Woman-at-Desk

By now most business owners have realized the potential for expansion offered by the internet. Not only can a website help you to attract consumers to your real-world location (in fact, many people won’t bother to visit a store if they can’t find a website first), but you can also set up an online store to increase sales amongst consumers that are outside your geographic location. However, you might not precisely know where to go from there when it comes to developing a strategy to grow your business online. You’ve probably heard of SEO and you’re almost certainly aware of social media, provided you haven’t been living under a rock for the past decade. But you simply might not be sure how to utilize these tools on behalf of your business. So when it comes to putting together a targeted plan of action to make the most of your efforts in the online arena, here are just a few tips that should help you to create a strategy designed to take your business to the next level.

The first thing to think about is what you hope to gain from your online efforts since this can have a marked effect on your strategy for growth. Are you looking to cater to your local community through your online presence or do you hope to tap into a national or even international consumer marketplace through your efforts? Do you want tons of traffic to your site or are you interested in targeted traffic that is more likely to result in sales and ongoing patronage? And how much are you prepared to spend on your online efforts, including both time and money? Answering such questions ahead of time can only help you when it comes to creating a strategy for online business growth that will meet all of your needs.

Now, it’s time to consider a few potential avenues for expanding your online presence. First and foremost, you need to make sure your website is up to snuff with killer content and an easy-to-navigate interface. This will be the hub of your online operation and in many cases the first point of contact with consumers, so you want to make sure it is attractive and engaging. From there you need to be found, and SEO efforts will help you here. Of course, the learning curve for search engine optimization is a bit steep, and hiring professionals to do it for you can be pricy. But you’re either going to have to put in the time or the money to make this happen if you want any hope of competing online.

And you absolutely cannot discount the potential impact of social media. You can start with profiles on Facebook, Twitter, and/or YouTube, depending on how you plan to interact socially with current and prospective customers. But you might also want to include relative newbies like Instagram and Pinterest in your calculations as they offer something different. And don’t forget to encourage customers to create positive reviews for your goods or services on sites like Yelp. Just try to temper your efforts where social media is concerned. You might think that more profiles are better, but the truth is that overextending will only mean that you don’t have the time to devote to any of your platforms. Finally, consider that there are also easy and inexpensive ways to spread your name online, such as the use of business directory software. It may seem passé with so many other flashy options in the virtual world, but as part of an overall strategy for online growth, you shouldn’t forego the basics.

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