Key learning outcomes:

  • Acknowledge that your business needs an effective physical and online presence.
  • Conclude that the more effort and money that is invested in your business’s website, the more customers will want to do business with you.
  • Learn about the importance of search engine optimisation in maximising your business opportunities.
  • Develop a social media strategy that is active and adds value.


Nowadays, how your business looks online is equally important as how your business looks physically when a customer walks in the front door. If you are a small business, you might not think it really matters, or you do not have the time or money to think about it. This is, however, dangerous thinking given that consumers today almost always starts their search for a product or service online. In this article we will take you through some of the key areas you need to need to consider to ensure you look as good as you can to potential customers online.

Your website

Your website’s home page is your virtual front door. It is important to consider a potential customer’s first impression. Some of the key things to think about are:

The key to a great website is to make it easy for the customer to do business with you.


Search engine optimisation (SEO) is all about ensuring you are easy to find online. The first step is to Google yourself and your company. It is important when you do this that you sign out of your Google account, as Google will alter the results if you are signed in. Think about how potential customers might search for you, and carry out the search in a few different ways. You can then assess what comes up.

Remember that no one generally searches beyond the first page of results, so it is all about that first-page ranking. Ideally, you will find the first few results are all about you, your company page and perhaps links to some of your content pages. If you do not come up at all, or another business with a similar name comes up, you will need to work on building your SEO profile. One of the things to be mindful of is your Google rank is influenced by your overall online presence, so having great content across more than one online medium such as social media, a blog or You Tube is going to help.  You may wish to secure the services of an SEO specialist to help in this area.

Social media

Often we will hear a business owner say that they do not do Facebook or Twitter. While this might be the case, the reality is that over 75 per cent of online adults have a Facebook account and almost 30 per cent are on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. This means that if you are not on social media, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to engage with your customers and to promote your brand. There are a couple of key things to consider before starting a social media strategy:

When things go wrong

The thing about technology today is that the difference between a good and bad reputation is only a few clicks away. It is important that you spend time monitoring your online reputation. Research suggests that over 80 per cent of consumers are influenced by online reviews. This means that you need to ensure your reviews are as positive as possible. Here are a few quick tips on how to manage your online reputation:


Even if you are not an online business, your online profile is becoming a significant part of your brand awareness and reputation. Any business that is not prepared to create an online profile is likely to get left behind. The more proactive you are in your approach to new technologies, the more bulletproof your business will be.

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