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Bringing Online Success to Your Business

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Does your store have a website? If not, you are missing out on one of the most essential marketing tools for your business.

A website helps give your business credibility as well as presence. Today, more than 54 percent of Americans search online for business information versus traditional phone books, and 82 percent of online local searchers follow up via an in-store visit, according to comScore.

Don’t miss out on these opportunities.

Usually, a small businesses website will fall into one of three categories, those that do not have a website, those that have one but do not manage the content regularly and those that have a great site with up to date content.

For those that have no website, there are many easy start-up options for you. When looking for a website design partner, you will want to look for somebody that has packages that offer design, hosting, content management, social media integration, search engine optimization, e-commerce capabilities and mobile optimization.

You do not have to incorporate all of these elements from the beginning, but it is important that they can support you as your site and business grow. Be sure to ask for references when selecting a partner and more importantly make sure to call them.

For those who currently have a website, but are too busy to keep up with the content, you should look for a partner that can help manage the copy writing and postings for you. Too many websites fall victim to out of date content which makes the consumer feel uncertain about your business.  In return, they will move on to one of your competitors.

Be sure to look for a website partner that will manage your content for you as well as take care of your social media postings. Feeding your customers valuable information and keeping them engaged with your business is critical. Be selective when looking for a website partner and always look for one that offers future services that you might want to take advantage of.

For those of you that have a great website already, you should make sure you are constantly reviewing it to make sure you are staying up to date on the latest changes like mobile optimization and SEO.  You will also want to review your competitor’s sites to see what they are doing.

Having a great site does not guarantee you consumer traffic, make sure you keep your site interesting and engaging.

When it comes to posting content on your web site, make sure you are including key things that consumers are looking for.

According to comScore’s “Local Search Usage Study” January 2012 study, 78 percent of local searchers want special offers, promotions and information about events to be available when they visit your website and 66 percent want to see company photos.

When it comes to social media, the rule of thumb for a small business is to post at least two to three times a week. Space out your postings and make them informative and fun. Pictures and tips are easy things that will help build your following.

These are just a few key points to help bring online success to your business. Choosing the right partner is critical. Managing your web site by yourself is also fine as long as you are committed to setting the time aside each week to manage it.

- Jessica Farina-Morris

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