How Can I Boost My Online Presence in 2017?

December is a great time to think about what you want to be doing differently to market your business and boost your online presence next year. In 2016, for example, I completely renamed and re-branded my business to Website Wordsmith – too many people thought I was a website designer with a business name like Effective Web Sites. I also started a monthly newsletter and began blogging – yes, like the cobbler’s child, I do so much writing for others, I didn’t even have my own blog!

What will you be doing to market your business and boost your online presence next year?

Following are my top recommendations:

1 – If your business focus changed in 2016 or will change in 2017, make sure your website has kept up. Have you added services or products, and are they listed? Is there text on your website that is out of date or no longer relevant? Have you looked at your competitors to see if your website has kept pace with theirs in quality and quantity of content? Many people review at least 3 websites before making a phone call. If you were comparing your business to your competitors online, would you make that phone call?

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2 – If you don’t already have a mobile friendly website, 2017 is definitely the time to do it. What is a mobile friendly website? Mobile friendly sites look great on smart phones and tablets because the fonts and images shift and adjust so that they are easily readable, even on very small devices. You may already be familiar with the term “responsive” – responsive websites are always mobile friendly.

Google wants every user to have a “great experience” when doing searches. If your website is not providing a great experience, you can expect to see your visibility in searches slide. Just a few weeks ago, in fact, Google announced that it will be shifting its indexing to mobile first. What that means is that Google is taking even more steps to make its searches prioritize mobile friendly websites.

3 – If you haven’t already invested in search engine optimization, you may want to consider it in 2017. Search engine optimization is a cost effective way to get customers to find your website when they look for products or services like yours. Unlike online advertising, like Google Adwords, Search Engine Optimization is a one-time project that will reap benefits now and for years to come. I invite you to give me a call to learn more about how search engine optimization can boost your online presence.

4 – Make sure your business is represented consistently throughout the Internet so that you aren’t confusing both your potential customers as well as search engines. Using the same business name, phone number, address, face photo, logo and short business description everywhere you appear engenders familiarity and trust: your website, your Google Business page, LinkedIn, etc. Getting this right can be tedious, but it is definitely worth it. Here is a blog post I wrote that explains more fully how to make sure your business is represented consistently online.

5 – If you don’t yet have a Google Business page, be sure to create one. Your Google Business page places you in Google’s “yellow pages” directory, which is a boost for your local business presence. I’ve read estimates that from 35% to 45% of businesses have not claimed their page. To find out how to set yours up, see my blog post on how to create a great Google Business Page.

6 – Start blogging. Blogs are a great way to showcase your expertise as well as draw more visitors to your website. Your blog posts can be found by online searchers who are looking for information about what your post covers. For ideas on what to blog about, please see my blog post on what should I blog about.

7 – Make good use of the social media sites that are right for your business. Is your business listed in LinkedIn, for example? Are you listed there too – you can have both a business page and personal profile. Are you on other social media platforms as well that are appropriate for the type of business you have, such as Facebook, Pinterest or Houzz?

8 – And last, consider adding videos to your website and post them on YouTube. More and more people are turning to videos for entertainment, practical ideas and products.

I hope you choose just one thing from the above list and enjoy a nice boost to your business in 2017.

Carolyn Kohler is an SEO writer who specializes in helping businesses get found online. Her company is Website Wordsmith, and she is located in the San Francisco Bay Area.