To be competitive your business needs to have an online presence. People search the web for businesses like yours daily. And if you’re not on the web, those people will never find you, but they will find your competition.
There are several ways to be visible on the internet. You don’t necessarily have to have your own website, but it sure helps. Here are some ways your company can be found on the web:
Hire a company to build a website for you.
A professionally built site will be user-friendly, easy to navigate, and have a professional look that will promote trust. It will attract customers and encourage people to call you.
Pros: It is the easiest and most effective way to be found on the internet and most convenient way for customers to see your services and contact you.
Cons: It can get expensive. Work with your web developer to keep costs within your budget.
Build a site yourself.
There are online website building apps that are fairly easy to use without writing code. Most include different price levels for added functionality. Some online site builders are free but come with many distracting ads and minimal functionality. Other paid site builders are pretty affordable and contain little or no ads. Here is a list of free website builders.
Pros: You will have an affordable website, increasing your web visibility.
Cons: The free apps include a lot of annoying advertising, so you may want to upgrade. It will be up to you to gather good photos and write & proofread your copy.
Create a company Facebook page.
This is a good alternative to a website and still provide web presence through a major social media channel. You can include your company description, multiple photos, video, show completed projects, and communicate with potential customers. Visit facebook.com for more information.
Pros: Facebook is a solid platform with millions of subscribers, and it’s free.
Cons: Not everyone has a Facebook account so your visibility will be limited.
Claim your business on Google My Business.
You can get a free listing for your company on “Google My Business”. It is an easy-to-use tool for businesses to have an online presence with Google without having a website. It helps web users find your business online. You can include your business information, contact info, hours of operation, photos, and reviews. MOZ explains and walks you through the Google My Business process.
Pros: Google displays a profile of your business for free.
Cons: You will need to set up a Google account if you don’t already have one.
Get listed on free directories.
At the bare minimum you can get listed on free directories such as your local chamber of commerce or Yellow Pages. It will list your company name, address, and phone number.
Pros: Your company name and phone number will be seen.
Cons: Many people see this as a computer generated listing and inaccurate.
Not sure where you stand?
Here is a simple test. Type your company name into your browsers search box and see the results. Does your company appear on the first page? The first couple of pages? Does it appear at all? Do other companies like yours show up?
A web presence is as important today as the yellow pages were in the 1980s. How do people find you? To be competitive your business needs to be online!
Related article: Branding Your Small Business
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