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Grow Your Business Online

How to Grow Your Business Online

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The Internet is a crucial tool for all businesses, large and small. Whether you are opening a brick and mortar business or if you are working from home, the internet is a tool you need to know how to utilize properly. With more people having access to mobile devices and internet access each year, if you do not learn how to properly market your business on the internet, your business will face extinction. Unfortunately, the internet can be a tricky service to get a handle on for those that are unfamiliar with its processes and standards. This article will help both newcomer and old-timer better understand how they can use the internet to grow their business.

SEO

SEO is a topic much discussed on this site. Why? Because it is one of the most important concepts and processes that business owners and website operators need to master. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization is the process by which a website structures its content in order to meet with Search Engine guidelines and yield greater web traffic results. Search Engine Optimization covers a broad array of website functions and features, including keywords, links, tags, and relevancy. The standards by which Search Engines perform SEO are in constant motion, so it is important to stay up to date on what the Search Engines are expecting and to keep your website in line with their standards.

Article SEO

One primary aspect of optimizing your website for Search Engines comes via articles. Whether you produce education, informational, or sales-oriented articles, it is important to ensure that they all adhere to specific formats and standards. When it comes to writing articles, the key aspects of SEO that you need to pay special attention to are keywording, linking, and relevancy.

Keywording helps users and Search Engines identify the purpose and theme of your articles. Keywords should be chosen with the intention to highlight subjects and topics that are discussed in your article. When choosing keywords, it is important to strike a healthy balance between general wording and specific wording. Make sure that your keywords aren’t incredibly generic, but that they are still words that people might commonly search.

Links tie in heavily with relevancy. Links are also a great way to direct users to other areas of your site which may be pertinent to their needs. In regard to relevancy and freshness, links should lead users to sources that either add to, relate to, or corroborate with the content on your site. Make sure to choose sites that are reputable and valid themselves. It is not completely off limits to link to smaller, lesser known sites, but do so sparingly.

Pages

Learning how to properly optimize your non-article pages for the Search Engine’s standards can also be a challenge. Since most webpages not tailored towards content typically utilize a minimal amount of linkable and keyword-able text, how should one go about optimizing them?

The answer is to focus on the quality of the site itself, specifically that on the back end. This is where concepts such as speed, layout, and mobile or desktop friendliness come into play.

Speed is crucial if you hope to keep any visitor to your website satisfied. If your website loads slowly or if content takes extra time to buffer, neither users or Search Engines will be satisfied with what you have to offer. It is important to make sure that all of your back-end services, applications, and tools are constantly up to date so as to ensure speeds that match others’ expectations. It is also important to design your website so that content is accessible and easy to navigate. If users can quickly find what they are looking for and if it loads quickly, they are likelier to return.

When considering speed and layout, it is also important to make sure that your website performs well on both desktop and mobile sites. Search Engines have prioritized mobile versions of website over desktop versions due to increasing mobile traffic. Make sure that your content can be easily accessed on any device.

Services

What does your website have to offer? Both users and Search Engines will be asking this question, so you need to ask yourself this question too? If it is not instantly clear what your website or business has to offer, or if what you are offering does not relate to the content and articles of your website, your web traffic will suffer as a result.

When offering products or services from your website, it important not to bombard the user with too much upfront. Make sure that your products and services have clear descriptions, and user reviews or article content to go with them if possible. Allow ease of access through menus, internal links, and even submenus that allow your website to be organized, yet to also yield easy access to those who wish to purchase from you.

Social Media Presence

Social Media isn’t the oldest online marketing tactic, but it has quickly become one of the most important. Facebook alone advertises that almost 2.7 billion people utilize the site, that’s nearly 1/3 of the world’s population. Combined with those who utilize other platforms such as YouTube, Instagram and Twitter, the number of people on social media is astounding. It is foolish for any business, large or small, not to maintain a social media presence. If you aren’t keeping your business’ social media accounts up to date and filled with content, you are falling behind the times and losing potential customers.

Facebook

As stated above, Facebook is the largest social media platform with an estimated 2.7 Billion users. This number is continuing to grow, and so is the impact that Facebook can have on the success or failure of your business. However, many businesses don’t know how to adequately utilize Facebook to market their business. Don’t worry, this article is here to help.

Facebook should be used as almost a secondary website for your business, or even a primary website if an independent one is beyond your reach. A business’ Facebook page is a great place to display your company, what it is about, and what it has to offer. You can post articles and other content relevant to your business, the nature of that content is up to you. Facebook is also a great place to interact with your customers, answering any questions they have and establishing a means of communication for potential sales, transactions, and agreements.

YouTube

YouTube is a huge asset for those that can regularly upload to it, however, this social media platform isn’t for everybody. If you do not have relevant video content to offer for your business, then do not use this platform as a half-measure. However, YouTube is a great place to display what your company has to offer when used appropriately.

YouTube is a great place to upload how-to videos, service demos, and even some product descriptions. YouTube can also be a great platform with which to boost your personal brand, and to display educational or instructional videos. When utilizing YouTube, make sure that your audio and video content is created professionally, and that it does not appear cheap or poorly-made. If potential customers see grainy, out of focus video or hear grovely, echoey sound, they are unlikely to hold a high opinion of your business.

Instagram

Though owned by Facebook, Instagram is a completely different platform. Instagram is designed entirely for images, though text can be utilized for promotion. Instagram can be used in several ways when attempting to market your business. One example of which is simply utilizing Instagram to build a platform, and then directing them to either your official website or your other social media accounts. This method is often done humorously but can also be done educationally or informationally. Another example of how to utilize Instagram to promote your business is to use it to display your services. You can also use it to display products, but this is not as common. Instagram can be used to display before and after photos, service demonstrations, or even special techniques that set your business apart. In this case, Instagram is meant to appeal to customers that are already following your service or that are specifically searching for what your company has to offer.

Twitter

Twitter is unlike most other social media platforms. Rather than being a place to display information or convey a company’s message, Twitter is most often used by larger companies to connect with their targeted demographics. Twitter is typically the least formal of a business’ social media platform. Companies such as Wendy’s utilize their Twitter presence almost entirely humorously, while some companies use their Twitter as a place to professionally interact with customers and answer their questions. How you choose to utilize your business’ Twitter account is entirely up to you. However, it is important that you remember that all social media accounts are reflective of your company as a whole and each account’s brand should be in-line with the next.

Advertising

When taking your business online, it is important to understand what means you have of advertising. At the end of the day, you need to have established methods of getting your business, products, or services in front of large audiences. These audiences need to be target, to ensure that the people who are seeing what you have to offer are also looking for what you have to offer or something similar. This means that you should not be over-extending your advertising campaigns. Don’t waste time and money targeted demographics that have no want, need, or viable use for what you have to offer. With the tools and tactics at your disposal via social media and the internet as a whole, marketing to the appropriate demographics is easy and effective.

Via Social Media

There are many angles with which to market from social media, some of which were briefly covered early in this article. However, the first step in properly advertising via social media is making sure that you have a competent and efficient social media presence. Without an up to date profile, a consistent content upload, and a satisfied follower base, social media advertising may do more harm than good. If people click on your ads and are faced with a lack luster profile or account, your ad time and money will have been wasted.

Second, it is key to understand which platform your target demographics are using. Typically, Facebook is the prime source to begin social media advertising, as it has the largest user base and is typically the most professional. It is not a bad idea to start an Instagram account as well, as it can easily be used in conjunction with Facebook. Other platforms can be used at any time, but it is typically best to start with Facebook.

Fortunately, Facebook’s advertising methods are designed to be user-friendly and easy to learn. When hoping to expand your business’ reach on a small budget, Facebook is the place to start. Simply follow the instructions, tips, and guidelines found via their Advertising portal and you will be well on your way to successfully advertising your business online.

Other Means

While social media advertising continues to grow in popularity, there are still other methods of online marketing and advertising at your disposal. Google offers advertising capabilities similar to those found of social media, though the costs associated with running these ad campaigns can become expensive. It is also possible to advertise via connections with other websites or complimentary businesses. However, the most efficient means of advertising your business on a low budget is by maintaining frequent SEO, ensuring that your website meets or exceeds Search Engine criteria and expectations.

Recap

Growing your business online can seem daunting at first. However, there are a plethora of options available to every business that can greatly boost web traffic and increase sales. Perform frequent SEO on your content, maintain a strong social media presence, and utilize the advertising tools made available to you from social media and SEO to create an advertising campaign that works for you when applicable.

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