When building a new local business website, make sure to have at least the basic elements in place before launching. Here is a checklist to remind you:
SEO Your Website
First and foremost, hire a web designer that knows what they’re doing. Preferably someone who understands the fundamentals of on-site SEO. How you structure your site from the beginning will play a major role in how well your site ranks in the search engines. Site structure includes elements such as URL format, site navigation, meta tags, image alt tags, title headings, keyword density, etc..
At a minimum, include all your core pages. Your core pages would be your “about us”, “contact us”, and “services” pages. Depending on your line of work, you may need additional pages that you would consider a part of your core.
- Your “about us” page should include some brief history or background of your company. Also, feel free to include photos of yourself, your employees, or your office building to make it more personal and add credibility.
- Your “contact us” page should include your full contact info, such as address, phone number and email. If you are working out of your home or you don’t want foot traffic, it’s OK to leave the address out for privacy reasons. Also include a contact form.
- Your “services” page should include a list of all the services you provide. Optionally, for each of the services listed, make each one into a clickable link. Then, create individual pages for each service, and link to them from your services page. This is a good way to build internal links and also build additional content.
Today, social media plays a big factor in SEO, as well as word-of-mouth exposure. By adding social media to your site, you can give people easy access to “like” or “follow” your business. Typically, these social media icons are placed in the top right of the header or the bottom right of the footer. You can also place them in your “contact us” page, or even every page of your website. Just make sure the icons are not too big or intrusive, and doesn’t distract your visitors from the content.
List Your Service Areas
If you are offering a service limited to specific region, it is a good idea to provide a list of areas or cities you serve. You could add this to your website footer section or even your services page. This is good for local SEO because these location-based keywords will benefit you when searchers are looking for services in specific cities or states.
Associations or Sponsorships
One of the best ways to build trust is to show your customers that you are a member of a recognized association. Also, if you give back to the community through some type of charity or sponsorship, may help you build credibility. Placing these membership logos on your site is a confidence booster for your business.
Start a Mailing List
Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to promote your products and services. Add a mailing subscription form on your site and start building your list. As you grow your list, you can make announcements and promote your services. The key here is to make sure the customer has opted-in to the mailing list. Do not randomly add people’s emails to your list without their consent. That is SPAM. An opt-in list is the best way to do it because you will have people who are already interested in what you have to say.
So, that’s the foundation to a solid-looking website. Sure there are other things that you can do to improve it, but again, these are just the basics. Going forward, you can always add new features like tools, apps, stats/reports, articles, etc. to attract more visitors.
Tip: Once you have built your local business website, make sure to promote your business with as many local business directories out there as possible.