Building an Online Presence for Small Business

Being a new small business owner, means that all things entrepreneurial are still very new to you. This can make building an online presence for small business frustrating, tedious and very time consuming.

 online presence for small business image

This is because building your online presence isn’t a process that happens at the blink of an eye. However, it is very important that you build your online presence because through your it, you allow people to find you, connect with you, know you better, like you and then trust you.

The key to making the process a little less exasperating is knowing the first step to take. Your online presence is the sum of all identities, both personal and business driven, that you have created and the interactions those identities have formed and engaged in online.

With your online presence you have an opportunity to reach far and wide. A well built online presence can advertise your brand far and wide and get you anything you may desire business wise.From leads to followers to customers.

Establishing your goals, creating your various profiles and accounts, building a website and finding ways to interact across these mediums are some of the things that go into building your online presence. Sounds overwhelming I know but I’m going to break it down for you.

1. Research Your Competition

Just like you would when launching a new service or product, get as much competitive analysis as you can. Find out who’s already in the market and what they are doing.

A good strategy would be to evaluate every competitor’s website then their social media presence. When evaluating a website belonging to a competitor, pay close attention to the overall design, perceived user experience and onsite optimization. Looking at the designs of a number of competitors, will give you a feel of the most popular styles of websites in your industry.

This will not only give you a clue on how your website should look like, but also give you a chance to make yours different so it stands out.

Closely study your competitor’s onsite navigation works. Find out if their menus are easy to find, how well labeled sub categories are, and if a mobile site or responsive design is available.

Take note of the search terms and keywords they’re making use of then cross reference the success rates for these terms at ranking by simply doing a Google search.

Secondly, evaluate your competitors social media presence. Start with LinkedIn pages, then depending on your industry, analyze Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and even Pinterest.

2. Create a Website

When you are done with research, your next immediate step is to build a website.

Your website is your home base. Where all your internet endeavors run to and from. Get on to either HostGator or GoDaddy and perform a domain search to establish if your business name is available for use or you need to change it.

If by ill luck it is already taken, add a word to your name to find an alternative. Eg if your business name is ABC and you discover it is already taken, try something like myABC.com.

Once you’ve selected a domain and settled on a good hosting plan to go with, shift your focus the layout and design of your site. Make use of insights gained from your research on your competitors and pick something clean, simple and engaging.

You can choose from the great selection of ready to use designs available on TemplateMonster and then go to Creately for a great sitemap tool that will enable you visualize the structure of your site.

3. Claim Social Media Profiles

So your home base is built. Now focus on expansion. You have to claim as much internet platform as possible.
Begin with the main social networking sites mentioned in the competitive search category.

Be very rigorous when filling out your profiles. Include as much information as possible to increase the effectiveness of these pages.

Remember the objective is to make your brand as visible as is possible as well as create an indepth web of links all of which lead back to your website. You must claim profiles on sites like YouTube, Slideshare, Flickr and Google+.

You should however be careful to create a profile on a site if you intend to take the time to establish it completely.
Incomplete profiles will portray you as both unprofessional and lazy.

4. Starting Blogging to build a Brand Voice.

Your next step is to create a brand voice via blogging. This will require you to create your own on-site blog and establish relationships with other existing blogs and websites.

With every chance you get to produce original content, you get to further establish your brand as a leader in your industry. What’s more, it has the SEO advantage of multiplying the number of backlinks directed to your website.

5. Optimize Pages

Optimizing your pages is key in ensuring they are both visible and searchable. Use Google’s keyword planner to get some research done so you can determine the keywords your customers are using when searching for you.

Use the information you unearth to create content that addresses these key points and integrates long tail definition search terms.

This will undoubtedly increase your visibility in the search engines as well as raise your chances of getting discovered.

6. Nurture Your Brand’s Online Presence

So now you have built an internet presence for your brand. If you think you are done,you’re mistaken. It needs continuous care and attention. This is because customers change their preferences, search engine algorithms become pulled and new social networking sites come out of nowhere everyday.

Conclusion

It is clear that building a professional and distinguished online presence is time consuming not to mention the energy and money that go into it. But in today’s world, the internet is indeed your best friend. Keep your eye on the prize..the end result. It will pay off. Follow the above steps and always be prepared for any major changes.
All the best!