What you will learn
In this post, I’ll introduce you to all the ways you can create an online presence—from websites and social media to local business listings and review sites.
You can see just how important it is these days to be online, so let’s get going.
Creating a website
The most obvious way to “go digital” is with a website. Early websites were hard to build and also weren’t much more than online brochures that described the who, what and where. However, Today’s websites can do much more. Going digital has never been easier than it is today. You can get a website set up in no time, and start researching, chatting with experts, reading customer reviews, watching videos—and much more.
If you decide that your business needs a website to support your goals, the key is to think about what your site actually needs to do to support your business goals. Of course, it’s also possible to do business online without a website—if you own a bakery for example. you want customers to be able to find you even if you don’t have a website yet. But if you have tech-savvy customers who are looking for local places to buy carrot cakes (or whatever), they’re probably going to search “bakery near me” before they pick one based on location alone.
You might see a website for a local bakery… or you might discover a good option in local listings.
Read also: Things to know before hosting a website
Some businesses use local listings to create a digital presence, using products like Google My Business and Bing Places for Business. These types of directories let businesses publish details like descriptions, reviews, maps, and images.
These listings are usually free and are a good way to help your business appear on results pages when people search.
Beyond local listings, there may be review sites for your specific type of business where people can leave feedback — and you can respond. Good reviews from happy customers will give you the edge over the competition.
Read also: How search engines see and understand the web
According to Datareportal January 2022 global overview, we can see that social media growth has continued to increase:
- More than half of the world now uses social media (58.4%) 4.62 billion people around the world use social media,
- 424 million new users have come online within the last 12 months.
- The average daily time spent using social media is 2h 27m.
You can also use social media as your digital presence. People all over the world use Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages to complement — or in some cases replace — a website.
Another way you can reach customers online is through their mobile. You’ve probably downloaded apps or games on your mobile phone. The good news is You can also create and offer these apps to customers yourself.
Apps can take advantage of a mobile device’s unique capabilities, like GPS, mapping, and phone, to connect with customers. If a customer installs your app on her mobile, the next time she’s near your shop, the app might send her a special offer, thanks to GPS.
Apps could even let her place an order right then, so when she comes in she can skip the queue, pick up her order and pay by tapping her mobile against the till.
Mobile apps are often used as loyalty tools, to encourage existing, frequent customers to come back… and maybe get a free coffee with that carrot cake.
Read also: What is a website and how does it work: Server and Domain Name Explained.
Whether you use a website, local business listings, social media, mobile apps, or all of the above, the trick is to decide what you want customers to do, then create a home that accomplishes those goals. Together, these things work as your digital storefront: your space to interact with customers online.
Businesses of all sizes need to consider how they will use their web presence when thinking about whether or not they should build one—and how they’ll use it moving forward after the fact!