The Beginner’s Guide to Assessing Your Online Presence
As soon as you’ve decided that your online presence needs some work, you need a place to start assessing what you currently have and what you still need to do. There are many aspects to your online presence that need to be examined and you may need to make some difficult decisions and put in some work and money to make changes upfront. But it’s most important that you know what the situation is, how you come across to potential customers online, and what changes need to be made. Once you have an accurate picture of your situation you can start budgeting time and money to make changes. Here are the fundamental steps to assessing your online presence.
Your online home is your website, so that is where you must start. Follow these steps and take some notes on what works well and what needs to be changed.
Pull up your website on your desktop or laptop computer.
How long does it take to load? Is it quick? Are there any warnings from Google? Does everything work on the page or do some pictures fail to load?
Now pull up your website on your phone or tablet. How quickly does it load? Does it load in 3 seconds? Did you know that 53% of mobile users will abandon a site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load? With that in mind, you can see how important this aspect is. Additionally, Google has moved towards a mobile first way of indexing sites and so mobile speed is paramount. So take note if your site needs to be optimized for mobile speed.
Make sure you visit each page on your site and confirm that they are all working. If any link is broken, make a note of it as that will need to be fixed.
Check your social links. If you are linking to Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, etc via small icons on your website make sure that these links are up to date, functional, and go to the correct sites. Also, make sure that you are simply linking to these sites and not inviting your visitors to tweet your site, etc. These icons are a social cue and it’s important that they deliver what is expected.
It is not uncommon for a business to have ambitious plans of what they hope to include when they first build a website. But if your site has been up for awhile and you haven’t followed through, you might want to consider taking any empty pages down such as blogs or empty review pages. Remember your website is your business’s online home and the last thing you want to do is show unfulfilled promise.
Social Media Sites
After assessing your website, you can move on to looking at your social sites.
Are you on Facebook? You should be. So if you’re not on Facebook the first step will be to set up your Facebook page. It’s worthwhile to have a Facebook Business Page because even if you don’t, customers can still leave reviews for your business on unofficial pages and you’ll have no way to respond to them. Having said that, you should still run a search on Facebook and Google for the existence of any unofficial pages and request that they be merged with your existing page if you find any.
If you do have a Facebook page, have you responded to reviews as appropriate? Take some time and respond to the most recent reviews if necessary. How regularly do you update? You don’t need to post updates at frequent intervals, but you do want the page to seem active if anyone comes by to look at it. Keeping that in mind, you should probably post at least once a week. Are all of your images the appropriate size or do some of them appear blurry? If they don’t look right, you’ll need to get that fixed as well. Check also to ensure that all of your information is complete and accurate.
Do you have a Twitter account with an appropriately sized profile image and header uploaded? Is your feed updated automatically from other sites? How often are you posting updates? Do you respond to others when they tweet you? Are you liking appropriate tweets from your account? Take a few minutes to look over your Twitter feed and make any adjustments as necessary. Delete anything that seems out of place or that does not enhance the vision you have for your brand on the platform. Make sure your bio is completely filled out and that the information customers will need in order to contact you is available.
Do you have an Instagram account? Has it been upgraded to a business account? Is your icon appropriately sized? Have you filled out the bio with a correct link to your business? Do your pictures look sharp and attractive? Does your feed tell a story about your brand and reflect your values?
You’ll want to examine these same issues for any other social media sites your business is on. Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn and G+ all have their own size requirements for images and individual bios. While it’s not necessary to be active on each platform, you do want to point your users to where you ARE active. Claiming the social addresses for some of these sites can be a smart decision for reputation management.
After covering the major social sites, you need to move on to review sites. There is some overlap…Facebook is a major site for reviews after all. But there are new sites to consider such as Yelp and Google My Business. It’s crucial to both pay attention to what people are saying about you online, but also to make sure that the data on each site about your business is accurate and up to date. Visit any site that hosts reviews in your industry and see if your business is listed. If you can and you have not already done so, claim your business. Make sure the contact information is up to date and consistent with how your contact information appears across the web. Check the link to your business and make sure it’s working.
Respond to any reviews as appropriate. There is really no point in going back too far to reply to reviews, but anything in the last couple of weeks needs attention. In order to reply, you will need to have claimed your business and, in the case of Yelp, uploaded a profile pictures of yourself.
In addition to review sites and social media sites, there are numerous business listings across the internet that must be checked out as well. It’s important to establish a correct and consistent appearance to your address and contact information. If there are errors in your business listings, it can be costly for your SEO and search efforts and can cost you customers looking for you online. So make sure that your business listings are up to date and accurate. Make note of any you discover that are inaccurate. This can be an incredibly time consuming process so you may want to use a tool that can automate this process for you such as Think Creative’s SyncMe.
The process of examining your online presence can feel overwhelming. But once you make many significant changes, you’ll discover it’s worth it. We can help you with the maintenance of many aspects discussed above. Contact us today for more information!