In the old days, an online presence used to mean that you build a website, upload content and call it a day. These days, an online presence is more like online real estate. For a small business, an online presence is more like having a presence in the real world. You need a storefront, you need a bright and easy to read sign that people can view from the information highway and you need to get your website listed. There are some brilliant directories out there that rival any phonebook. The only difference between a tangible street corner and the information highway street corner is that foot traffic can be measured not by the hundreds, but by the millions, and even billions. Here are five ways for small businesses to build an online presence.

  1. Plan. Before you build your small business’ online presence, you need to get all your ducks in a row. For instance, you need to find the right platform for your business. For instance, an informational or consulting website will need a vastly different website from an online store. Also, you need to plan your SEO campaign, your marketing campaign and how you plan to get the highest conversion rate.
  2. Implement. Your next step in building your online presence is to build your website. The website should have three phases: the blueprint phase, the build phase and the testing phase. As a small business, you can’t really take your chances. You need to build a website that will get the best response. When it comes down to it, you need to not only build your website for customer engagement in mind, you also have to bring those customers in to test their engagement. It is important to keep tweaking your website until it is optimized.
  3. Reach. When you build an online presence, building a website is one thing, but actually bringing people off the information highway and into your business is another challenge. When you reach for customers, you need to customize your website’s experience for them. You can use bots and cookies to measures likes and interests, so that when visitors come to your website, they get a totally personable experience that is all their own.
  4. SEO. Theses days, it is nearly impossible to build a web presence without a strong SEO campaign. SEO, or search engine optimization, is used to optimize the website in order to get the most traffic. Basically, you can start with embedding key words, so that people searching online can find your website easier. You can also start a link program – basically, you purchase organic links that get propagated across the web. The more your business’ website is out there, the stronger your presence will be.
  5. Market. When it comes to web presence, marketing is critical. There are also numerous ways to market, but it can usually be broken down into two forms: paid and unpaid marketing. You could have a pay per click, or PPC, marketing program, or you can have totally unpaid marketing campaign by creating a video or a viral strategy to attracts visitors. At the end of the day, maximizing traffic is all about maximizing your presence.