Business owners are often sitting ducks when it comes to the amount of no information, misinformation and sometimes outright lies they are told about getting their business found online.
They pay people to help them with their websites and are given as evidence of their 'success' that they can find their website when they look for it by name! This is deceptive and very dismal practice.
Other lies that are told to business owners is that they have to pay to advertise their business online and while they are having the money prised from their hand, they are told nothing about the benefit of organic (which they don't have to pay for) search.
In other cases people are sold websites with no contact details, flash sites that appear to Google as basically a blank space, and yet others that look very fancy, but have no chance of being found online, with pictures that take an age to download, poor coding with no descriptions, no content that relates to the key topic and no chance of being useful. Sometimes even with typos.
So what is a business owner to do? How do they tell the shysters from the people who actually have the skills and the intention to provide a site at a reasonable cost that can be managed easily and kept up-to-date?
Like anything else, it is important to know what you need to know to purchase well. This is a good habit to form, since it means that you can hire good help for whatever you might be looking for, as well as understand what is important to YOUR customers when it comes to looking at your offers.
For your website, the key is getting the information you want people to know about you, on the site from the outset.
For local businesses, looking to service the local market, then keep these things in mind:
- Your phone number clearly visible in a prominent position. Don't make them have to look for it!
- Location - with map is a good idea if you have a store or premises where customers visit.
- What You Do - amazing how often I see websites where I have to hunt to find out what business they are in.
- Locations you service (if you go to customers)
- How to order online (or by phone) if people out of area want to buy from you
- Contact email. Forms are okay but many people like to know what your email address is so they know you are a real person not some scam artist.
- Contact links to your other social media platforms, Twitter, Facebook - if you use these! Don't put them on there if your only tweet is from 18 months ago. More on social media and local business here
- Link to your blog. And yes, you should have a blog and it should be posted to regularly
- Description of your business in the code for your site.
There are many free products that can get you found online - even when you don't have a website. Expect to pay for quality information from your advisors.
Before all this though, think about your strategy for your website and your presence online. Think about how it fits within your overall strategy for growing your business.
What purpose do you want it to serve?
How will you resource it?
How will you measure how well it is working?
How will you integrate what you are doing online with your offline marketing?
How will you monitor the statistics on your traffic and interpret them?
Planning is imperative for a good web experience. Even if your website is doing well, it can do better.
Like anything else in your business, you need to know the right questions to ask, and the way to oversee your results and review, review, review. Tweaking can be a simple thing that brings great results. Get your website analyzed and really know what situation you are in right now, so you can take steps to always be improving.
And make sure that you have a way for me to buy something from your website if I visit!
This by no means a comprehensive list but if you start with the basics right, your website will have a much better chance to provide you with good results.
Contact me if you'd like more information.
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