When potential customers search for your business online what are the results? The best case scenario would be a link to your website at the top of the first results page with links to positive reviews and content you control on the rest of the page. Worst case scenario is your competitor’s website or negative reviews at the top of the first results page with a link to your website nowhere to be found.

No matter where you are in the above scenario there are steps you can take to ensure that the results for a search of your of your business’ name are positive and bring customers to you instead of scaring them away.

1) Create a Static Website or Blog for your Business. This is not as intimidating as it sounds. Today you can set up a simple website or blog that will provide your business with an online presence for less than $20.oo a month. Keep in mind that this type of website won’t be winning any awards in design but will provide search engines with content on your business that you control. Blogging platforms such as WordPress are edging out static websites in popularity because of its ease of of use, functionality, and the ability to update text and design with little or no coding skills.

2) Get involved in Social Media. The great thing about social media is that it is free! The three top social media sites I recommend are Twitter, facebook, and LinkedIn. Facebook and Twitter are great internet marketing tool that allow you to engage your target market. You can use these platforms to update customers on your products and services, changes in hours, industry news and any other sources of information that might appeal to them.

3) Set up Local Listing Accounts. This also a great way to put your business on the web for free. Yahoo, Bing, and Google all have local listings/maps that allow you to post a summary, images, video, contact info and hours of your business.

4) Be Pro-Active. Search the internet for blogs, websites, forums, online news outlets and any other type of website that is related to your business or industry. On many of these sites you can make a profile for your business and leave comments and respond to questions.  If you see any negative reviews or postings about your business make sure you reach out immediately to resolve these issues.

Creating an online presence for your business that attracts customers instead of repels them only takes a few hours to setup and a few hours a week to manage. As more and more people log-on to the internet to find a business or to learn more about a business they plan on working with, you can bet your online reputation is going to play an ever more important role.