Expanding your business in the online world is difficult, but necessary in the competitive space we see companies in today. This means businesses need an expansive reach when creating an online presence and to make sure their strategy is efficient and effective. Below are three main categories to focus on when creating an online presence and why they matter.

Let’s start with your website. A website for a business says a lot about their identity, at least for the consumer. A website communicates whether or not the business is up to date with trends. A sloppy website with broken links will look out of date with current technology and communicates a poor message to the user. The consumer walks away thinking it is not secure for their account or credit card information and that you do not care about their online business. This holds true even if your business does not operate around e-commerce. An updated website with continually updated content communicates that your business cares about the people coming to your site and that you want them to have a good experience with your brand.

As the world of technology updates and improves, so should your site. Stay ahead and make sure your site gets a facelift every once and a while. Links over time can break and end up going to nothing as other sites reroute and update. Pictures that are on your site can grow old and out of touch with your services. It is a good idea to refresh content and make sure you are ahead as well. The content should always be changing based on trends within your business.

Secondly social media can be a fantastic addition to your online presence. Social media is a great way to convert people to your brand because, it creates a conversation. It is no longer a one way communication through your website. Instead a two-way interactive space gets created for your consumer to interact with you and for you to respond. Personally I recommend starting out with only one or two social media channels and see what content works before you expand into too many channels and spread yourself too thin. Even if you have a dedicated marketing person or team, social media should be manageable and leave time to accomplish other tasks.

The third step is to make sure that you are everywhere in relation to your industry and sites that rate it. You should be on Yelp, and other commonly used rating sites. On the first page of Google your site should be first, but underneath there are normally the reviews of your business (if done correctly). Make sure you have reviews, pictures, menus, services, and other details on these sites. It is even better if you can get someone rate you through these third party sites. This will give you more notoriety and allow you to have a more detailed reach. Potential customers want to do their research before they come to your door for a product or service. It is proven that consumers trust reviews more than they trust a sales pitch. Reviews come through sites like Yelp, Amazon reviews, and other similar sites. Being there gives you a leg up on the competition by giving your consumer as much information as possible for them to consume at their leisure.

The last tip is important when building an online presence. Make sure your brand is simplistic and consistent across all of platforms. I would recommend choosing 1-2 traits that you want to get across in your messaging and in your logo and make sure that message is consistent through anything you post or brand on other sites. That way it is easily traceable back to your original site.

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