How to get your business online- For Free!In 2020, many businesses are still not sure about building an online presence. It may be the fear of unknown, uncertainty, or perceived high cost. Primarily, we provide web development and digital marketing services, but, in this article, we will help you get your business presence online at zero cost. There are many ways offline businesses can register their online presence and get in front of unlimited potential customers every day. These potential customers are primarily looking for products or services you provide on a mobile device, tablet, or desktop. Once they get to know about your business presence, they will contact you to get more information and complete the transaction.Here are some figures to understand the significance of having your business online-
- A massive 80% of the local searches convert!
- A whopping 46% of searches on Google are for local businesses!
- “Near me” searches have surged more than 500% in the last few years.
- 76% of people who search on a smartphone visit the business within a day!
One important thing to note is that this particular article is aimed at businesses that are looking to get online instead of those who are already online and searching for ways to further promote their business. So if you are someone who is looking to promote their business, you can either read our other blog articles or get in touch with us for customized solutions.
1. Create Google My Business listingHave you ever searched for a business name and got all the information about that particular business in the right side box on the Google search results page? That is precisely what Google My Business is. It shows all the information about your business, e.g.,
- Business name
- Website link
- Option to Save
- Total number of reviews and the average rating
- Business address
- Working hours
- Phone number
- Photos & videos
- About the business
1.1 Creating a new listingIt is easy to create an account on Google My Business. Just follow the below steps:
- Log into the Google or the Gmail Account or create a new account if you don’t already have one by clicking the following link- https://accounts.google.com/ServiceLogin
- Go to https://google.com/business and click on “Sign In” at the top right corner.
- Click on “Add your business to Google” link
- Enter your business name
1.2 Claim an existing listingChances are, your business is already listed on Google as an unclaimed listing. This is fairly easy too, login to your Google account, go to https://google.com/business and click on Sign In.Once signed in, you will see an option to search for your business name or add it.Start typing your business name and select it from the dropdown list. The next screen will show the information it has about your business if you are sure it is yours, click on “Manage Now”.You will now need to confirm the ownership. You will get an option to verify by postcard. Again, the postcard will arrive within 8-10 days by mail and will have a code to activate the listing.When you receive the postcard, log in to the Google account and visit https://google.com/business. It will show your listing with an option to Verify. Click on verify and enter the code from the postcard.
2.Optimize Google My Business listingIt’s easy to create a listing and forget about it. However, optimizing your Google My Business is crucial to reaping the benefits of having your business online. Do you remember we mentioned that 76% of people who search on a smartphone visit the business within a day? Imagine getting in front of hundreds of such customers daily because of your optimized listing.Are you still confused about what exactly optimization is and how it will help your business? Think about the ways we use Google while searching for a particular product or service. If you need a plumber, you usually search for “plumber near me” or “plumber in Phoenix”. Whenever you search for something like this, Google shows a list of businesses in your locality. Now there might be many businesses offering the same service or product in that particular locality.To select which business shows up at which position, Google considers many factors as described below.
2.1 CategoryIn the Google Business Dashboard, click on “Info” on the left menu. Ensure that the name of your business is correct. Just below, there will be a category option. This will help Google know what kind of business you do. You have already selected the main category while creating a listing. You can also add additional category services.For e.g., as you can see in the above image, we have added all the relevant categories that we provide in addition to the one primary category. Adding all the relevant categories helps your listing to rank on all of their relevant search terms commonly known as keywords.
2.2 About sectionIn this section, you should advertise your business as much as you can. It has a character limit of 750 and we recommend that you should make the maximum use of it with all the keywords and products/services that you provide.
2.3 PhotosPhotos are very crucial in ranking your business at the top for relevant keywords. Google asks for the following kinds of photos- Identity, Interior, Exterior, At Work, and Team. You should upload your business logos, the interiors of your office, exteriors, photos of your team while they are working, etc. If you are not willing to upload the photos for some reason, you should at least upload your logos to have something instead of nothing.
2.4 VideoGoogle has added an option to upload videos of up to 30 seconds for business owners too which was earlier only for customers. Make the best use of this, create a video tour of your office, feature how a product is made, ask employees how they feel working at the company or providing services to clients, etc.These are quite basic optimization techniques for your Google My Business listing. As you can see on the dashboard, you should aim to add as much information as possible.
2.5 ReviewsReviews are the most important parameters in ranking your business higher for relevant search terms. Reach out to your old customers and ask them to give a review of their experience with your business. You will receive an email whenever your business gets reviewed. Make sure that you reply to each review, whether positive or negative. If the review is positive, you can thank them and ask them to visit again. If it is negative, try to respond with what went wrong and what steps you are taking so that the customer doesn’t get a bad experience again.
3. Facebook Business PageWe have seen so many personal accounts being used for promoting or posting about a business that we don’t even get surprised! There are many reasons why you should create a business page instead of using a personal account with the name of your business like
- The reach of your posts is limited to the number of people you have added to the account. Which means, there are two steps involved in connecting with your existing or new customers, first, you need to discover them and send them a friend request, second, they need to accept your request. And yes there are limits to the number of people you can requests to in a day.
- You cannot run campaigns on a personal account.
- A personal account is not really the best way to create your presence, in fact, it can be detrimental as people are used to “Like” the business instead of adding as “friend”.
- You cannot have the call to action buttons on your posts. For e.g., if you post a picture of your product and add a buy now button to it, you can’t do it on a personal account but it is possible on a business page.
4. Instagram Business AccountAgain, it is pretty easy to create a business account on Instagram.4.1 Download the app on your phone4.2 Tap on “Create Account”. If you already have an account, just log in, and head to the profile page. All the accounts created are personal accounts by default. We need to convert them to a business account.4.3 First, let us head towards converting your account to a business one. On the profile page, tap on the hamburger menu at the top right with three lines. Head to Settings>Account>Switch to Professional Account>Business.4.4 Once done, you can now fill up all your business details. There is less business information on Instagram as compared to Google My Business or Facebook but it is recommended. You can upload a logo, add contact details, add a call to action button, an address, website link.4.5 Now you can start publishing posts on Instagram as a business account.
5. WebsiteThis article focusses on getting your business online for free so we will look at the completely free option from Google itself. It may not be the best, won’t offer many customization tools, does not come with a lot of functionalities but you at least have something to show rather than not having a website at all.Limitations on a free Google website-
- The domain of your completely free website will not be “yourbusinessname.com”, rather it will be “yourbusinessname.business.site” which is a subdomain. You can’t change this until you buy the domain from Google, which is expensive than other providers.
- You cannot add as much content, products, or services as you need. It’s a single-page website with a limited number of sections.
- The “Themes” on offer are pretty much limited with just some color changes.
- You cannot add or edit any functionalities provided by default.