3 Ways You Can Improve Your Business' Online Presence by the End of the Year
As the year draws to a close, many entrepreneurs, freelancers, and small business owners reflect on the wins of the previous 12 months and begin setting goals for the year ahead. One area nearly everyone can improve on is their online presence.
The good news is, it doesn't have to take a lot of time or money to refresh your online identity and begin seeing measurable ROI. Here are three ways you can improve your business' online presence before the end of the year to get a jumpstart on 2018.
1. Create Shareable Content On a Regular Basis
Even the most well-designed website and sharpest-looking blog can't attract new customers if there isn't a steady influx of content. According to SmallBusiness.com, the number-one web priority of small business owners in 2017 was publishing higher quality content. While a blog post every now and then is better than no posts at all, the best way to increase your online reputation is by creating valuable, share-worthy content on a regular basis. This will create authority and position you as an expert in your field. It will also drive organic traffic to your website.
Take an hour or two before the end of the year to put together a content schedule for 2018. In addition to blog posts, consider sprinkling in infographics, downloadable whitepapers, and videos. Each of these high-value items can be shared on social media sites, the company's blog, and via email newsletter. Commit to regular days for posting and sharing items—for example, new content on your website every Wednesday, and social posts every Wednesday and Friday—and stick to it. If you want more information on creating a content calendar (including downloadable templates), here is a great resource.
2. Put Yourself Out There
As an entrepreneur, you are your business' most valuable and visible asset. One of the fastest ways to elevate the profile of your business is by elevating your own profile. You can do this by contributing guest articles to other blogs or websites, offering yourself for quotes or background research to reporters or trade writers, and sharing content on your own LinkedIn profile and in LinkedIn groups.
Take a few hours before the end of the year to brainstorm opportunities to share your voice with new audiences who might benefit from your services. Subscribing to the HARO newsletter can be a great way to find quick press opportunities in your area of expertise. Appearing as a guest on podcasts is another good way to reach large audiences with very little time invested. Research podcasts relevant to your industry and reach out to the hosts about being interviewed.
You can also offer to syndicate, or republish, your original content in other publications. For example, if you run a plumbing business, an article on your blog about the top mistakes people make when installing new bathroom fixtures could be very valuable to a DIY website. Make sure your name and company name appear on the post with a link back to your website, and consider offering a small referral bonus (or affiliate fee) to the blog for any new customers their site sends your way.
3. Do a Quick Brand Audit
Can you fill in the following sentence without hesitation? "My business is a market leader at ________ and people should trust our expertise because _________ ." If you can't, your prospective customers won't be able to either. Make sure you know your brand inside and out, and that every touchpoint online—your website, your social accounts, newsletter templates, etc.—reinforces it with appropriate language and images.
Own your expertise. People want to work with experts, so let them know you're a pro. Spend some time making sure you understand your value, and then look over all your web assets for opportunities to improve how you're communicating that to others. Don't forget about quick wins, either, like tweaking your Instagram bio or updating your domain to include a top level domain more suited to the work you do, like .PRO. These things may seem small, but even minute details can make the difference when it comes to standing out online.