8 Tips to Succeed Online in 2016
Just over 20 years ago, history was made when the first secure online purchase took place over the internet. The transaction was for the Sting album on CD (remember those?), "Ten Summoner's Tale," in exchange for $12.48 plus shipping.* Since then, the internet has transformed from something primarily used by individuals to send an occasional email to a distant relative to a now roaring marketplace; it has become an essential component of businesses everywhere. These days, it doesn't matter what kind of industry you're in, your online presence has an effect on your bottom line. The internet business world has adapted over the last couple decades and formed its own set of rules. To prosper, you must understand those rules and play by them well. We've outlined 8 of the best tips to help your business succeed online in 2016.
1. Mobile Device Optimized Website
Since the introduction of smartphones, we've been experiencing steady increases in internet accessibility on our mobile devices, making web connection progressively convenient from virtually anywhere. In fact, according to KPCB, who recently published their internet trends report for 2015, mobile phones have now surpassed computers to become the most popular way to browse the web.**
Web sites that aren't yet optimized for phones or other devices are missing out on a big chunk of the market. There are three components to make sure your site is poised and mobile-friendly:
- Responsive design - This means your site adapts to and is functional on any screen size. Users simply won’t have the patience to fuss around with your site if it doesn't adapt to their phone or tablet screen.
- User-Friendly - Your site should be easy to navigate on any size screen, if it's not user-friendly, people will become impatient and leave, which is bad for business.
- Load Time - Your page load time directly affects the customer experience and your search engine page rankings. Every second that users have to wait for your site to load will increase the likelihood of them searching elsewhere. In other words, the faster your site loads, the better.
High quality, original content is an integral cornerstone to your success and presence online. Content should be created for both people and search engines. The better the content is, the more likely visitors are going to be engaged with your business and even share your post, widening your exposure. At the same time, search engines also love fresh, unique content, and will reward your creations with boosted rankings.
Valuable content can also be used through other mediums besides your own website. Niche related community forums are perfect places to provide the corresponding content and directly engage with potential customers, driving traffic to your site.
3. Social Media
The PEW research center concluded last year that 65% of American-adults currently use social media.*** There's tremendous potential through these platforms, and because of the detailed information known about their users, social media sites can be one of the best ways to target specific demographics, giving a high ROI on your advertising dollar. As a business, it's also recommended to be active on sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to build relationships and directly engage with your audiences. Social Media Marketing can be one of the most outstanding forms of free marketing available.
Building links for your business does two things: It creates referrals from other sites, bringing you visitors directly, and it increases your search rankings if the links come from trustworthy sources. There are a few key strategies to create links pointing back to your site:
- Submitting Guest Posts - Guest posting for other blogs provides fresh content for other sites while giving you significant exposure to a brand new audience. Guest posts can drive more traffic and help build high-quality link to your site.
- Broken link building - Essentially, during a broken link campaign, the first step is to discover links on other sites that are broken. Then you’ll re-create similar content that's compelling and relevant enough that the webmaster desires to fix their broken link by pointing it to your page instead.
- Great Content - If your content is awesome, people are more inclined to link to it from their own sites or share it on social media.
- Infographics - Infographics paint a picture while delivering quick, easy-to-digest information to the viewer. Best of all, they're easily shareable.
Video has recently become a critical way of connecting with clientele in the online world. There're two main ways we suggest using video for your business:
- Company video – This is where you use the power of video to tell a story and give your website a face your visitors can personally connect with when they arrive at your site.
- Youtube & Vimeo – These sites can serve as incredible marketing tools. By delivering quality, relevant content through a video medium, people can easily find your content on Youtube or Vimeo and will be pointed to your website for more information.
6. Citations (Local Businesses)
Having citations is vital to local business' SEO. Citations are mentions of your company name and address on other websites, such as yelp.com or an online yellow pages directory. We have a couple of guidelines to follow with citations:
- Consistency - There shouldn't be any discrepancies between citations on different sites, this can negatively affect your search rankings.
- Fix Duplicates - Duplicate citations will also negatively impact rankings; these should be fixed immediately.
7. Reviews (Local Business)
According to a survey conducted by BrightLocal, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.**** Important platforms for getting good reviews include Google+. Yelp, & Bing. There are two easy ways to excel in the review department:
- As a business, exceed your customer's expectations on a consistent basis.
- Ask for or encourage online reviews.
Think of PPC as the short term game, bringing in a consistent flow of pertinent visitors and customers while you continue to work on your SEO strategy. Google, Bing, and Yahoo Gemini are the top 3 PPC advertisers you should consider working with.
Now that you're equipped with our eight best tips to succeed online, you're ready to go out and take the internet business world by storm. If you need assistance with any of these components of internet success, don't hesitate to contact us, today. Bonsai Media Group is a full-service, online marketing agency. Since 2009 we've been helping our clients in and around the Seattle area set themselves apart, connect with their audience and grow their businesses.