Everyone needs an online presence these days, especially in your professional capacity. Perhaps you’re just starting a business or are looking to bolster your online presence so that you can take your career to the next level. Whatever your situation, you’ve probably found this article because you need a bit of guidance on how to create your online presence.
In this article we’ll take you through the most important steps to creating an online presence. Follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way to promoting your business, as well as its products and services.
Build a professional website
The first and most important step when creating your digital presence from scratch is to buy a domain and build a professional website. Your domain is the address that your website will be found – consider it your own piece of digital real estate. It helps to make the web address short, catchy or easy to remember. And of course it should be relevant to to your business name. Consistency is key when building a digital presence. Your brand should appear to be seamlessly consistent across all digital platforms, and a great place to start is your website.
Your website is effectively your digital billboard. Anybody should be able to navigate to it online and learn about who you are, what you do, and how to get in touch with you. It’s imperative that it doesn’t do more harm than good – so make sure that you find trustworthy website developers to help you build it. If your website looks unprofessional, or is difficult to use, then it will reflect badly on your business, so do invest in making sure that your website is slick and showcases your business in the best possible light.
Drive traffic to your website and optimize for search
Right. So you’ve achieved step one and you have a beautiful website – but nobody knows about it! How do you get people to visit your site? Well, how does anyone find anything online? Google, of course. Google is the most popular search engine known to man and controls 90% of the global search engine market. They facilitate almost 227 million searches per hour and about 5.4 billion searches per day. Surely, with millions of people searching it’s easy to be found online? Unfortunately, the reality is that there is also a huge amount of competition amongst websites on the world wide web. Companies are competing for people’s attention in the digital world and there’s a number of ways they do this. Getting traffic to your site is one of the more technical parts of building your online presence.
The art of being found on search engines is known as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). The best way to approach this is to start with the search terms themselves and align your website to the phrases that people are searching for. The next step is to create web pages targeting these phrases. This can be done through optimising the core pages on your website or it can be done through high quality content that is helpful to your audience. This is often in the form of blogs, tutorials, and free PDF downloads. If this sounds daunting, you may want to begin by working with a virtual marketing agency to guide you through the best practices for creating SEO optimised content. Good quality content that is optimized for SEO has the power to attract the right people to your site. These are the ones who are already looking for you but didn’t know it yet. When they encounter your high quality content they may subscribe to your newsletter, get to know and trust your brand, and move one step closer to becoming a customer.
So now that the search engines are working for you, and you have some traffic coming to your website, the next step is to get social. Networking has always been a part of doing business, but nowadays it can be done internationally and at great scale through the power of social media. The best way to start is to look at which social media platforms might be relevant to your audience and set up engaging accounts and leverage the social networks on these platforms. This will also inform what sort of content you’ll need to post in order to build and nurture your social audiences. For example, a business might find that Instagram is the place that their target audience spends a lot of time, and their content will need to be visually inspiring and will therefore focus on eye-catching graphics and images.
Once set up is complete, you’ll need to post regularly and interact with other accounts to make sure that people can see that you’re active. The more social accounts you have, the more work will be required to keep the accounts active and engaging. Don’t get overwhelmed when trying to keep up with content creation for social media. It’s important to be selective and only make use of the social media platforms that make sense for your unique situation.
Create listings on online directories
The printed yellow pages may be a thing of the past, but many people still use online directories they trust to find service providers for various needs that they might have. One of the unexpected but most effective online directories is Google Maps and by extension, Google My Business. Setting up a business location on Google Maps can do wonders for boosting your online presence. If your profile matches a search term from within your physical location, your business will show up on page one of the search engine results in the form of a Google My Business listing.
Pro tip: always be on the lookout for other online directories that are popular for your service or product and make sure that your business is represented on those platforms.
Gather online reviews
Our final tip is for creating your online presence follows on from the previous step. You should make sure that you or your business has plenty of reviews online. Ask your happy clients and other people in your network to leave reviews for you on trustworthy sites like Google My Business listing and online directories mentioned before.
These will be an enormous help in building your online presence by giving you credibility and building trust in your brand amongst your audience.
If you work towards achieving all the things we’ve mentioned in this article, you will be well on your way to having a well-rounded online presence. Wherever your target audience turns on the web, they should be able to find you there, get to know what you stand for and they’ll also be able to engage with you easily.