image of tausif akram By: Amby
17 Nov 2013

How to Optimize Your Online Presence for a Higher ROI

Even with all the technology that dominates our daily lives, many small business owners are still left clueless and frustrated about the “back end” benefits of having an online presence. You know you need a website with information about your products or services. You know you need SEO so people can find your website. You know you need a Facebook Page so social media addicts can follow your business for whatever reason…

But no matter what you know, it’s overwhelming. It’s confusing. Your specialty is ______, not all this web stuff!

Read on for a simple break down of how to optimize an online presence for your business for the highest possible return on investment.

Website Development

  • Do hire a professional web developer.
  • Do expect to spend a minimum of $1200 (low end) up to over $3000 (high end) for the development of a simple website.
  • Do not cut corners with web development! An unprofessional website with sloppy design or generic web templates will create the first impression that your business is not committed to quality. Big mistake.
  • Do choose a web developer who you can build a long term relationship with. You’ll need them for support and guidance. Before you hire any professional, examine the way you communicate and if it is effective or feels like a waste of time.
  • Do not be kept in the dark about anything. Get involved, because it is your brand on the line.
  • Do expect to pay for graphic design, coding, and copywriting as separate services. They are all equally important services for a quality website.
  • Do find inspiration, but do not mirror any existing websites. A quality website stands out and grabs your attention, a useless website is “just like the rest.”

As the core function of your entire online presence, expect to invest more on web development than any other service. The more you put in, the more you get back. A premium website may feel expensive compared to cheaper alternatives but the difference is that a premium website generates a return while the alternatives turn out to be a complete waste of money… and you’ll probably have to start back over at square one.

Search Engine Optimization

  • Do work with somebody who understands your business.
  • SEO can be included in website development. This is usually limited to on page optimization and does not cover anything off site.
  • If you own a small business that only provides services in a specific region, do look for an SEO service provider that lives in or is familiar with that same region and is experienced with local SEO services. Most web based SEO providers utilize an approach that overlooks the advantage of local search engine optimization for small businesses.
  • Do not over optimize or put too much of a priority on SEO.
  • At the same time, do not neglect ongoing SEO services either. Keeping your website on the front page of targeted Google search results is a powerful way to bring in traffic—qualified potential customers—and increase your ROI.

Social Media

This is where most people begin building an online presence for their business. For starters, social network accounts are free.

More importantly, you probably already know how to use these sites based on personal experience. However, you probably do not know how to use social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) effectively for marketing a business.

  • Social media should not be used exclusively to promote products or services. This is considered spam.
  • If you are clueless on how to use social media for your business effectively, hire an expert. Now it’s not free anymore but the results are worth the investment.
  • On its own, social media can’t be measured for a profit based ROI. The returns are more closely associated with branding, engagement, exposure, trust, and customer loyalty.

Managing Brand Reputation Online

For some small businesses, there may be additional ways to improve the ROI of your online presence through interaction. For restaurants or service providers that may be listed on review-driven websites, be sure to respond to all reviews (both positive and negative) in a manner that will benefit the way others view your brand.

Online reviews can really cripple a business. Just ask any small town diner that’s been rated 1 star. Pay attention to how others discuss your business online and get involved in the conversation.

That’s what an online presence is all about. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming or time consuming. In most cases, you’ll benefit the most by investing in the service providers who specialize in the objectives most relevant to your needs.

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