By Nick James , Fresh Business Thinking

The Internet has changed the way we do business — forever!

You don’t have to be a dot com business to succeed in the online world but you do have to have a basic understanding of ‘online’ and how you can harness the power of the world wide web.

Here are our top tips for online success.

1.Usability — make sure your website is user friendly and easy to navigate. Don’t add ‘bells and whistles’ for the sake of adding ‘bells and whistles’. Set yourself clear objectives and get some mates to test the site out for you — don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from customers or suppliers.

2.Mobile — over half of all UK internet users are accessing the internet via smart phones and tablets — you don’t necessarily need a mobile site — sometimes just a few tweaks to your existing site will do.

3.SEO — search engine optimisation just means making sure that your site gets found online. Some researchers say that over 90% of online adults use search engines — if you can’t be found online then you don’t exist online. SEO is an evolving science but if you have a well structured site with decent content and back links (see 4&5) then you’re on your way.

4.Content — ‘content’ is the reason people go to your website and the reason they stay. It’s the articles, news, videos, catalogues, product, and information — the ‘stuff’ that makes your site worth visiting. Good content is also what Google and the major search engines want to deliver following a search request. Good content will be; fresh, relevant and unique — duplicate content might be penalised.

5.Backlinks — other sites linking to your site — one of the ways that search engines measure the popularity of a site is the number and quality of incoming links. One of the main reasons other sites will link to your site is the quality of your content.

6.Social Media — Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, You Tube, blogs — it’s where your customers are communicating and chatting — however unless you’re a mega celebrity then no-one’s interested in what you had for breakfast. What people will do is share your content online if it is interesting and useful — it doesn’t need to be interesting to everybody — just the niche you want to reach.

7.Analytics — you’ve gone to all of this effort — now you need to measure it — see what is working and what isn't — understand who visits your site, where they go, how long they stay. Then you can clearly understand the return you are getting for your online investment.

8.Hit Me — get your business punching its weight online — come to our one-day event at Google Campus and learn from our experts. You can attend for just £95 if you book by October 16th - Use code 'EarlyBird' at the checkout