So New Years is almost upon us and your mind has been set to start your own business. Congratulations. You probably have your business cards made up and a retail space, work truck or set aside space in your house for the home office. Whatever type of business you have, you are most likely going to need an online presence so that all of those potential clients or customers can find you.
Having worked with established businesses and brand new start ups over the years I can tell you that there are million things you can do online to be found and a million opinions of what is most important. This just happens to be my opportunity to tell you what I think. Since you are just starting out then we need to establish the basics.
First, you should get a website. I have seen businesses start out without a website and do just fine. Although to me, that is doing it the hard way. A website is the center around which your online presence revolves. Now I have seen some businesses start out with free websites. There are so many places to get them:
And if this is your budget right now, you can definitely get off the ground with these. If however you do have some budget, I would recommend an actual domain hosted on a Host Gator or some other inexpensive and reputable hosting company. There are free or inexpensive themes available and you can literally be up in running in a matter of hours for less than $200.
My recommendation is to get yourself your own domain and website because as you grow your business, you are going to find limitations on what the completely free options have to offer. When you do grow to that point, a lot of what seo value you have built previously will not carry over.
Now that you have a website, start out by adding a few pages. About Us, Services we offer, Blogs, etc. Be sure to get at least 300 words on each page. Search Engines like text. Now that we have you have your domain name and website, it is time to get it noticed by the search engines.
Second step is to claim some listings.
The search engines have their own internal directories and they allow you to have a direct feed into them. There are plenty out there but if you claim these two, you will be covered for 80% of the searches performed on the internet.
These are free and have a lot of influence. Make sure you get your website on here and fill in as many information fields as possible. The more info you give these directories, the more they will know about your business No matter if you open a retail location or just have an online advice column, these registrations are must haves.
Third thing to do is set up some social media. Now, I didn’t say you have to be posting to social media. If that is your thing and it can help your business, all the better. I said to set up the social media. Creating accounts for your business reinforces your online presence. And be sure to set it up as a business rather than a personal. Here are the main ones to start out with.
Facebook – Can be created from your personal account
Twitter – Needs to have a separate account set up
Pinterest – Needs to be set as a business account
Youtube – Access through your Google My Business account to join them
Now this will take some time but can easily be accomplished in a day. Having these basic accounts set up will give you a head start over some of your competitors. From here, you need to pay attention to these tools. Keep adding blogs to your site, upload photos to your Google Business page, add a video once in a while to Youtube. You’ll find the search engines will reward your for this.