Getting Serious About Your Business’s Online Presence in 2016? Here’s Where to Start

business_online_presenseAs the New Year kicks into full gear, it is more important than ever to increase the visibility of your business online. The digital marketing arena is becoming an increasingly crowded space, and without taking the necessary steps to boost your online presence, your business can easily get lost in the shuffle. Below are some simple tips that you can put into practice immediately in order to improve your business’s online presence in 2016.

1. Commit to a consistent blogging schedule.

A stale, stagnant blog can convey the image that your brand is asleep at the wheel; an active, up-to-date blog essentially communicates that your business has something important and valuable to say. Take some time to assess what type of blogging schedule will work well in light of your other business obligations, and do your best to stick to it.

While frequent, consistent updates are always better than sporadic posts, be realistic about your time commitments and develop a publishing schedule that you know you can stick to. If that means publishing only once a week or twice a month, the important thing is for you to commit to the schedule that you have established.

Feeding your blog with regular updates will not only demonstrate that your business is active and involved on the Web, but it will also garner more favor with search engine algorithms, which can help boost your organic search rankings.

2. Take an inventory of the SEO-friendliness of your website.

Every year a debate emerges as to whether or not search engine optimization (SEO) is still relevant, and every year the answer turns out to be the same–it is. As it turns out, implementing good SEO practices on your website is also one of the best ways to improve usability, which is always relevant.

Take an inventory of how SEO-friendly your web pages are by checking for proper title and alt tags, including adequate keyword-focused content, filling out your meta description text, eliminating duplicate content across pages, etc. Once you have a good grasp of the current state of affairs, make the appropriate adjustments if things are not up to snuff.

3. Display your social media accounts in a prominent place on all of your web pages.

More than likely this means including social media buttons in your header, footer or sidebar, so that people can click for easy access to your social media accounts.

4. Become more active on social media.

Speaking of social media, it is important for businesses to use this invaluable medium to engage with fans, followers and potential prospects in a very personal and genuine way. Not only should you be actively involved on the social media channels that make sense for your brand, but you should also take the time to engage with other users by reading and commenting on their posts and status updates.

For most businesses, having a Facebook and Twitter account are virtually non-negotiable, but other platforms that can offer a unique means of connecting with your audience include Pinterest, LinkedIn and Instagram.

5. Make sure that your website is mobile-friendly.

One of the best things you can do to boost your online visibility to an ever-growing audience of mobile Internet users is to make sure that your website is mobile-friendly. After Google announced their now-famous “Mobilegeddon” algorithm update in April of 2015, the search giant began giving more ranking power to websites that are friendly to handheld devices as well as desktop computers.

By developing a responsive website–i.e., a website that automatically adjusts its page elements to accommodate smaller screen sizes–you’ll enable your business to garner more attention from mobile users. Fortunately, Google dedicated an entire section of their website to helping you improve the mobile-friendliness of your site.

6. Share your expertise on related forums.

Whatever your business happens to be, more than likely there are at least two or three popular online forums that are related to your niche. Become genuinely involved in these online communities by contributing helpful information and knowledge in forum conversations and discussion threads – LinkedIn is a great place to find these.

Over time, you’ll build a reputation as a thought leader in your given industry, and the relationship equity that you build with fellow forum members will work wonders towards earning you organic website traffic and referral business.

This New Year can be the beginning of a new level of influence for your business. Put the above tips into practice, and you’ll boost the presence of your brand online and position your business for long-term success.

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