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Web Presence Management: New Year’s Resolutions

The long-term health, competitiveness and profitability of your business depend on you making some changes – not just any changes, but the right changes.

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BSB Contributing Editor Mark Claypool has more than 30 years of experience in the fields of workforce development, apprenticeships, marketing and Web presence management with SkillsUSA, the I-CAR Education Foundation, Mentors at Work, VeriFacts Automotive and the NABC. He is the CEO of Optima Automotive (www.optimaautomotive.com), which provides website design, SEO services and social media management services.

update_web-mgmtOnce again, it’s time for my annual challenge to set some New Year’s resolutions and commit to tackling some important issues related to your overall online Web presence.

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To recap, resolutions are promises you make to yourself in hopes of making a positive difference in your life and in the lives of others. And, more often than not, these promises are broken before the second week of January! But you won’t let that happen this time around, right? The long-term health, competitiveness and profitability of your business depend on you making some changes – not just any changes, but the right changes. Let’s begin.

Recapping Past Challenges/Resolutions

As always, let’s start with a look back at resolutions that are still valid today that I challenged you to make in the past. If you haven’t tackled these resolutions yet, what are you waiting for? This is where you need to start.

  • Freshen up your website (this holds true annually). Update your website content. Is the copyright current? Sites more than five years old should be redesigned/updated.
  • How is your site ranking? If it was ranking well in the past, is it still? If your site isn’t showing up on page one of a search when people use the most commonly used search terms, which are “auto body” and “body shop” plus “YOUR TOWN AND STATE’S TWO-LETTER ABBREVIATION,” you need to seriously think about having a true search engine optimization (SEO) specialist work on your site to boost your rankings. Page one or bust! If you’re in a competitive market and aren’t on page one, you should think seriously about pay-per-click advertising.
  • Build a mobile version of your website. Either have a mobile-friendly version of your site or have the site built in responsive design, which will adjust the resolution of your site to fit any size screen. Google has essentially made this a requirement with their April announcement that sites which are not mobile-friendly will see their rankings drop.
  • Measure your online results. Anything worth doing in business is worth measuring. A free tool for this is Google Analytics. You should be reviewing your reports monthly. Pay attention to Facebook’s Insights to see what kinds of posts are getting audience engagement and try more posts like this.
  • Effective social media. Facebook, Twitter and Google+ should be up and running effectively. Are you posting regularly (i.e. four times a week on Facebook, twice a day on Twitter, once a month on Google+) and getting active engagement by your followers? Are you adding new followers regularly?
  • Get your business NAP (name, address and phone number) accurate and consistent on directories. Visit this link to see how directories see your business: https://www.yext.com/partner/optimaworldwide/diagnostic.html. Having these directory listings accurate and consistent helps boost your overall potential to have your site rank and gives you maximum visibility potential.
  • Incorporate more images/video into your website and social media. The importance of incorporating video into your website and social media efforts cannot be overstated. Images and videos are astonishingly powerful for online marketing. Incorporate them into your social media efforts to get more likes, plus 1’s, comments and shares. Include these on your website, too. Google has been giving more weight to properly set up video lately. And, consumers love eye candy, so give them some!

New Resolutions For 2016  

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  • Incorporate customer reviews into your online presence. When your partners recommend your shop, 80 percent will search for reviews about you on Google. You can actively promote getting reviews on Google, Yelp, etc. I recommend the folks at AutoBody-Review.com, whose reviews come directly from verified customers who have had their cars repaired at your shop using existing surveys from UpdatePlus. AutoBody-Review.com markets your verified reviews on your shop’s website and fully integrates these into your social media sites. They offer a guaranteed positive result each month or you don’t pay the next month’s subscription. Check them out.
  • Pay attention to what you are paying attention to. I saw it again at NACE and SEMA this year – people gravitating toward things that are cool, new and all about getting cars through the door. Maybe you should pay attention to getting more cars to the door with a better, more effective website and social media strategy.
  • Read this column every month. If you want to stay on the cutting edge, this column will do that for you. That’s my pledge to you!

Be a Promise Keeper!

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Be a person of your word. If you’re going to take me up on my challenge and select some of these resolutions as your own, then follow through.

Set a goal, put a timeline on it and get someone to hold you accountable. Seek staff help and qualified experts in the areas where you’re weak, such as search visibility and social media.

I wish you, your families and employees the very best during this holiday season. I hope 2016 is filled with happiness and prosperity. I’m pulling for you to honor your resolutions, which will truly help move your business to the next level online!

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