If you have a business in this day and age, whether it’s a new business or has been running for decades, it is absolutely necessary that you have an online presence. Taking your business online can be a daunting prospect for some, but there are five easy steps that can help you on your way!
1. Create a Google Business Listing and Bing Places Listing
With so many great features, there’s really no reason you shouldn’t have a Google listing for your business. If you don’t know what a Google business listing is then google the name of a company and see the map and box that shows up to the right of the usual search results.
This shows people where you’re located, your trading hours, how to contact you and they can also see any posts or reviews your business has. Having a listing and updating it regularly is an absolute necessity for any business as far as I’m concerned.
Have you ever wanted to check the hours of your local shopping centre or favourite Chinese restaurant on a public holiday Monday only to realise they haven’t updated their holiday hours? Yeah its super annoying, and a sure fire way to lose customers who aren’t prepared to make the drive ‘just in case’.
2. Build a Website
If you are a small business looking to grow, then you absolutely need a website. It’s expected these days for most legitimate businesses to have a website, so If you don’t then potential customers may look elsewhere.
A website is your chance to show your story, tell customers about your services and offer things like articles or blogs to position yourself as someone knowledgeable and worth trusting in your industry. Also, it’s not an expensive outlay even for a one-man band type business. With website builders like GoDaddy, WIX and WordPress the costs are very low and you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to build the site!
It is said that 81 percent of consumers perform online research before making a purchase. So if your business isn’t coming up in those Google search results then how will you be considered?
3. Create Social Media accounts
Here’s the fun part! You need to decide which social media platforms are right for your business and remember you don’t have to go all out and be across every platform available. Start with one or two and work your way up from there!
Social Media is your chance to get creative with your content and give people an insight into your business. Take advantage of the variety of options when it comes to content – images, video, live video, polls, stories – social media has it all! Then think about what your audience would find helpful, interesting and funny.
Over 1/3 of people are more likely to purchase from a brand if they are funny on social media.
Don’t forget you can use social media to drive more traffic to your website to read all of the great blogs you’ve been writing!
4. Optimise your website with SEO
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation – which basically means the process of getting website traffic from the free search results on search engines. There are a lot of steps to SEO and one of them is keywords – the key words and phrases in your web content that make it possible for people to find your site via search engines.
For example, if you run a donut shop, think about what people might be searching to find businesses like yours and add those key words and phrases into the text of your website.
According to Google, 50% of consumers who performed a local search on a mobile device visited a store on that same day. These searches also led to higher sales: 18% of local mobile searches led to a sale within one day. – Jayson DeMers, Forbes
Organic search is a huge part of most business’s website performance and with Google owning about 75% of the overall search market being in Google’s good books will go a long way to getting more website hits.
Having a high ranking in the search results, tells your potential customers that you are a key player in your industry. On the flip side, ranking low in the second or third pages will signal that you are maybe a new business, not as well known or just aren’t that great at what you do.
5. Register with Online Directories
I think we all know that physical directories like the Yellow Pages book are very much a thing of the past, but that doesn’t mean all directories are dead. Brands like Yellow Pages have simply moved their directories online!
Now, i know we covered SEO in the last section, but another part of SEO is creating ‘Backlinks’ – this means having another website linking back to yours. Online directories are a fantastic way to do this because they will all have a section for you to add your website. So for every online directory you will get another backlink, plus another listing on google so increased chances of being found!
Online directories are often seen as a reliable source who provides trustworthy, good-quality businesses. Therefore, when your business is found on these directories it gives the impression that you are a legitimate business who’s serious about what they do.