Want to build a business website to promote your local business? Here are 7 best practices to get your online presence off to a stellar start.
A website is a marketing asset that your business deserves to have, no matter how small or large it is. Today there are many more options available to design a business site for your local business than there were even a few years ago.
Some may say that with the growth of online business directories, like Yelp or JustDial free listings, you may not even require a local website. However, these are just listings and are no substitute for a small business website.
- 3 Options To Build Your Local Business Website
- 7 Local Business Website Best Practices
3 Options To Build Your Local Business Website
Here are three options to build a local business website and promote your local business:
1. Get a Google My Business free website
The new Google business website, (Google My Business sites) allows local businesses to create a Google My Business free website with zero expense and no technical knowledge.
You can create a mobile-optimized website to represent your business via your Business Profile on Google. Google will automatically use the information and photos from your Business Profile to create a site that you can customize with themes, photos, and text.
But you can’t do a lot with your GMB website because it has limited functionality. I would recommend using it to publish a blog or updates for your business, but it’s no substitute for a professional SMB website.
2. Use DIY website builders for small business
While not all local businesses require a large professional website that requires a professional web design agency to update and maintain, you can DIY (do it yourself) and build a one-page website using the best free website builders for small businesses.
Try creating a website for your business for free with the Namecheap SiteMaker – the easiest way to build a website and get online in minutes with no design or coding skills.
With the Namecheap SiteMaker, you can avoid all the hassles of having to purchase a domain and hosting separately and learn how to set up your business website yourself with no technical knowledge.
Whether you want to showcase your work with a professional portfolio website or build an engaging blog, the Namecheap SiteMaker will help you design a mobile-friendly website that looks professional and works seamlessly on all devices.
3. Hire a WordPress web development company
However, if you want to launch a fully-functional website or eCommerce website with all the bells and whistles, then getting a free website for a business is not the best option.
In this case, you should go in for a WordPress website and get it designed by a highly-rated freelancer or WordPress Web Development Company on Fiverr. It’s not as expensive as you think and you can easily find a service provider within your budget.
It’s always better to work with a professional web development company on a gig website like Fiverr because they don’t get paid until they deliver a website that meets your expectations.
That way you can ensure you get the quality you require from a WordPress website design agency without any of the worry and stress of hiring a local agency, even if all you want is a simple one-page website designed on WordPress.
7 Local Business Website Best Practices
However, for most businesses, these rules are the very basic ones that you need to follow if you want to keep your edge in the ever-changing world of the internet. Here are seven best practices you can follow to get your online presence off to a great start.
1. Use WordPress as a CMS
Alright, I’m a WordPress junkie and I love to sing its praises every chance I get, but that’s because it’s only one of the most versatile content management systems I have ever used.
If I wanted to create a search-optimized website with little effort, I would, without a doubt, set it up on WordPress. And why not?
After all, it’s easy to set up and optimize, and comes with a massive range of plugins (for add-on functionality) and themes (for design), ranging from free to enterprise.
You could even use a WordPress base to set up your own social network – that’s how versatile it is! I would recommend that you choose a quality WordPress hosting provider in order to make your website professional.
2. Use a Responsive Theme
With Google prioritizing mobile-friendly pages in the search results, you need to install a responsive WordPress theme for your business website.
That means the design adapts to different browser sizes, so your content will be resized and rearranged to fit the screen of the device it is being viewed on.
You can easily find a responsive mobile theme in WordPress’s database or hire a custom WordPress development company on Fiverr to create one for you.
3. Ensure NAP consistency
NAP is an acronym for Name, Address, and Phone number. NAP consistency is an important part of Google’s local and Local Pack algorithms, and building citations with a consistent NAP to your Google My Business listing and listed online addresses can influence your local rankings.
Don’t forget to feature social media buttons linked to each of your social media channels optimized with your business name, tag, and keywords designed to tell Google, and your visitors, exactly who they belong to and what you offer.
4. Publish a Blog
A regularly-updated blog (I recommend posting at least once a week) with content created in multiple formats (text, images, infographics, Slideshare, PDF, video) is a must for any startup that wants an edge over its’ competitors.
If you’re stumped for the best blog topics to write about on your blog, I suggest that you start by interviewing your customers.
Ask them about their “pain points”, the problems that they face in their business, and how they think you can help solve them. Then write about it on your blog.
If you don’t have any customers yet, you could go to a website like Quora.com or AnswerThePublic.com and see what sort of questions people are asking about businesses like yours.
Use Google and other SEO content writing tools to research the exact keywords that people are typing in when they ask those questions and insert those keywords naturally into your content.
Learn how to do SEO for beginners and increase your rankings with the latest bloggers’ SEO tips. And don’t forget to insert social sharing buttons on your blog, so that your readers can share your content with their network.
5. Build a Mailing List
There’s an old saying on the internet – “The Gold is in your mailing list”. There’s a very good reason for that and it’s the reason that email databases are so expensive. It’s because the best, most reliable place to reach your customer is in their inbox.
To start building a mailing list, sign up with an email marketing provider and insert their subscription form into your blog sidebar.
Invite readers to subscribe to your blog and bribe them with a freebie – a discount coupon or a PDF with useful tips on your products and services to get them to give you their email address and signup for your list.
Even if they miss out on your social media updates or forget to read your blog, your updates in their inbox will remind them of what you have to offer.
6. Ask for Reviews & Recommendations
It’s not just Google rankings that are important to potential clients and customers. They’re also reading the reviews and recommendations that your former and current customers are posting about your business.
If you have a local business, you should definitely be proactive and invite customers to post reviews on your Facebook and Google My Business profile. You can also invite reviews on websites like Yelp or Zomato.
Hold contests and giveaways. Give away discount coupons. Do whatever it takes to keep those reviews and ratings coming. And thank those who took the time to post a review, even if it was negative. Just don’t post fake reviews or you’ll get outed sooner or later.
7. Provide Exceptional Social Customer Service
Today, there’s no excuse for having deplorable customer service or not responding to customer queries or complaints on social media. Even multinational companies have a unique social media channel for customer service on Twitter, where customers expect responses within a few hours or less.
Whether you’re a B2B or a B2C business, you should have a presence on all the social media sites that your audience is present on. At the very least, create a business page on every site you can think of so that no one else can misuse your business name.
I recommend starting with a presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. You can add Instagram and TikTok if your business requires them.
Now build active communities on each of the social networks that will get you the best ROI. This is the very minimum that you must do for your online presence and brand if you want to build a relationship with potential customers.
Not only should your social media channels be optimized, but they should also be updated regularly with relevant and interesting content that engages your local social media community.
If you find that you’re getting no engagement on your Facebook posts, use Facebook’s local advertising options to boost engagement on them, and you’ll gradually see a rise in your organic engagement as well.
Create a Facebook Group where you can engage with your customers and support them – Group posts have higher visibility in the Facebook feed than Facebook Page posts.
Whether via LiveChat on your website, your Facebook comments, or your Twitter responses, you need to have a way for customers to reach you and receive a prompt and courteous response in a reasonable time.
I hope these tips to create and promote your local business website were useful and will help you create and grow an online presence for your local business.
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© Priya Florence Shah
© 2022, Priya Florence Shah. All rights reserved.