If you are like most small business owners you are busy – really busy. This means some things get put off until you have more time, but you never really have more time. Just like those other business owners every year around this year you probably put together a mental list of all the things you are absolutely going to do to help your business grow. There are probably many items on that list that were on it last year, and maybe even the year before. This year needs to be different. We have put together the 5 internet resolutions to make your business soar in 2015:
Look at your website
This means take a long, hard look at your current website, if you have one. Look at it from a smart phone, a tablet, and from the various internet browsers such as Chrome, Safari and Firefox. Navigate the pages from each of these and make sure each page loads correctly, quickly and without errors. Internet browsers are like any other program, they update frequently, and often times those updates cause problems with webpages. Make sure that your site is mobile compatible. This means the pages resize automatically when your site is loaded from a smart phone or tablet, without ‘pinching’ the screen. Many of the recent search engine algorithm changes have added mobile compatibility as a large component and they are even punishing sites that are not. Make sure that your call to action is prominent and usable on mobile devices, such as a clickable phone number or an easy contact form.
Beyond the user interaction of your website you need to check to make sure the information on your site is current. Many times we see sites where the business has moved or added a location and the website does not reflect this. Additionally, the most forgotten about page on a website is the About page. Employee turnover is inevitable, yet no one ever remembers to update the About page. You need to read the content on your site as well. This doesn’t mean read every blog post, but the critical information pages on your site need to be reviewed for accuracy. This is a good time to update the content with any new and improved ideas, techniques, or business areas you might have expanded to. While you’re at it you might want to update the photos or other media. Just like any other asset, a fresh coat of paint never hurts.
Now if you don’t have a website – this is the year to get online. Don’t wait, do it now!
2. Get on Google+
The importance of Google+ is difficult to understand for some small business owners. Think of it this way – if you want to be found in Google’s search results, then you best be using Google+. That’s all there is to it. Google+ is Google’s social media platform, so setting it up and using it correctly can vastly improve your results in local search results. This means making sure your website is linked and verified, your contact information is accurate, your citations are added correctly and you are actively getting your clients to review you on Google+. Search any city and any service (example: Orlando dentist) on Google and the ones that are listed most prominently with stars, the map and the whole shebang are using Google+. There is no two ways about it; this is why you need to embrace Google+ now.
3. Start Using Social Media
Social media, like Google+, is tough for small business owners. This is mostly because using them correctly is time consuming and never-ending. Most people use Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or LinkedIn personally. However, continuously maintaining and posting for business doesn’t seem near as much fun – but it has to be done. Just as the importance of mobile compatibility is increasing, so is the importance of social signals. Social signals are the search engines way of seeing if people like your business or are interacting with your business. Search engines are constantly evolving their algorithms to provide the best search results for the searcher, what better way is there to do that than showing them socially active and accepted businesses. The best way to get started with social media is to pick one that you know and get comfortable with it. Once you have that one mastered pick the next one and do the same. After a while you will be a pro and then you can start using social media tools to help you schedule and post automatically, easy peasy.
4. Why Check our your Reviews
Your reputation matters, just as the reputation for your business. For many small business owners your reputation is what got you to where you are and it is what makes your business successful. Don’t let a disgruntled client, an angry ex-employee, or your competition ruin that reputation online. Sites like Yelp.com and Google+ give anyone and everyone the ability to rate and comment on your business at their leisure. You need to make sure you are on top of those reviews before they get away from you. Don’t be worried if you check Yelp and you see some negative reviews, they can be turned around. Showing that you are aware of and concerned about your customer’s opinions is just as important as a good review. So if you see a recent negative review respond with a simple “I am sorry your experience was less than terrific, please call me directly so that we can make things better.” A response that shows you care and are willing right the situation goes along way. Yes, even if the review is totally false, you must bite your tongue and take the high road. Remember, this response is as much to salvage the upset client, as it is to convince new ones that you are on top of things. Once you are aware of the reviews that are out there, you can set yourself to be notified when any new ones come in. This is important so that you can continue to monitor your online reputation regularly.
5. Check your website’s link profile
This one is a little trickier than the others because you need to get your webmaster involved, but it is just as critically important. Your link profile is the listing of all links coming back to your website. It used to be that part of getting a website to rank was to get a huge amount of links to link back to your website. It didn’t matter where the links came from or how irrelevant they were. This is not so any more. Likewise, an old black hat SEO trick to get a website to rank quickly was to get tons of crappy links, but now those same crappy links can sink your site. Talk to your webmaster and have him or her give you a link profile report so that you can see exactly who is linking to your site. If there are a lot of really bad, irrelevant links you need to discuss disavowing them with your webmaster. If there are just a few, leave them alone, but start actively trying to get good inbound links from reputable, relevant sites to your industry. A quality link profile is just as important, if not more important than some of the others resolutions above.
While running a small business is tough it is very rewarding. Don’t let another year go by without adapting to online changes and internet trends that can make your small business boom