You need to have a strong online presence for your business if you want potential clients to contact you. Otherwise, your competitors will get the clients and you won’t be in business for long. Whether it is a website, a Facebook business page, or a brick and mortar store, you have to employ every method possible for people to find your business and the products and\or services that you provide.
Online presence for your business
One of the most important things you can do is create a smart business name. Then you need to get your business name on the internet in various ways. And the best thing you can do is create a website, but that is easier said than done.
Here is my breakdown of what you can do to optimize your online presence for your business:
- Choose a strategic business name
- Create a Google My Business account
- List your business on Yelp and other relevant review sites
- Create a Facebook business page
- Create other social media accounts for your business
Hard and/or expensive methods
- Create a website for your business
- Upload relevant videos about your business to YouTube
- Create a blog section for your website
- Learn and implement Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
You want to start with the easy online methods first since a lot of them require little maintenance once you are done. I’m going to touch on all the online methods but I’ll be creating separate articles for some of the methods. I want to focus on the most important first step: your business name.
1. Create a search-friendly business name
You must reject any cute or clever play on words for your business name. No one is going to hire you because they find your business name “funny” unless that is common practice for your industry.
You need to be professional. You want clients and customers to find you through online searches, reviews, testimonials, and portfolios. A good name helps people find your business. Let me go into detail.
Here is what I did for the pet business I owned for the past 10 years. I used online tools to research the search volume for the services I offered: dog walking, pet sitting, and boarding.
The purpose is to find the best set of 2 or 3 words that describe your business. Keep it simple and put a small number of keywords in your business name.
Smart & strategic business name: add your city name!
How do you do a search for something on Google? Don’t you add either “near me”, “in my area”, or an actual city or neighborhood name in your search? I do and so do most people.
For my pet business that made sense, but that does not matter for my web design business. If you plan on selling or offering services locally, then find the best geographic name for your business: City name, neighborhood name, county name, etc.
The main reason to put the city in your name is for a better chance of getting “clicks” from organic search results. This is mostly for people with websites, but review sites like Yelp also show up in search results. And make sure you use the same business name for your Yep account, Facebook business page, Google My Business listing, etc.
2. Google my business listing
This is just as important as your Facebook business page. Local businesses that have a Google business listing are featured immediately below the top few results (see image below).
You have to provide a phone number and an address to actually set up a Google My Business listing. If you are not willing to put that information on the internet, then this is not an option for you.
My pet business was always featured in the business snippet for a number of different search terms: dog walker, dog walking, pet sitting, pet sitter, etc.
3. List your dog walking business on Yelp and other review sites
Yelp is by far the best review site when it comes to where people actually search for businesses and their reviews. Listing your business on Yelp is one of the first things you should do. In my opinion, Yelp, Google My Business, and Facebook are the top 3 online sites to list your business.
I’ll be writing a post that goes into more depth on Yelp and other review sites, but here are some sites where I listed my pet business in the past and my present web design business:
Merchant Circle, Brownbook, Super Pages, Bing Local, Localdatabase, ShowMeLocal, Tupalo, Hotfrog, Angie’s List, Foursquare, Judy’s Book, Alexa, Citysquare, Ezlocal, Mapquest, …
I’m sure I missed some, but you get the idea. I set up accounts for those sites over a decade ago. Some of those sites may not even be that popular anymore. Put your business name and every review and business listing website that makes sense.
4. Social Media: Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, …
Until you actually build a website, or hire someone to build it for you, then having a Facebook business page is absolutely essential. Some people will not even use Google to search for local services but will search on Facebook instead.
Make sure you create a separate page for your business. Do not use your personal Facebook page. You’ll be able to list a couple of your services and your rates. Another thing you can do is add images, such as a Google map of your service area, You can also create posts relating to your business.
Here are some other obvious, and not so obvious sites:
- Instagram: post photos and videos of you and your dogs.
- Pinterest: look into Rich Pins, a paid account, and using Tailwind
- Twitter: not the best but why not create an account
- Tumblr: same as for Twitter
The next two are not technically social media sites, but you can post and reply with links to your Facebook page or website:
- Quora: subscribe to pet-related sections and answer any questions with a relevant link to your site.
- Reddit: you can post articles or reply to threads on pet-related subreddits here as well.
I’ll cover the ins and outs and pros and cons of all of these sites in a separate article. But for now, at least create your Facebook business page.
5. Create a website!
After creating a great business name, this should be one of your next goals. This is a huge topic so I’ll be writing an article on suggestions on how to build your site as well as touching on the two topics below.
You also want to get your clients to write testimonials for you. Once you get them to do that, ask them to add reviews on social media pages, and review site listings. You can add the testimonials on your site and link to the reviews as well. That is huge. When potential clients see 5-star reviews on external sites, it adds to your credibility and reliability.
Your website name should be the same as your business name. Here is another reason why the first step of creating a strategic business name is so crucial. It becomes your brand.
6. Business related Blog
Google tends not to promote static websites. And static means websites that rarely, if ever, change. This is where a blog comes in. By posting articles related to your business on a regular basis, it shows that your site has fresh content.
The problem is that researching, writing, and publishing a blog post every week takes a lot of time unless you hire copywriters to write the content for you.
7. YouTube videos
Quick videos you shoot with your phone will also help your website. You can add the videos as support of your blog articles or as aspects of your business. You want to also add links to your website and blog articles in your video descriptions if you do post on Youtube.
I have not made any videos myself, but I would like to start the process. But I understand that it is also very time-consuming. You are paying either money or time to increase your online presence.
8. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
SEO is an advanced method of getting onto page 1 of Google search results. There are a lot of do’s and don’ts and it will take you a long time to handle everything that you need to do. I have a good deal of knowledge on the subject, but I am far from an expert. You should do some research on your own.
I’ll be adding links to important topics in future articles on building a website and how to incorporate SEO into your page and post content.
You need an online presence for whatever type of business you have. My suggestions are to do all the easy things right away and take your time with the more advanced methods. Be serious and do your research and pick the best name for your geographic area.