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Small business owners should look at gaining an online presence

Updated on August 23, 2012
Small Business Online Presence
Small Business Online Presence | Source

The world and businesses are changing

You have always had competition from other small, or even large, businesses out there. Finding ways to out-do the competition has always been a thing of passion or art when it came to small business owners. Now you have a new problem to think about.

The world, along with small businesses, are changing.

Many small businesses these days are putting themselves out there on the web to gain more of a presence. They know that many people these days use the web to search for new products or services that are available. Not many people search through the yellow pages anymore until their web search is exhausted.

Many people may already know you exist but many people may not. If you, the small business owner, understand the new ways consumers are searching to find things, you will also understand at the same time that you need to gain a web presence.

It can be simple or complex

Many small business owners are not ready to jump into the world of online marketing. The reasons for this can be many. It may be because they do not know where to begin. It could also be that they know nothing of how the web works, or they think that they cannot build an online presence through a website because they know nothing of HTML, CSS, or database tools. It can be very simple or it can be a very complex situation depending on what type of web presence you wish to have.

A website is very much standard and the base of operations for your journey of gaining a presence on the internet. Websites, especially small business websites, do not have to be interactive and social. At the very most, they should probably tell the end-user what your business is all about, what you have to offer, where they can find you, and how they can contact you. If you are the type of business that has the need to offer quotes for services you provide, you may need to build a small script to give a rough quote then have the consumer contact you for further business conversations.

You will want your website to look good, but you can hire a designer for a small website for well under $1,000 and it will be professionally designed. Also, don't forget that there are templates out there that are for websites. Many of the websites template sellers also offer customer support on their templates and can help you turn that template into a working website for you.

If you need a complex website or just want a complex website for eye candy, then you will need to fork over more money to hire designers, database developers, and maybe even someone to maintain your website. Personally, to gain a web presence, I suggest a basic website with maybe a blog or something of that nature. Even a basic website will do just fine though.

Do you feel your business should have an online presence?

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Your business will be unique and Google will index you well for it

Chances are, your business has a unique name and offers local services. Even if you offer services in other places you probably still offer local services.

I will give an example of something that I may search for from time to time being that I love diving. I may search Google for "dive shops in Winnipeg". This search will bring up local businesses, and even non-local businesses. The good thing is that Google indexes the local businesses first so that I can possibly find what I am looking for locally. This can be very good for you, especially if your business only operates locally.

Once you build your website, you should go to Google's webmaster tools, create an account, and get it indexed using their tools. Soon after you do this, you should become indexed and show up in search results. It's quite easy.

You will now have online presence through your website and being indexed in Google. People will and do search for services you offer, and you showing up in the results could possibly send new business your way.

But there is still more.

Use online social networking services for that extra boost

Another way to build more of an online presence for your small business is by using social networking services such as Facebook. Starting a Facebook page is a great way to get the word out to many people in your area. If it wasn't for Facebook, I probably wouldn't know about a reptile store in my area that is really good. The owner sent out a post to a whole bunch of people and I went to check it out. Well, that is where I shop now. When people do come to your business, let them know they can follow you on Facebook. If they liked your services, they just might follow you and spread the word about your existence.

There are other social networking services out there too. Depending on what type of business you run, some may work better than others. There is also Linkedin and many others.

Are you ready?

I hope you are ready to take the next leap with your small business by gaining an online presence. It really does help. Even if you are not ready or are dead set that it will not help you, I hope you at least learned something interesting from my article. In the future, when you think you are ready, I hope you follow my advice and gain an online presence through a website or blog, then make a Facebook page for everyone to follow and share. This can sound very basic but in the end, it will bring you new customers and maybe even grow your business to new heights you thought were not possible anytime soon. Below may be some links of interest for you. Thanks for reading and I wish you the best of luck.

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