You run a business. So Where Do You Start Online?
Here’s a good question for you, if you run a business: where do you even start online when it comes to creating a healthy presence digital footprint to support – or even drive – that business? What are some of the key things you should check off your list to build a footprint online?
Over the course of this article, we’ll highlight some of the things you’ll need to pay attention to as you begin the journey towards a robust digital presence for your business.
- Build a solid website. This should be a no brainer, but the first place anyone goes when they first hear abut you is online, to find out more about you. So start with a solid, well-built website to greet and introduce customers to you. Your site needs to be responsive, meaning it works across all devices and platforms. It needs to be fast, and user friendly. Your images need to load quickly, especially on a mobile device. Your site navigation needs to be simple and easy to understand. Your site needs to be built not just for the business you have today, but flexible enough to support the business of your future – so don’t cut corners. Don’t go cheap. Make the investment in a solid, flexible, buildable website that you will be proud to have reflect your business as you grow.
- Install Google Analytics on your new website. Without data and the incredible amount of insight you will gain through Google Analytics, you will have no idea what your website is doing for you. So install it, and have someone actively review and interpret your analytics reports.
- Install Google Search Console. Google Search Console will tell you every granular detail about how searchers are finding your site. What search phrases you are appearing for, your average organic rank for those phrases, the Click Through Rate (CTR) of those search terms. You’ll get a ton of additional information – but start there, and you’ll be far better off when determining where your site is weak, what kinds of content you should add to strengthen areas of opportunity.
- Claim your Google Business Listing. If you are a brick and mortar business, claiming your GBL is one of the most efficient and effective things you can do for your local business. After you claim your listing, fill it out completely with your hours, photos, videos, product descriptions, phone number, website, appointment calendars and more. Plus, the Posts you can make are free advertising that will reach countless people who see your listing – so use the opportunity to Post often.
- Set up Social Media profiles that make sense for your business. That doesn’t necessarily mean every social media network out there…but choose the ones that make sense for you and get them set up. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, TikTok, Snapchat – they all serve various purposes – so pick the ones that make sense, and start posting! These channels are where you can really let your personality loose – have fun. Be provocative. Be authentic. Let people know who you are, not just what you do. Plus, when you occasionally post back to your website with special offers or links to articles, it’s a great way to build site traffic and Organic Rankings for your content.
- Plug into the power of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising. When done properly, PPC can drive incredible, targeted traffic to your website to drive your business forward. With the variety of tools and channels available today – from Search to Display, from Video to Social and beyond – you can build campaigns highly targeted to your product’s specific audience – or even leverage Artificial Intelligence to identify the best audiences for you.
- Develop an ongoing content marketing plan. Then do it. This is one of the healthiest steps you can take for your website – and your business. Your website is a growing, thriving living organism – so it needs to be fed and cared for regularly – just like you pay attention to your business itself. Once your website is launched, continually add articles, photos and videos that tell your story in greater depth and breadth. Share your expertise. Publish details about your product. Post case studies to demonstrate how people use what you provide. All this ongoing activity is good for every aspect of your business: it shows Google that you treat your website like a vital part of your business. It gives more and more people reasons to visit your website. It engages people when they browse your content. Plus, as you continue to post and share on your social media profiles, you’ll be able to see the activity you’re driving when you review your Google Analytics reports.
Bonus tip: add UTM tagging to your Google Business Listing sitelink to keep track of traffic specifically from your GBL to your website.