3 Things Every Small Business Needs to Do to Build an Online Presence

As a culture, we're rapidly shifting toward accepting online marketing as the most relevant way to be seen. It’s widely perceived that marketing via the Internet is the most effective way to reach the masses. Merely having an online presence isn't enough anymore, and having strong and visually appealing ads, websites, and social media accounts is absolutely necessary in order for companies to stand apart from their competition.

Businesses Need Websites

The key component of every company’s online presence is its website. Many small businesses don't have websites because they think the cost of development is not within their budgets. It's important to note that it doesn't have to cost a fortune to create a site that will fit a company’s needs. There are free services on the Internet, such as blogs and social platforms, which can create a brand for a company and reach customers. Nor does it cost a lot to transform an existing site into a highly effective, profitable marketing platform. With the growing popularity of website design and development, there are many developers who want experience in creating sites for their portfolios. There would be no business without customers, so small businesses shouldn’t let small budgets keep them from finding ways to interact and engage with potential clients.

If a site does exist, but isn't garnering the customer activity a company would like, its best bet is to look into making small changes to increase visibility and profitability. Many small business websites make the mistake of cluttering their homepages with pictures and too much text. When a user visits a website, he is usually looking for something specific, and clutter can prevent him from finding it. Users stay on a site for about 7 seconds on average. If they don't find what they are looking for, they will move on to another option in their search results.

Design and color are also very key components, and it’s important that businesses keep branding consistent by making sure colors and design match across all site pages. When designing their websites, companies should search for color wheels and use colors that complement each other. In addition, researching what kind of text style, size, and color offer the best readability is essential. Consistency is an important aspect to any branding effort. Without it, a company is just another dot on the map.

Marketing and Advertising on a Small Scale

Marketing and advertising are crucial in creating presence, and search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most important investments a small business can make. SEO is often thought of as an expensive luxury reserved for big budgets, but it has become such a necessity that SEO professionals are often hired to optimize sites. Small businesses, however, can do their own SEO on a smaller scale. People use search engines to locate very specific topics. These keyword searches and trending topics can be found on Google Trends. Learning what people are talking about and searching for, and then incorporating it on a website, is SEO at its core.

Small business owners may think it's unnecessary to keep a company blog; many site owners may not think their business has enough relevant content to fill a blog. This couldn't be further from the truth! There’s always something a business can offer its audience, even if it isn't directly related to its industry.

Trending topics and keywords can be used in every blog post. When a user searches a keyword used in a company’s blog, there’s a higher chance that the organization’s blog will be more visible in search engine results. This is even truer if the keywords are location-specific. Blogs are often linked to websites; if a person is on a blog, the hope is that he will browse the entire site.

Social Media

Social media is becoming a huge factor in every company’s online presence and is a free, effective way to advertise any business. Without the proper implementation, however, it can also work against a business. A business, therefore, has to interact with its customers and make sure it’s keeping up with demands.

If a small business has the time and the resources, having a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn is very beneficial. If a business doesn't have the time to keep up with all of them, then it should pick the outlets which will reach the most people in its core demographic. In addition, there are tools, such as Networked Blogs, that link all social sites together so one post can be seen on other platforms.

Companies need to engage with customers as much as possible. They should ask and answer questions, offer insights, and hold contests and giveaways. The more a business interacts with its users, the more “likes” it will receive. There’s nothing better than free advertising from users who enjoy a product! Make sure you give your customers enough value upfront that they feel 100% comfortable promoting your business.

An online presence is 24-hour advertising that acts as a virtual brochure for a company. In this fast-paced economy, people want answers at their fingertips. Digital media expands a company’s reach and creates a solid brand for services and products that traditional advertising methods cannot accomplish. It’s easy to believe a company doesn’t need a social presence, but it’s hard to argue with the results.

About the author

Benjamin Klein is the owner and CEO of Next Level Internet Management, a digital marketing agency specializing in maximizing exposure for corporations to startups. Visit the Next Level Blog here to receive several valuable free resources to help you take your Internet marketing to the next level.


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