Websites are like the new business card -- just about everyone has one. But does this mean they're getting good results?
Not at all.
Most businesses today understand the importance of owning a website, but they lack the knowledge needed to grow it. Buying a template, filling it with content and hitting publish isn't going to get you the organic traffic you desire.
At least, not without keyword research, split testing and consistent, high-quality content.
If you're serious about building your website traffic, then improving your online presence should be top of mind. This means using all the channels available to you to gain recognition and trust.
Let's dive in a little deeper.
Why Do Small Businesses Need a Web Presence?
After all, you get a lot of business through word-of-mouth and the passersby. Well, if you're satisfied with getting random hits to your storefront, versus taking control and guiding foot traffic to your business...
Then so be it.
However, if you want to command attention from your target customers and keep your business top of mind, then you need to be where they are:
On the web.
This is the key to growing and expanding your operations.
Let's take a look at six things you can do to get more eyeballs on your business.
1. Build a Solid Platform (that You Own)
Chances are, you already have one -- your website. Having a website is critical to building your online reputation. When prospective customers search for your product or service (or brand), they will use Google.
If you optimize your website, then the odds of them finding your link will increase.
But that's a lesson for another day. For now, focus on building a quality website that's impressive (not repulsive). In other words, it needs to be professional, simple to navigate and contains your contact details.
Just don't be these guys:
2. Expand Your Reach Using Social Media
How many social networks do you have accounts on? If you're like most, then you have at least two profiles on sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Knowing where your audience likes to commune online is vital to connecting with them. Plus, being on social networks helps to give your business personality.
Consumers want to know and trust the businesses they purchase from. So make it your mission to regularly engage with your audience in conversations.
(And don't overly promote your products and services!)
3. Always Be Optimizing Your Site (& its Content)
There are different forms of SEO (search engine optimization) you need to indulge in to build your online visibility. This includes onsite SEO and technical SEO.
Technical SEO revolves around your H1, H2, meta description, and title tags. Onsite SEO is what most are familiar with -- adding keywords to the content on your web pages and blog.
Be sure to continue updating your SEO with fresh and relevant keywords based on search intent. In other words, are they shopping for your product or researching it for a school paper?
Another way you can improve your SEO is to claim your business listings on Google My Business.
4. Build a Knowledge Base (aka a Content Strategy)
You don't want to just publish content just for the sake of putting words up on the net. The content you produce needs to be meaningful for the audience you're targeting.
If you're not answering questions, helping, guiding and educating your audience, then your bounce rates will become embarrassingly high.
Avoid this by deep diving into the concerns and interests they have so you can maintain relevance. And in the process, you'll become an authority in your industry.
5. Write Guest Posts for Sites with a Replica Audience
Maybe you're already hip to the content marketing trend. In fact, you have more than a handful of authoritative posts on your blog. And you may even feel like you're already an authority in your niche.
Yet, the traffic isn't quite there.
If that's the case, then it's time to start directing attention to your blog by writing for 3rd party sites. But not just any sites -- focus on those with replicas of your audience, so you're attracting the right people.
Include helpful links to your blog and ensure you have a bio and a URL to your website at the end. These posts should be strictly educational -- no promotions.
6. Build an Email List of Qualified Leads (and Customers)
Having random interactions with strangers across the web sounds just as bad as a one-night stand.
If you're going to be a successful business, then you need to focus on building relationships. And just as in any friendship or marriage, you need consistent communication.
Emails deliver on this beautifully. By driving your visitors to sign up for your newsletter, they're requesting communications from your business.
With this access and permission, you can regularly reach out to them with helpful tips, news, and special promotions (personalized, of course).
Become a Presence to Be Reckoned With
At the end of the day, you're not just looking to improve your web presence to attract leads. You're also trying to compete with anyone who dares contend with you.
The internet is the playground that's enabling smaller businesses to compete with the big boys. It's a level playing field you can't (and shouldn't) ignore.
With these tips, you can pave the way for your small business to gain the recognition it deserves.
Over to you -- what methods will you use to increase your online dominance?