You are either considering to start a new business or are going to get your existing website and digital marketing on track for 2020. Congratulations. Now that you have your business cards made up with a retail space, work truck or space set aside in your house for the home office. Whatever type of company you have, your online presence is probably going to be a key to your success in the coming year.

Having worked with established businesses and brand new start ups over the years I can tell you that there are million things you can do online to be found and a million opinions of what is most important. This just happens to be my opportunity to tell you what I think. Since you are just starting out, then it is important for you and I to establish the basics.

First, You Should get a Website

I have seen businesses start out without a website and do just fine. Although to me, that is doing it the hard way. A website is the center around which your web presence revolves. There are businesses that do start out free websites. There are so many places to get them:

  • Wix This company allows you to make great looking website, but the free version causes headaches for marketing
  • WordPress Just remember, if you use their free version your Domain will look like this: https://website.wordpress.com
  • Google Sites I am becoming more partial to their platform especially since they make it so easy.

If this is your budget right now, you can definitely get off the ground with those platforms. If however you do have some budget, I would recommend an actual domain hosted on a Host Gator, GoDaddy or some other inexpensive and reputable hosting company. There are free or inexpensive WordPress themes available once you install your first website and you can literally be up in running in a matter of hours for less than $200 all year.My recommendation is to get yourself your own domain and website because as you grow your business, you are going to find limitations on what the completely free options have to offer. When you do grow to that point, a lot of the seo value you have built previously will not carry over.

Now that you have a website, start out by adding a few pages. About Us, Services We Offer, Blogs, etc. Be sure to get at least 300 words on each page. Search Engines like text. Now that you have your domain name and website, it is time to get it noticed by the search engines.

I do not wish to rush through the statement I have made above. If you want to be found in Google and other Search Engines, it is vital to have well written content. My recommendation for any company starting out or already existing. Pick what you believe to be the 5 most important pages on your website. Perhaps even pay a professional copywriter to improve them. Bring clear focus to what the intention of the page is and what you want the page to be found for. This time and investment is extremely important. If you want to know more, her is a blog to learn about SEO.

Second Step is to Claim some Listings

The search engines have their own internal directories and they allow you to have a direct feed into them. There are plenty out there but if you claim these two, you will be covered for 80% of the searches performed on the internet.

Google My Business

Bing Places for Business

These are free and have a lot of influence online. Make sure you get your website on here and fill in as many information fields as possible. The more info you give these directories, the more they will know about your business. No matter if you open a retail location or just have an online advice column, these registrations are must haves.

Third thing to do is set up some social media. Now, I didn’t say you have to be posting to social media. If that is your thing and it can help your business, all the better. I said to set up the social media. Creating accounts for your business reinforces your online presence. And be sure to set it up as a business account rather than a personal profile. Here are the main ones to start out with.

Facebook – Can be created from your personal account

Twitter – Needs to have a separate account set up

Pinterest – Needs to be set as a business account

Instagram – Also needs to be a business account

YouTube – Access through your Google My Business account to join the two

Go ahead and post a few things so the social media companies do not see dead accounts and unpublish some. Now this will take some time but can easily be accomplished in a day. Having these basic accounts set up will give you a head start over some of your competitors. From here, you need to pay attention to these tools. Keep adding blogs to your site, upload photos to your Google Business page, add a video once in a while to YouTube. You’ll find the search engines will reward you for this.