Develop your career and business online

Develop your career and business online: A practical approach

Superfast broadband lets you get creative with the ways you develop and grow your career and business, whether you’re a job hunter, budding entrepreneur, or existing business owner looking to take your first tentative steps into the online world. So where do you start? With so many potential avenues, choosing where to direct your energies can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are several practical ways you can expand and develop your business and career online with superfast broadband.

An online portfolio can attract attention

Portfolios aren’t just the territory of artists and photographers; they can be useful in any field, and are a great way to display your skills.

An efficient portfolio should exhibit only your best work – the cream of what you’ve done so far. Think of it as a highlight reel – a collection of all your ‘best bits’ that will give any potential employer an immediate overview of your work. Just be sure to tailor your portfolio to the position you are applying for; you might be exceptionally proud of your landscape paintings, but they won’t be appreciated if you’re going for a web design position. This might mean you have to create multiple online portfolios, each tailored to a different role.

With an online portfolio, presentation is key. A well-presented portfolio that is easy to navigate will make a more positive impression than one that is visually jarring or difficult to use. There are several websites dedicated to hosting online portfolios, and many of these contain tools for improving the quality of your portfolio’s design and layout. Examples include Carbonmade, Behance, and Portfoliobox.

A well-written blog demonstrates knowledge

A blog provides a platform to demonstrate your industry knowledge. Unlike a portfolio, which usually has a visual focus, the strength of a blog is purely in its content. Strong articles that are well written and thoroughly researched can demonstrate authority in a subject or industry. If you’re a little rusty when it comes to the written word, it might be worth writing a few practice pieces before posting them live online – remember that everything you post has your name and reputation attached.

Blogs are useful for individuals looking to bolster their CVs, but they’re also useful for businesses. With a regularly updated blog, you can advertise new products, promote campaigns and deals, and develop a more human face for your business with opinion pieces.

Six tips for developing your career through a blog

A blog is a great way to prove your knowledge of an industry or subject. Here are six quick tips for making the most of one.

  1. Keep a regular blogging schedule
  2. Write with your audience in mind, and give them what they want
  3. Make your blog titles eye-catching to draw attention
  4. Make your blog posts easy to share across social media
  5. Don’t let your posts get too long or short – 500 words is often enough
  6. Include images whenever possible to make your posts more eye-catching

Promote yourself and your business through social media

Social media is commonly used to stay in touch with friends and family, but it can also make a big difference workwise. Websites such as Facebook and Twitter are great for contacting and remaining in touch with professionals in your chosen field. Through social media, you can engage in conversations relating to your industry, keep up-to-date with developments, and establish relationships with individuals and businesses.

You can also use social media to promote your business and build your brand. The environment of social networking sites is generally more relaxed than other media. As a result, you can expect customers to directly engage you in conversation, especially over sites like Twitter. By holding one-to-one conversations with your customers you can strengthen your brand on a personal level, building trust in your company and its products. You can also use social media to advertise any campaigns or new products and also keep people informed of any issues and problems that may have arisen (if your website needs to go down for temporary maintenance, for instance).

A strong website is essential for an online business

For an online business, a website isn’t just a shop-front; it represents your entire company. It provides a point of contact, and a location for customers to buy your products and learn about your company’s values and history. Developing your website is an integral and essential part of growing your business and should be the focus of your energy if it isn’t quite up to scratch.

If you haven’t started a website yet, you can create one by using templates and website-hosting services, which requires some knowledge of web design. If this isn’t your strong suit, it may be worth hiring a freelance web designer. By creating and maintaining a strong website you can ensure that customers will come back to your site time and again.

Websites are also useful for individuals looking to further their career. As with a business, developing your own website creates a one-stop shop for employers to find information about your work, your previous employment history, and about you as an individual.

Promote your business through email engagement

Email marketing was one of the first digital marketing techniques to be used, and can be remarkably effective for your business if used correctly. At a basic level, emails can be sent to your subscribers to keep them informed about product updates, company news, and any special deals. If you want to make your mailing list work harder, it’s worth investing some time in ideas that will really grab the recipient’s attention.

Rather than sending dry, impersonal emails, you can make them more interesting by asking your customers their opinions on products. Create surveys. Start quizzes with prizes. Ask them for ideas. Anything that increases customer engagement will reflect well on your business, increasing its reputation and, in the long run, hopefully improve sales.

E-Learning courses can increase your knowledge

Some of the above suggestions for developing your career and business online may be beyond your current abilities. If this is the case, you can consider learning online.

There are online courses aimed at every level of expertise, from the beginner through to the advanced learner. Some of these courses are informal, taking the form of simple ‘how to’ guides which you can find with a quick Google search. Others are more formal, such as those run by the Open University and Coursera. The more advanced courses usually charge a fee, but there will often be a free course or set of resources to get you started in whatever subject you are looking to learn.

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