If you are looking to start up a small business, or you already have one, your best bet is to go online. It is the most inexpensive way to make money if you have time to put in the work necessary to bring visitors to your business. A lot of work does go into making your website very popular and lucrative, but after a while you start seeing returns by having more leads or sales through your website. If you want to get started on building a good online presence, you have a few steps to follow.

Build a “good” website

The most important step is to build a good website. Not just any website. In order to do that, you want to know all of the features that you are going to use for your website in order to provide an experience that will keep visitors returning or to fill out a lead form. However, the trick is to have people visit your site first. Most websites that start up die before anyone knows it even exists. This is where optimizing for search engines comes in. In order to make your website search engine friendly and high ranking, your images and videos need ALT tags and titles. TITLE TAGS and META DESCRIPTIONS based on keyword research; is also very important for your site’s ranking. You have to have an XML sitemap for search engines to read. You have to have all your redirects done right especially if you are working on a redesign. You must set your website up with webmaster tools and analytics.

Most free builders will charge you monthly fees if you want your website to be advertisement free. Free builders will also charge you for certain features that are very important for a well-built website. You end up paying more over time and the website will never become fully yours. You won’t be able to transfer it to another host if you don’t like their service, you will be at the same place where you started.

User friendly

One very important aspect of your site is how user friendly it is. If your site is easy to navigate, it’ll have an easier time gaining traffic. For search engines, the most important is providing a great user experience. This is the reason why they love user friendly websites and they measure time people spend on them. Websites with higher “bounce” rate might get lower rankings. Bounce rate is when people only visit one page of your site then leave. Imagine visiting a website in which the layout is confusing, the design is sloppy, non-responsive and you do not know how to get to the page that you want. Also, some of the links are broken. You would not return to that site, would you?

Social Media

When it comes to traffic, one of the methods that can go a long way towards bringing up your traffic is having social media profiles. Some very popular media profiles are Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Linkedin. Whenever you update your site, update your profiles. However, you must also engage others so that they will care about your site updates. Also, make use of all of the features that each social media platform has.

Blogging

Blogging is another GREAT way to increase your traffic. Search engines love blogs because it is an easy way to create fresh content. Blogs are a lot like web pages. A good blog will help you rank a lot quicker on search engines. Many websites have blogs to accompany them. I would advise you to have a website with a built in blog and post articles regularly.

Directories

In order to boost your traffic, you can list your site in a multitude of directories. It’s like listing your business in phone books back before the Internet became a common way of running a business. When you list your online business in web directories, you increase the visibility of your site. You make it so more users will visit your site.

Older businesses are probably included in directories like Google Map, Yellow Pages or Yelp. In this case you must claim your business to update your listings with pictures and more information. New businesses must be added manually. All new business has to have their unique phone number in order to have a separate listing.

Search engine friendly URLs

Every website needs URLs in order to be accessed. Some URLs are more search friendly than others. For instance, there are URLs that have a ton of words and numbers; instead of www.example.com/?p=578544 your pages will need to be www.example.com/first-awesome-product.

Inbound links

Trust is very important online. For search engines to trust your website and to increase your rankings, quality links to your site go a long way. When you get links from highly respected sites that are relevant to your business, that could increase your page rank as well. There are plenty of ways to get links back to your site. You can guest write for a site that is relevant to your niche for one thing.

Reviews

Having customers write reviews about your business can help you rank higher. Websites like YELP or Google Map listings or Facebook where people can post reviews are very important. People do make buying decision based on your online reviews. Directory listings with more good reviews do show up higher in search results than businesses with no or bad reviews. The important part is that you provide good service to your customers. If people have good things to say about you and your business, then you will gain more customers.

Mobile optimization 

Make sure your site is optimized for mobile phones and other mobile devices. With the technology of tablets and smartphones, more people are using the mobile Internet. 50% of search now done on mobile devices. You definitely want to make sure that your site is mobile phone friendly. Once you can manage that, then search engines will more likely be displaying you on mobile devices.

Looking at it from the outside

The most important aspect of the success of your business is to think about what you have to offer. You need to know your goals online. You need to know the cost per lead and cost per acquisition. How much a lead worth to you? You also have to look at your site from the perspective of the customer. You have to ask yourself what your business has to offer consumers. Make sure your HOME page will list all the bullet points why your services or products are better than others. Have an easy way to contact you. List your phone number on each pages and have a short contact form one each page as well. If you feel like you would buy from your business, then chances are, your customers would buy from you too. You have to run your business from the purpose of providing something that people need, solve their problem.

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