taken by someone else, don‟t worry - you can switch
which words you use in it until you find one that‟s available. You may
be aware there are many different suffixes for your web address, such as
.com, .org., .net, and others - try to always get .com, as it‟s the easiest
for customers to remember. You can cheaply register a domain name of
your own at sites like Hover and GoDaddy.
Step 1: Register a Domain Name
You may have spent years building up your business and your brand.
You want to make sure it is properly represented online. To that end, I
never recommend a budget or low-end web designer. You‟ll most likely
end up with a project that looks like it was built on a budget, and is that
how you want your brand to be properly portrayed?
Think about it this way: if you pay somebody $500 for a website, how
vested in the project do you think they will be? Really, is $500 in the
long run very much money? If you don‟t have this, then simply save up
until you can afford a professional. You‟ll end up in a much better
position when all‟s said and done.
Yes, there are do-it-yourself website builders out there, and you may
consider them. Just consider the value of your time, and if you truly
want to learn how to make a website, or if you‟d rather focus on
building your business.
Step 2: Build a Website
Hosting is the real estate that your website sits on. You can
usually get hosting from where you register your domain, or
you can purchase hosting separately. Many people opt to
have their web design company host it for them, and that is
fine - just make sure that you get access to your hosting
account in the event that you need it. Common hosting
companies include Hostgator, Bluehost, and GoDaddy.
Step 3: Get Hosting
You may already have a personal account on Facebook, but does your
business have its own page, too? If not, it is time to start one. Social
networking is a great way to get your name out there and keep in touch with
customers and other businesses in your area. There are more options than
just Facebook, however—think about Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
You can use Twitter to tell the world about deals or new products, Instagram
to show them off in the best light, and LinkedIn to do some business
networking and find new employees. Joining four social networks may
seem a bit overwhelming, but you don‟t need to use them all day, every day.
Think one or two Twitter tweets a day, or one big Facebook post a week.
Start small, and things will build up over time as more people notice your
online presence and “like” what you do.
It‟s important to focus on your target demographic and consider what
platforms they use, and then develop your social media strategy as
Step 4: Join the Biggest Social Networks
Email marketing is definitely one of the most effective forms of
marketing if done right.
On your website, remember to include a section where customers
can sign up for a newsletter to receive emails from you on a
regular basis. Believe it or not, this is one of the most useful
ways to build an online presence and keep people up-to-date
about your business, products, and services. Try not to send out
newsletters at a rate more frequent than every week—no one
wants to be spammed. Make sure the newsletters are
informative, interesting, and even entertaining so people won‟t
just trash them the moment they arrive. A great site for building
your own professional-looking newsletters is MailChimp.
Step 5: Start an Email Newsletter
Now that you‟ve built your own website, joined all the popular
social networks, and have an email newsletter going out
regularly, you‟re done, right? Not quite. The thing is, there‟s a lot
of information on the Internet, and more coming in all the time.
In order to get noticed and stay noticed, you‟ll want to update
your website and social networks on a regular basis. Provide
valuable, shareable content on your website. Are you an
attorney? Provide a series of 30 second videos related to your
expertise. Are you a dentist? Provide brief videos or blog posts
on related topics. By doing this, not only will you be providing
value to your website visitors, but by having more content on
your website, you‟ll potentially be able to rank for more keyword
terms, and that is a good thing!
Step 6: Remember to Update Regularly