where to get startedIt’s hard to know what to do and where to start when trying to build an online presence. Everyone has to start somewhere, so why not start at the beginning and approach it in bite size chunks?

It is clear that as the Internet takes on an even firmer hold on the world’s commerce the importance of increasing your business’ digital visibility is the underlying key to success. The easier you make it for potential clients to find you the better your return on investment will be. There are numerous ways to make it happen and without a doubt an effective use of the many online strategies available can help to make it possible.

The time has long passed when having a website was all that was needed for a business to be considered progressive and a forerunner in the industry. In today’s digital age without an impressive visibility a business could easily be lost in the proverbial haystack of millions of other businesses with a mediocre presence. It is therefore essential to enhance your online presence in such a way that not only will your needle stand out among all the others but customers will consider it worthy of their search for it.

In order to do this there are several strategies that will help you to know in which direction to take your digital marketing campaign. In this post we’ll take a look at where you can get started and I’ll follow up with posts on how to continue your online marketing efforts.

Understand Your Customer’s Needs

On the surface, this may be a bit more difficult than you might initially imagine. It is not enough to understand that your customer may use your product or service to fulfill a specific need in their home or business environment; it is also necessary for you to tailor their online experience to meet their specific online needs. Do they need to interact on the go? What information will be required for them to take the necessary action you want from them? How much knowledge do they need to understand what you are offering and the benefits they will receive? What will determine if your customers are satisfied with your services?

This requires constantly analyzing their online behavior and feedback in an effort to see what they are looking for now and what they are anticipating in the future. <a href=”http://digitalhume.com.au/diagnostic-assess-your-organisational-readiness/understanding-your-customer-needs/”>According to the Hume and The Digital Economy</a>,

“The digital economy means customers are becoming more demanding in their expectations and in many industries their needs are constantly evolving and changing. Businesses therefore need to be constantly monitoring customer behavior to understand what they want in the future and to provide them with the products and services they demand.”

Understanding this phase of the development of your digital website will require you to do extensive research. Once you have this clearly in mind you can incorporate your SEO strategies in a way that will make your visibility a welcome presence in the digital world.

moz localList Your Business in the Best Online Directories

Anymore directories are a bit of a dirty word, but one of your first steps will still be to list your business in several applicable online directories. There are numerous different website directories that can be found online but you want to make sure that you get your business listed in the right ones. Many of them will offer a free listing but don’t be surprised if you find some that will charge an annual fee for the service like BestofTheWeb or Yahoo.

You want to be careful to not spend too much of your advertising dollars on online directories unless you know that they will produce the end results you’re looking for. Learn about the traffic volumes that the directories may generate and make sure that your advertising dollars will be money well spent.

Maybe I should be referring to these as “business listings” instead of directories… at any rate, tools like Moz Local will give you an advantage of being found from virtually anywhere on the planet as well as manage your multiple listings. Local listings and citations are an essential feature since most people now do most of their shopping from their mobile devices, online directories can be considered as the modern day “yellow pages” of before. According to Fresh Books, “If you want to make it easier for people to find your small business online, getting listed in online directories is a powerful way to help you do that. It’s also a good way to build your website’s domain authority, because directory listings will increase the number of backlinks to your website.”

small business social mediaUtilize Social Media

A progressive business will also want to take full advantage of social media and use social media sites to their fullest advantage. The trick here is to realize that once you’ve set up a social media presence, you actually have to participate and contribute to make it worth your while. Therefore, you need to continually update and upgrade your presence by having fresh content and posting regularly. Many businesses quickly abandon social media simply because it can be very time consuming especially when trying to manage other day-to-day tasks. One thing that can really help manage your social outreach is creating a content publishing calendar. Check out Pam Dyer’s article here, to see how creating a content planning schedule can help your business.

At first, social media may appear to be the low cost windfall that every business looks for, a way to catapult your business into the worldwide consciousness without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. This may be true to a certain extent but if you want to be more proactive in increasing traffic to your site you’ll want to take this strategy to the next level by formulating an effective marketing plan to go with your social media visibility and you can enhance your presence even further.

increase your online visibilityEnhance Your Search Visibility

There is no shortage of strategies you can implement to enhance your position on the many different search engines that can help your customers find you. If you’re competitive, like many other companies, you’ll hire search engine experts to help to improve your rankings. Still, it always helps to remember the basics. As Rich Brooks explains, “Your established competitors have hired search engine experts to get their sites to rank higher than yours and new competitors are coming on board all of the time, looking to displace you from the first page of results.”

Making it easy for the search engines to “crawl” to your site is a little trick that many businesses often overlook. Search engines often send out spiders to grab content from your site. This practice is known as crawling. Sometimes these spiders can’t navigate your site because of features that interfere with them being able to grab what they need.

Avoiding flash navigation is so 2002, today, you need to make sure your site’s code is super clean and organized the right way by eliminating unnecessary frames and JavaScript as well as your structuring your css architecture properly. These are things that may not even be visible on the front side of your site, but can certainly be getting in the way of your efforts to get visible.

Moving forward always remember to create link-worthy content, market your articles, and position yourself in relevant communities online and you’ll soon recognize that your online visibility will begin to improve.