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Where To Start With Your Online Presence

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TL;DR: My start up check list is: Website, Facebook, Instagram, Google My Business, Free Business Directories & Bing. If you're on a budget ride the free train! There's a tonne of software and apps available to help you achieve what you need.

You’ve finally taken the plunge to set up your own business, go you! You’ve got the name, the logo has been designed and you’re raring to go…

When you’re just starting up as a business there are always challenges that step in your way. Time and money are the biggest factors. Since starting the “Dan McGovern brand” I’ve started fresh with everything. So I thought now would be a good time to write up what I’ve done and why. Hopefully, this will help new businesses or even old businesses that haven’t started on their online journey yet!

Dan McGovern Website Design
Of course a website was going to be the first thing on my list!

Website

It would be pretty crazy if a website designer did not have a website right? So my first port of call was building the website you’re viewing right now. A website doesn’t only make you look more professional and reassures your potential clients, it serves as a full marketing tool. You can integrate a blog to inform your clients/potential clients of any information, track your audience to retarget them with adverts, sell products online across the world and showcase your services

Sure, as a website designer it’s easy for me to say get a website. If your budget is tight you could look at free website builders such as Squarespace, Wix or Weebly. Be careful, they’re not always free and can sometimes start to rack up a hefty monthly bill.

Top Tips For Your Website

  1. Decide on the goals of your website. Will you be selling online? Will you be advertising your services? Maybe you’re going to use your site for all of the above. Make sure you set a solid plan and stick to it.
  2. Treat your website as a WIP (Work In Progress). I launched this site with 1 page, 1 blog post, and 3 portfolio items. It’s not a complete site and probably never will be. But I’ll keep working on it! As long as your website serves its purpose you can figure out all the tweaks later on.
  3. Content is king. Whether you’re building the website yourself or you’re paying someone to do it. Content is crucial! Aim to produce at least 300 words per page for your services and make sure you have plenty of high quality photos! A blog is often ignored by businesses but it’s a great way to draw an audience in.
  4. Make sure your website is responsive. DO NOT MAKE ME ZOOM IN ON MY GODDAMN PHONE! It’s 2019, if your website doesn’t look good across all devices you need shooting.
  5. CTA (Call To Actions) work. Clear call to actions are crucial on a website. Make sure your users know what you want them to do.
Facebook Advertising
Facebook is still the dominant social media platform

Facebook

Facebook is the dominant social media platform when it comes to audience share. In the UK alone 78% of internet users are on Facebook. That’s 40 million users that you have the ability to market to.

Setting up a business account is pretty easy and the platform walks you through this step by step. You can do this from your phone, tablet, laptop or desktop and it’s absolutely free.

Depending on the nature of your business and the categories you select when creating a page, you’ll receive options tailored around your business. If you’re selling a service you’ll have the option to list these and add a price to them. If you sell products you can also list items and link them to your website. You can advertise job lists and upcoming events and customers can leave reviews of your business.

Facebook also offers a tonne of crazy marketing tools that the majority of SME’s aren’t aware of. You’ve got analytics/insights, appointment calendars, creator studio, ad centre and a tonne more! It’s worth diving into if you’re wanting to tackle Facebook on your own.

Top Tips For Facebook

  1. Solid branding is crucial. Logo on your profile picture and your cover photo! It makes you look more professional.
  2. Creativity matters. There is absolutely no excuse to share screenshots of photos or to use paint to create a poster anymore. There’s a tonne of free apps out there that let you create content with ease. Canva, Boomerang, Instagram, Snapchat, you get the picture…
  3. Engagement is key. Fuck trying to get all these vanity likes. Try to get your audience to engage with your content. Ask them questions, when they comment back reply! You’re a human, not a robot, let that show in your business.
  4. Video content works best. The average engagement rate across all post types on Facebook currently sits at a stinking 3.75%. Video content stands at 6.03%. Don’t be shy, get in front of the camera.
  5. Try the latest features. When Facebook releases a new feature they want to see how users act towards it. So if a new feature becomes available USE IT!
  6. Use the insight tool. Most popular question I get asked? “What’s the best time to post on Facebook?” I promise you now that no guru has the right answer for this! It’s all about your audience. Facebook offers an insight tool that will show you when your audience engage with your posts and what type of posts they engage with. Use this data!
  7. STOP INVITING YOUR FRIENDS TO LIKE YOUR FACEBOOK PAGE! You’re not beating the algorithm you’re making it harder for yourself.
Instagram For Small Businesses
Instagram has gained some serious traction for businesses over the past couple of years!

Instagram

At the start of 2019, there were an estimated 24 million users on Instagram in the UK. Instagram (now owned by Facebook) is heavily based on imagery, so don’t be camera shy when producing content!

Like Facebook, it’s fairly easy to set up and they walk you through it. Instagram is a phone app, there is a desktop version available for browsing your feed and commenting but other than that it’s predominantly used by phone users. It costs nothing to set up an account and you can link your Instagram and Facebook accounts together so you can share content between the two platforms. However, I always recommend you post your content for the platform you’re on.

Top Tips For Instagram

  1. Imagery matters. Instagram is an image based app, so like Facebook make sure you’re posting high quality images.
  2. Hashtag. It’s there for a reason, use it. Instagram users can follow hashtags, if a user is showing interest in a hashtag that relates to your business that means they’re interested in your business. IG will also show you how many posts feature on a hashtag. The more popular the more time you’re going to have to put in.
  3. Do not follow and then unfollow someone. Massive pet hate of mine, it makes you look desperate for likes.
  4. Jump in on the conversation. Don’t be afraid to jump into a conversation on someone else’s post. If you have genuine insight or knowledge on a matter someone is posting about then comment away. Word of warning though, don’t try to promote your business (blatantly) on someones post. That’s a dick move.
  5. Use Stories. Yes okay, for those of you who have been following social media for a while you’ll know IG stole this feature from Snapchat. However, they’ve massively improved on it and it’s a great way to show behind the scenes of a brand.
Dan McGovern Business Listing on Google My Business
Put your business on the map!

Google My Business

Google My Business puts you on the map… Literally! It’s free to sign up and really simple to do.

GMB allows users to find you in a Google search. You can also add your opening hours, areas you cover, upload photos, posts, and customers can leave reviews.

Top Tips For Google My Business

  1. Don’t copy and paste. This applies to pretty much everything when you’re creating an account online. Create unique content for each platform specifically the about me sections.
  2. Keep it up to date. You can add your Christmas hours or any special hours on GMB. Make sure everything is kept up to date.
  3. Post Content. I’ll post at least once a month to my GMB. Even if it’s just a recent project. Keep it up to date and it will help you get in front of your lazy competitors!

Free Business Directories

This is a bit of a pain in the arse. It’s likely when you subscribe to numerous business directories you’ll get bombarded by spam callers. Also, the directories themselves will try to get you to sign up for their premium model. Don’t bother with these unless you think your audience genuinely search these directories. Here are my top 8 go-to sites:

  1. Yell (Watch out for Yell they will try to sell you shit websites and horrible digital marketing campaigns. )
  2. FreeIndex
  3. Business Magnet
  4. Scoot
  5. Cylex
  6. Lacartes
  7. Yelp
  8. UK Small Business Directory

Top Tips For Business Directories

  1. Don’t pay. It’s rarely beneficial. You will be bombarded by the directories at first but they’ll ease off as you tell them you’re not interested.
  2. Unique Content. Do not copy and paste a generic profile.

Bing Places

I’m not a massive fan of Bing. They only hold 7% of the search engine share. But that’s still 7%. If you’ve already created a GMB you can now import all of that data onto Bing Places with ease!

Top Tips For BING

  1. Import from Google. It’s easy and it covers you for the Bing search engine.
  2. Check-in every now and then. Like Google you can update your special working hours. Again, if you’ve made these changes to your GMB you can just click a button and update from there.

Other platforms to consider

This list is nowhere near perfect, but it’s a good starting point. Depending on your business and who your target audience is there are a million different platforms that are available and you may be better suited on. I’ve listed a few other platforms I’d consider below.

  1. Twitter
  2. Pinterest
  3. Linkedin (I hate Linkedin)
  4. TikTok
  5. Snap
  6. TrustPilot
  7. BrandYourself

So there you have it! My little online presence guide. This is pretty much the same set up I had when I started Pixel Boy and it worked great. If you have any more websites you can think of please feel free to drop a comment below!

Dan McGovern

Dan McGovern

Hello! I'm a freelance website design and digital marketer from the UK seaside town of Hartlepool!

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