05 Feb 5 Easy Ways to Boost Your Online Presence In 2016
While your friends are trying to keep their 2016 resolutions to drop some weight, find their dream job or finally get that engagement ring, you are scheming on how to get your business more visibility online. You have traded in fitness articles for Google searches of “how to get my site to the first page of Google”, canceled your Match membership to pay for Udemy classes on “Search Engine Optimization” and have probably given into pressing the blue devil of a button, “Boost Post” on Facebook, obsessively checking your ad report every 6 hours…if you can last that long.
Bravo to you, dedicated business owner! But there is an easier way. Everything you need to know on how to boost your online presence in 2016 is right here in this blog, reduced down to the 5 most important things you must do this year to boost your online presence. Before you get into the meaty part of this delicious blog (it’s lunch time, I’m hungry), let’s set your expectations to the right level.
What does boosting your business’ online presence mean? The techniques described below will ultimately help your business be found easier in search engines such as Google and drive more traffic to your site. Will it happen overnight? No. In fact, you may not see any major results until 3 to 6 months into the process. Monitoring your efforts and their effectiveness comes by navigating through analytics, which we will discuss in another blog – soon!
Now, let’s get to it!
1. Social Media. In case you have been living under a rock, social media is everywhere. With it being valued as almost 16% of search engine optimization (SEO) activity, it is no longer something you can ignore and hope it goes away. The biggest reason you should consistently present on these social networks as far as SEO is concerned is because sites like Facebook and Twitter are being visited by millions of users every day, making them into highly optimized sites. What does that mean for your business? You get to ride the wave and show up higher in search engines simply by being on these networks and posting consistent, relevant content. Don’t believe me? Google “Kristina Centnere” and you will see that the first result will be LinkedIn, followed by some great photos of me on Google Images… and then YouTube.
Rather than living in fear of the BIG, bad social media, jump on the wave and be smart about how you ride it. With the many options, from Facebook to Snapchat, it can be overwhelming to pick the right platforms for your business to engage on. Your instinct may be to run away, but let’s be brave in 2016 and look at some major networks and if they are right for your business here.
Now that you have a good idea of which platforms your business should be using, get organized. Open your calendar…I’m waiting… and find a day during which you can dedicate 30 minutes every two weeks to creating content for your social media. Why not an hour each month? If you are like me, you feel antsy doing the same thing for one hour – especially when it’s for your own business, not for your clients. Additionally, doing this every two weeks ensures that you create a fresh batch of content. So, Monday at 2 PM it is? Great!
Although you can go straight to scheduling platform such as hootsuite.com or sproutsocial.com, I recommend first putting your content into an excel. This will help make sure that you don’t miss any important dates and can easily share it with other people involved in your business who can contribute. DOWNLOAD our simple-to-use planning excel here – for free.
Of course, it’s no use to post awesome content, if the only one listening is… your mom. Thanks for the support, mom, but I need some more customers. Growing your presence on social media will require the know-how of hashtags, proper posting etiquette, and paid advertising. Schedule a free 20-minute call today and we will help answer your questions regarding these – no strings attached, really!
2. Blogging. Before you try to skip over this section like you didn’t see it, STOP! Not only is blogging a crucial part of your online presence, it CAN be fun – even if you hate writing.
First and foremost, let me remind you that “if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail”. Remember that planning excel you downloaded a few minutes ago? Use it to plan out your blogs as well. Although Google often changes their mind, you can get away with blogging twice a month and steadily move your blog site towards the top of search engines. If you want to really boost your site, blog as often as four times per month.
So, you said blogging can be fun? Yep! Ready? Stop treating blogging as a chore and instead, let it be an outlet. Instead of sounding like a robot, you have the opportunity to talk about your business in any fashion your find appropriate (and fun).
Best part? Blogs aren’t meant to be novels. You only have 400 – 700 words to go. Keep in mind – the more organic content you post, the happier Google gets.
3. Clean up your site, SEO-style. If you’re like 90% of businesses out there, it’s about time to clean up your site. In addition to making it look like you actually care about your business, make sure that it is everything Google wants it to be. While there are (literally) hundreds of aspects to consider, here are some major ones you should check right away:
- Mobile responsiveness – Ask yourself, “Does my website conform to the screen sizes of various smartphones and tablets?” Since 2014, Google has somewhat mandated for websites to be mobile responsive by giving responsive sites priority in search listings.
- Coding – If your site’s coding is outdated or overly “messy”, web crawlers will have a hard time going through your website, thus hurting your site’s search engine rankings. Don’t know anything about coding? Contact us for a free quote to clean it up for you.
- On-site optimization – To show up high in search engine rankings, it is important to have proper content and tags. Tags are included in the code, helping web crawlers understand what your site is about – kind of important!
Even if you never plan on doing full-blown SEO on your site, having it clean and optimized is the least you should do to help boost your rankings. Keep in mind that optimizing your website is not a one-time thing. Like everything else in this blog, it requires a consistent effort.
Not sure where to start? Get a free analysis here – no strings attached.
4. Build your list, offline. You mean like… talk to people? Yep! A great online presence starts offline through networking events, coffee dates and a collection of business cards. Here is how it goes:
- Find events to attend or a networking organization to join.
- If you don’t know where to start networking, here are a few recommendations:
- Meetup.com – This site is a collective of user-posted business networking and social events of ALL kinds – even singles events, if you’re into that. If you are new to business or to a geographical area, this is a great place to start. My only warning is that it can be a bit overwhelming and not every event is well-organized, so be picky about which events you go to.
- BNI – If you are in a traditional profession such as home services (contractor, plumber, realtor, etc.), banking, or insurance, this is a great place for you to visit and possibly even join. From experience, it is not ideal for professionals in the wellness field, but no worries, I’ve got you covered below if you are one. BNI has a strict structure, which can be off-putting to some people, but it depends on the chapter, so be sure to visit a few prior to making a commitment. Find chapters near you here.
- Total Wellness Connect – If you are a wellness professional in the Fairfield County CT, Long Island NY or Palm Bay FL area, this is a great organization for you to visit. They cap their chapter numbers at 15 to 20 members, so if quantity over quality is your thing, TWC may not be for you. Find a meeting near you here.
- If you don’t know where to start networking, here are a few recommendations:
- Have coffee with people you (1) like and (2) who have a potential to be great referral sources. Want to have the most effective coffee date ever? Here is a resource packed with all of the information you need on the topic and… you will finish it in 15 minutes.
- TIP: Stop chasing single-time referrals or trying to sell your business to every person you meet. Be a good human being, be great at what you do, build relationships and watch referrals flood your way.
- Ask your new connections for permission to add them on LinkedIn and put them on your e-mailing list. Let them know you will only email once a month unless you have some BIG news – and stick to that promise. Even if you have nothing to mail yet, this is a good practice and ensures you are not breaking anyone’s trust.
- Keep in contact with the people you really like and/or see the most referral potential in on a monthly basis.
How does this help you build your online presence? First, adding connections on LinkedIn makes you active on the platform and helps increase your rankings. Two, when you begin to start a newsletter (see below), you will have a list of warm contacts to drive to your website. The more visits to your website, the higher you get in rankings, the more business you will do in 2016 and beyond.
5. Remind them you exist. Regardless of how great you are at what you do, if you are not in constant contact with your “list”, you will be forgotten. Using the same excel you downloaded in #1, plan your monthly newsletters. Pack it with content your list will want to hear about without making it look busy. How, you ask? Here are a few tips:
- Easy browsing – Make it easy for your audience to navigate your newsletter by including a table of contents.
- Links – Instead of trying to fit a 500-word blog into a newsletter, include an attractive picture and a small, enticing blurb, leading them to your website. Including links is also a great way to track which content was most interesting to your list.
- Videos – Without fail, videos are the most clicked segments in newsletters. Create a quick video about a subject you care about or if you are really out of ideas, include someone else’s video (with their permission, unless it has been publicly posted already).
Still not sure what to do? Here is an example.
You have a plan. Now, it’s time to execute! We are positive you can do this by yourself, but if you need help, give us a call… or email… or a smoke signal is good too.