Each year, I urge all of you to set New Year’s resolutions that will impact the online effectiveness of your business. On a weekly basis, I’m still seeing examples of things shops should be doing but aren’t, and things that should have been in place years ago but aren’t.
Here’s a checklist of things you should be doing that will maximize your effectiveness online. This is your New Year’s resolutions list for your online presence in 2019:
- Have a website in the first place. It’s almost 2019! You’re about 20 years behind if you don’t have a website. People who look for you online will question your validity. What are you waiting for?
- If you have a website, freshen it up. Updated, good quality content on a website enhances your potential to rank well. You should be updating at least annually. Focus on the keywords the public uses to search for the services you provide: auto body, body shop, autobody and collision repair. Be sure your town is mentioned at least one or two times on your home page content. ?
- Contact information is at the top of the page. It must be readable by search engines, not embedded in images. Search engines cannot read text in images.
- Incorporate video into your website, ideally on the home page. Google has publicly said that video will enhance your ranking potential. When Google speaks, we need to listen and take action.
- Secure your web server. Again, Google has spoken. You need that extra layer of security on your web server, an SSL certificate. This will change the way your domain looks, from “http:” to “https:”. The “s” on the end indicates that your website is secure, and if it isn’t, Google will penalize your ranking potential. It’s a simple fix. Any developer worth their salt can help set this up for you.
- Are you ranking? Pay the most attention to terms like “auto body” and “body shop.” Do the search “incognito” so search engines aren’t influenced by your past browsing history. Click here to see how to do an incognito search on your chosen browser. If you aren’t ranking on page one, it’s time to hire a true expert in search engine optimization (SEO). You’ve heard me say it before, though: no one can ethically promise you page one or position one. Be sure to contract with someone you can trust who will be honest with you. If you’re in a competitive market and are finding it hard to rank on page one, allocate some resources for pay-per-click advertising through Google AdWords. Information can be found here.
- Promote OEM certifications/recognitions. Going to all the work and expense to become OEM certified and recognized is great, but you need to highlight it on your website and social media. That’s a function of SEO as well.
- Check your online reputation. Check reviews on Google, Facebook and Yelp. Respond to all reviews, positive and negative.
- Analyze your NAP – Name, Address and Phone. Is it accurate and consistent on directory listings? Find out here. Accurate directory listings help boost your overall potential to have your website rank and give you maximum visibility.
- Maximize your brand impressions on social media. First of all, participate in social media. The ones to concentrate on are Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Post relationship-building things, not advertising or marketing stuff all the time. People who follow a body shop on social media don’t want to be hammered with advertising-type posts when they only need you, on average, once every seven years.
- Own all access. Don’t allow anyone else to own access to your domain name. Know how to get into your web server if need be. Own the copyright to the content and graphics on your website. Have full access to your social media accounts. Don’t set yourself up for trouble by not being able to access things you own should something ever happen.
Have Resolve to Win Online
Check off the things I just mentioned and you’ll be well on your way to owning your market online. And that means more cars to fix. Have goals and set timelines. Be accountable. Enlist the help of staff, or hire qualified experts to address search visibility and social media.
Thank you for your loyalty to my monthly columns! I wish you, your families and employees a great holiday season, and happiness, health and prosperity throughout 2019.