Keeping it Fresh

How to create and maintain your company’s website and online presence

By: Kelly Trevino

Does your business have a website? Is it visually appealing, and is the information up-to-date? Many businesses either don’t have a website or build it without keeping it updated. With more consumers relying on the Internet as their primary research tool before making buying decisions, it is vital your business has an online presence. Websites give an inside look into your business and the products and services you provide, which is an advantage over your competitors.

Creating a website
Creating a website that looks professional is fairly simple. Many website builders offer a “drag and drop” formatting as an alternative to coding your own site. The most important step to developing a website is to have content, then find a professional Web designer or research an online “do-it-yourself” website builder site. There are many free website builders offered online that will help grow your business. Some of the top website builder sites for businesses include Wix, Squarespace, Weebly and GoDaddy. These sites are also known as Web hosts.

Once you have chosen your Web host, the next step is to choose a domain name, or the URL people type into their browser to get to your website. The domain name is typically the name of your business or closely related. Domain names do cost money, but they are relatively inexpensive.

Maintaining a website
It is important to regularly update basic content, like the products and services your business offers and contact information. More often than not, businesses forget to maintain and update the website regularly. Be sure to update information like the physical address of your business, as well as phone numbers and email addresses people use to reach your business.

Also, add photos and videos to your website, and integrate social media by including links to accounts like Facebook and LinkedIn. Many small businesses are now using social media platforms as a website alternative.

Got social media? Give it a try
In a society ruled by communication and technology, social media plays an active role in our everyday lives. More and more businesses are turning to social networking as a way to interact with customers and other professionals. Social media acts as an online sharing forum and give your business instant access to positive or negative feedback. This will provide insight on the customers’ perspective and their wants and needs.

By using social media monitoring, your business will gain key information on your competitors and allow you to make strategic business decisions in order to stay ahead of the competition. Having a social media presence will also increase your company’s website traffic.

So if your business is looking to increase its brand awareness with little to no budget and to create meaningful relationships with customers, social media is a must – and something traditional advertising will never achieve.

Kelly Trevino is the regional director for Better Business Bureau serving Central, Coastal and Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin. For more important business advice, visit our website at www.bbb.org/central-texas under the “For Businesses” section, or visit our independent blog at www.watchyourbuck.com.

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