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Mistakes Small Business Owners Make Online

The modern world lives online. The average American spends 24 hours — one entire day — online every week! Those Americans come from all walks of life, and they include the customers that your business counts on.

Your business deserves to succeed, and you’re careful to make sure that all of the encounters that customers, clients, and other members of the public have with your business are positive ones. You need to remember, though, that the internet has changed things: no longer are customers interacting with your business only when they’re at your store/office or on the phone with your employees.

These days, customers and others can interact with your business 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year simply by logging on the internet. And if you’re not careful, what those people find (or don’t find) online can hurt your business. Here are a few common mistakes that business owners make online.

Failing to invest in SEO

When you get on your computer or smartphone to search the web, do you type the full URL of each and every website that you want to visit into the address bar of your web browser?

You almost certainly do not. And neither do most other people! For modern internet users, the address bar is a secondary tool to the search bar. When we enter the internet, we often use search engines like Google as front doors.

And that’s a big deal for businesses, particularly after the rise of local search and given the ever-increasing number of customers performing local searches on mobile devices. If your business fares well in the Google search results, you’re going to see a real difference in your business’ bottom line.

That’s why your business needs to invest in web marketing services and link building services. Without effective SEO (search engine optimization), your business could be lost in the shuffle.

Failing to monitor and respond to reviews and requests

Being on social media is a powerful thing for a business. It helps raise your profile and connect you with customers, and it forms a crucial means of communication between you and the people your business serves.

Or, at least, it’s supposed to. But if you’re not actually monitoring your business’ online presence and responding to customer queries and complaints, don’t be surprised if they head to other websites to make their voices heard. We’re talking here about websites like Yelp.

And, by the way, it pays to monitor those websites too. You can reply and, in some cases, rectify customer complaints and bad reviews. If you can’t head these things off before they’re written, you can at least try to solve the problem later (and clarify the situation for anyone else who might be reading reviews).

Getting into fights online

A professional needs to be careful about his or her reputation online. If you own your own business, you don’t need to worry so much about being fired or failing to get a big promotion. But you do need to worry about behaving yourself online.

If your personal posts are too controversial, rude, or inappropriate, your business could attract unwanted attention and even boycotts. And if you use your business’ online presence to get into big fights with other businesses, customers, or strangers, you’ll be in even worse shape.

Internet reputations are real reputations, and online interactions are real interactions. Make sure your business looks and behaves as well online as it does in real life.

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