Most people think they know the Internet. Entrepreneurs often think creating a website using a template through a web host, Facebook page and Twitter account will do the trick. Not so. You need to incorporate your business just like a brick-and-mortar business. You need to understand Google and search engine optimization (SEO) techniques so that potential customers can find you online, and you can build your brand.
Today, jockeying for position in search results is big business. If customers can’t find you, your revenues will suffer. A small business’s internet presence is an important tool to drive both customers and revenue.
Complete these five steps to establish a small business and an internet presence:
It’s important to incorporate your business. There are many benefits:
- Tax flexibility and incorporation tax benefits.
- Deductible expenses. Both corporations and LLCs can deduct normal business expenses, including salaries, before they give income to owners.
- Personal asset protection.
- Additional credibility. “Inc.” or “LLC” added after your business name adds instant authority.
- Name protection. In most states, other businesses can not file your exact corporate or LLC name in that state. It protects your reputation and helps your business in terms of name-recognition, marketing, and branding efforts.
- Perpetual existence. Corporations and LLCs continue to exist even if ownership or management changes. Sole proprietorships and partnerships end if an owner dies or leaves the business.
2. Build a Website. Once you have your business license and you are incorporated, it’s time to build a website. Unless you have website designing experience, it’s best to hire an Internet consultant with knowledge about SEO and search engine page ranking. When your website goes live, you want everything in place to fully service your online customers without obstacles.
3. Register on Yelp and Google. Register your business name, phone number, address and website on Yelp and Google. Potential customers will be able to find you on their mapping software and on business rating networks. Registering is free and provides a long-lasting benefit.
4. Create Social Media Accounts (Facebook, Twitter). Create an account for your business on as many social media networks as you can manage. It’s a good idea to reserve your name while it’s available. On the Internet, every link counts toward your business and social media accounts help build links. You should consider these social media networks:
- Facebook page (for company updates)
- Twitter (for customer outreach)
- Google+ (for company updates)
- Instagram (for promotional photos)
- LinkedIn (for client and employee acquisition)
5. Engage Customers. It’s important to engage with customers through social networking accounts set up. Coupons, contests, pictures, events, new products, and community outreach—it all engages your customers and people can easily share information with friends in their social network.
6. Network on Industry Sites
If you use the social media accounts—even just minutes a day—you’ll build a buzz with industry insiders. Leave comments on blogs. Review products on retail sites. It helps build your presence and expertise.
Formal business incorporation is just the first step in your journey. Taking this important helps separate your personal assets from your company’s while providing some tax benefits. Continue browsing our business incorporation blog and knowledge center for more.