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The No BS Guide to Building a Powerful Small Business Web Presence

You’re a new small business owner that wants to build a brand and web presence on the internet — but you’re overwhelmed with all of the information that’s scattered across sites online. 

I get it!

That’s why I’ve decided to create this practical guide that covers the basics that you will need to get started with building an impactful digital presence for your small business that makes it easy for customers to find you + access information about your business. 

What is an Online Presence?

An online presence is essentially made up of all of the platforms + brand that you establish online (ie., via a website, blog, or social media networks)

These platforms are used to help you get your business out there to the marketplace and make your business more accessible to customers via the web.

Why Building a Small Business Web Presence Matters

Well for starters, 85% of consumers (aka your clients and prospects) are online looking for products and services that you offer.

So there’s no better time like the present to establish a “Digi Home” for your business as quoted by one of my favorite bloggers and entrepreneurs, Nikki Elledge Brown.

Oh and here are some additional interesting stats that you should consider: 

  • The 2012 Digital Influence Index Shows Internet as Leading Influence in Consumer Purchasing Choices (Fleishman-Hillard)
  • 89 percent of consumers use search engines for purchase decisions (Fleishman-Hillard)
  • 94% of smartphone owners look for local information on their phone (Televox)
  • 79 percent of consumers said they Like or follow brands on social networks to get more information about the company and its products and service (Fleishman-Hillard

A Little Bit of My Backstory

I got started with building a digi presence about 2 years ago…and man was I like a fish out of water.

Like many of you new to the online world, I was overwhelmed, frustrated and confused with trying to establish a home on the web.

I won’t lie…

This process was pretty painful and VERY expensive.

I spent a lotttt of money on stuff that (frankly I didn’t need) and on programs that didn’t deliver on their promises, worthless tech tools and etc.,  

The short of the story is this:  

It took me two years to really understand how all of this stuff works.

But here’s the thing:

Everything that I’ve experienced has been worthwhile.  

It has brought me to a place where I can share information with you all that will help you easily get  your small business setup online — faster than I was able to.

How to Create a Web Presence For Your Small Business

1.  Establish clear goals for getting setup online.

Before you start setting up shop online you will need to establish some clear goals for your business.    You will need to make sure that your online activity aligns with your business goals.  Some of the things that you should consider include:

  • Who are you targeting and serving.
  • What are you offering?
  • What communication channels + platforms will you use to attract target customers and prospects to your business via the web?

2.   Purchase a memorable domain.

This is one of the first steps that you need to take to get things rolling with building a digital home for your business.

You ever hear someone say to you, “check me out on the web at “theirsitename.com”? 

Welp, this is exactly what a domain is.  It’s the name that points to their site. The domain name that you use for your website or blog address, should be easy to remember.

It should also be unique to your business, short and easy to spell.  GoDaddy has a free domain name checker that you can use to search for available domain names for your biz.

Go Daddy Domain Search

Go Daddy Domain Search

3.  Setup a Website or Blog

Setting up a website or blog is a super essential requirement for creating an impactful online presence for your small business.  

A website is a 24/7 shop that showcases your products or services to the world. It is one of the best investments that you can make in your small biz that will make your business accessible online to customers.

One of the most popular platforms that you can use to easily create a website for your small biz is WordPress.

If you’re not tech savvy, Squarespace is an additional platform available that you can use to create a professional looking website on the cheap as well.  

Website

A blog is an additional digital platform that you can use to showcase your services and get your business in front of more people online.  

In fact, more people are using blogs to establish a business presence via the web.  

Blogs can be started in a matter of minutes and offer an easy way to communicate with the audience that you want to reach.

The biggest thing that you need to remember when starting your blog is to keep your blog content fresh and updated regularly.

Here again, WordPress is the most popular blogging platform used by the pros. 

Blog

4.  Sign up for a Web Hosting Account

A web hosting provider is the company that you will use to host your website or blog — and make it accessible to the world online. Two of my favorite and reliable web hosting providers are Hostgator and Siteground.

SiteGround Hosting Services
5.  Invest in a professional Theme for your blog or website.  

Design matters peeps!  

I cannot stress this enough.

Think about it this way, when you visit a site that looks a tad bit sketchy what do you do?  Probably navigate away from the site right…

Fortunately for you, sites like Themeforest and Creative Market have themes that you can purchase to setup a digi home for your small biz on the cheap.

Themeforest.net
6.  Create a memorable brand statement and message.  

Your brand statement should identify who you serve and what you help them do.  

Your brands message is essential in the online marketplace.  A core message will helps your prospects identify with you and if they are in the right place once they land on your website or blog.  

Twitter is an excellent resource that you can use to look at examples of brand statements from different brands in your industry and also get ideas on how to craft a brand statement and message for your small business.

Twitter Example
7.  Use social media platforms to reach more prospects + get the message out  about your business.

Social media is a POWERFUL communications channel for getting your business in front of more prospects and customers via the web easily and at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing and advertisement services.  

Twitter and Facebook are the two of the main social media platforms that I am using to promote this brand.  

If you’re just starting out, you should consider the following:  

  • Which platform has the greatest percentage of your ideal audience active on there
  • What kind of content you will need to create to attract them to your business/brand
  • Are there tools available that you can use to manage the social media account easier?

8.  Get a professional photo/headshot taken.

Add it to your site, blog, social media profiles, email signature and etc.,. I didn’t realize how BIG of a difference this can make but it does.  

A professional photo makes for a positive impression online and inspires trust from the folks that come across your biz via the web.

If you can’t afford to hire a professional photographer don’t worry.  

Smartphone apps like Camera Zoom FX for Android smartphones and Camera+ for iPhones will help you take great photos on a budget.  I used my iPhone to take the pic below.

Kim Pic Outside 3
9.  Promote content from your blog or site to your social media accounts regularly.  

To build your audience, it’s great to get in the habit of posting content to your social media accounts.  

Posting content will attract new visitors to your business and will keep your fans engaged.  

To save time, use Buffer and Hootsuite to pre-schedule + automate content so that you don’t have to manually go back and forth between accounts posting content.

buffer-content-queue
10. Create share worthy content.  

Let’s face it… content is king.

Writing great content, then marketing it online is one of the best ways to attract the right people to you.  

The key is to write posts that speak to your target audience, solves a problem for them and compels them to take action.

Quick Recap of What We’ve Covered + Your Action Plan

Okay so here is a quick rundown and action plan for you to follow to build a presence online for your small biz:

  1. Establish clear goals for setting up shop online
  2. Purchase a memorable domain
  3. Setup a blog or website
  4. Sign up for a Web Hosting Account
  5. Invest in a professional theme (aka template) for your digital home
  6. Create a memorable brand statement and message.
  7. Setup accounts on social media platforms
  8. Get a professional photo taken
  9. Create share worthy blog posts (not me too content)
  10. Publish your content to your social media accounts regularly

Build Your Online Presence Workbook

Alrighty…over to you good people.  What are you doing to build an online presence for your small business? 

Leave your comments below or drop me a line on Twitter to let me know what’s working for you.  

As they say, sharing is caring.

** Post contains affiliate links for your convenience

BONUS GUIDE: Want a WORKBOOK that you can use track your online progress? Enter your name and email address below to download my FREE 10 Step Blueprint and Workbook to creating a POWERFUL Online Presence for your small business.

Creating an Professional Online Presence Checklist

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Kim
 

Kim, YourChicGeek is a tech savvy diva + founder of YourChicGeek.com. She is passionate about teaching small biz's how to create a web presence for growth + impact. Kim has created several online courses that help small businesses grow and flourish online. You can contact Kim to hop on a quick 15 minute call to chat about your online marketing goals.

  • Hi, Kim.

    Thanks for presenting these steps in the way that you did. It a nice, simple idea to summarise the post by listing the ideas at the end.

    Having a good web presence certainly matters.

    Tweeting soon.

    Nathan.

    • Hello there Nathan!

      Thank you sooo much for taking the time to drop by the blog and comment on this post. Having a good web presence (especially these days) is very important for biz’s + bloggers alike.

      I am glad that you appreciated the way that I outlined the action items towards the end. Your support and retweets are very much appreciated.

  • Hey Kim,

    What a great post and I had to come back around to comment.

    I know what you mean about it taking you two years to learn what you should do all while most of what you purchased along the way didn’t quite deliver. People don’t understand everything that’s involved in getting your presence up and running so anytime they can learn from someone who has done the work and hopefully help them save a heck of a lot of time then they should jump on that.

    Hope anyone who is at that beginning will devour this post and then go to work.

    Appreciate you sharing it and happy holidays!

    ~Adrienne

    • Well hello there Adrienne!

      Wow, thank you so much for your comments on this post. I was just thinking about your statement regarding purchasing programs + etc, that dont quite live up to the hype. I have been there, done that and have gotten a T-shirt for it (as my mom says).

      There is no magic formula or magic tricks that you can use to build up a solid presence via the web. I want to make sure that readers understand that it takes a lot of time and effort to get things going, but once you do it is so worth it.

      Wishing you a very Happy Holiday season, and thank you again for taking the time to drop by to comment. Here’s to an Awesome 2016 🙂

  • Hi Kim!

    I’m glad you covered this topic because the lack of a real web presence is a big issue I see so many small businesses in my community going through. To many of them, having a web presence is little more than a social media page they will post to once a week or so. It’s kind of sad.

    The fact of the matter is as business owners we need to go out and become part of our target market’s lives, we need them thinking about us. With more and more people spending more of their time online, how can we expect to do that without a web presence right?

    No doubt this is going to help a lot of people struggling in this area.

    Love the site by the way. I know there’s going to be a lot of great stuff coming from you in the future, so I’m really looking forward to it!

    • Hello thereeee James! I am soo glad that you dropped by to take the time to comment on this topic. As you can see, this is one that is near and dear to my heart, especially after trying to figure out how to get set up on the web properly.

      As you stated, in this day in time, a Facebook page is just not going to cut it..because as you stated, people are turning to the web to look for information..and if you are not making your business accessible online the right way, then its hard for your target customers to find you.

      Again, Thanks so much for dropping by. Wishing you a blessed and prosperous New Year 🙂

  • Hey Kim,

    This was a great break down of what you need to focus on to succeed online. As you mentioned from your experience internet marketing can be confusing and overwhelmed with information for a newbie. But a guide like this will definitely help to stay on track with what you have to.

    Thanks Kim for sharing and Happy Belated New Years!

    • Hello there Sherman! I am sooo sorry that I am late to the party my friend. Thank you so much for dropping by to comment on the blog post.

      Yes, for a newbie that is just getting started online, it is VERY overwhelming. Truth is…these are things that I wish I would have known years go. I am glad that you liked the post my friend. Cheers and heres to an AWESOME 2016.

  • Hello Kim,
    My first visit to your place and what a refreshingly helpful post.

    I can truly relate to your getting set up online challenges – I probably wasted way too much time, money and emotional energy chasing all sorts of “shiny objectives” that promised me all sorts of amazing results…that never eventuated!

    I have shared this post widely and will also give a link to it to my list as your 10 point checklist is something I feel that anyone new online (or even considering that option) should read, learn and then take considered action on.

    The idea of having clear goals especially when it somes to your target audience is something that I know many folks struggle with. It’s just so important to really nail down exactly who you are trying to reach and then work out where they hang out online.

    When you have worked out who your target is and where they are online then the next logical step is to discover what they want….and simply give it to them.

    People need to get these 3 steps correct before implementing the rest of your excellent 10 point blueprint.

    Many thanks for sharing this superb guide Kim

    Best wishes from a remote Thai village entrepreneur

    Peter

    • Heyyyy there Peter! Wowza. Thank you sooo much for stopping by to comment.

      It is true my friend, setting up online can be a little taxing at first, especially if you are new to the online world.

      When I first started out, my biggest issue was figuring out who I was targeting. Fortunately, but unfortunately, I spent years blogging on a previous site trying to speak to EVERYONE.

      As they say in Marketing, when you are talking to everyone…you are talking to no one.

      With the help of coaching by a good friend Don Purdum, I was finally able to nail down a target market and put a solid strategy and plan of action in place to reach them.

      Glad that you enjoyed the post my friend. Cheers and best wishes to you this year 🙂

      • Hi Kim,

        You actually just hit the nail right on the head in your comment and its something that many online marketers fail to understand and accept.

        We all need a coach and to stop fooling ourselves that we can do this business all on our own. It took me some time to get to this conclusion as probably my ego was in the way!

        But as soon as my mindset accepted that I needed help and guidance my online presence and business took off.

        Thanks for sharing and I look forward with great anticipation to your next post creation.

        Best wishes

        Peter

        • Peter…that is awesome news my friend and yes you are right! I tried for 2 years to do everything on my own and figure things out….(BIG Mistake)

          Hiring Don was absolutely + hands down one of the best investments and decisions that I have made for my business.

          Again, thank you for dropping by. New post will be out on Monday.

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