National Small Business Week has been taking place in the U.S. over the past few days as small business owners come together to share insight and learn how to best grow their business. We’re adding our two cents with advice on how to make your small business stand out online.
If you don’t already have a website, you need one
As of last year, nearly half of small businesses still did not have a website, with most responders claiming that expenses and lack of technical know-how as the primary reasons for their lack of online presence. But small businesses who do not have websites are missing out on a major opportunity to expand their reach and bring in more customers. Better yet, creating a website is easier and more accessible than ever. There are a variety of no-code options for setting up a website, and it costs less than you might think.
Choose a domain name that makes sense for you
If you have an established business name, using that same name for a URL is always an option. But if the domain is already taken by someone else, there are alternatives you can consider. First, is choosing a domain that includes keywords relevant to your industry or location. For example, if you own a Denver-based macaron store called “Sweet Shop,” you may decide to adopt the URL denvermacarons.com to target organic searches for macarons in Denver. Of course, you can always look to New Domains as a solution as well. Even if sweetshop.com might not be available, there’s a chance you could snag sweet.shop instead.
Take advantage of review websites—and make sure they are saying good things
Review websites like Yelp, Google Places, Angie’s List, and more can be your biggest advocate—or your worst. Take inventory of the reviews that exist about your business, and if there aren’t any, ask some of your most loyal customers to leave from positive reviews. If you have a lot of negative reviews about your business, it might be tempting to pretend that they don’t exist. But having those negative reviews out there may be driving away prospective customers, so taking action is your best bet. Address the concerns that reviewers had and show that you value their feedback.
Post frequently on social media sites that make the most sense for you
It can be hard to post consistently on every social media platform out there when you’re a small business owner with just a few people on your team. When you’re first starting out, it’s best to choose 2-3 of the social platforms that make the most sense for your business and get really good at posting content consistently on those select sites. For example, an apparel company can show off their wares on Instagram, but a B2B business is better off on Linkedin. Figure out where your target demographic is spending most of their time, then make a point to post on that platform.
To make things easier, use a social media manager like Hootsuite or Buffer (which both offer free account options) to schedule posts out ahead of time. It’s a great way to make sure you’re consistently sharing great content without having to spend a lot of time manually posting it.