A large percentage of customers are looking for the products and services they need online. This is true regardless of whether they are looking for a local plumber or a product that they can buy from anywhere in the country (or the world). It can therefore be a large benefit for a small company to be at the top of Google and other search engines for local searches. You chances of getting a new client is a lot higher if you are the first one they find when they start searching for someone that can provide them with what they need. A good visible website can be he difference between success or failure for your business.
It is despite this very common that companies have no plan for how they are going to capitalize on this and make sure that their website is listed as near the top as possible in the search engines. This is often true even for company that otherwise spend a lot of money on advertising.
It is a big mistake to ignore the business local searches can bring to your company. Do not assume that customers is going to find your website. Have a plan for how you are going to make sure that they do. A plan for how you are going to promote your website in-house or for how you are going to outsource this part of your business. Earmark a part of your marketing budget towards this end.
Do not grow complacent if you have a website that already ranks at the top of the search engines. Do not assume that it will stay there. Your competitors will work to out-compete you and you need to keep working on your website to make sure that you stay ahead of them.
You need to make sure that you have a good website built on a suitable domain if you want to get a lot of business online. Your company name or a generic descriptive domain such as plumbernewcastle.co.uk is a good choice. Avoid using domains that are projecting the wrong picture, suggests that you are in another industry or that might offend people. Do not reuse an old one you got if it is not a good name for the new business. A new domain is cheap and well worth the investment. Do a quick search on Google to make sure that the domain hasn’t been used in a nefarious way in the past. It is very hard to clean the reputation of a tarnished domain and you do not want to associate your company with the sins of another.
Once you have chosen your domain it is time to start building a website. If you already got a website it is time to start improving it. It is important that you build a website that is easy to use and that providers your potential clients with the information they need. Make sure that the website is responsive and work equally well on mobile as it does on a regular computer.
Always respect KISS (KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID) when you build a website. It is very easy to get tempted to add a lot of functions that are cool but that do not really add much to the experience. If you do this you will create a bloated website that loads slowly and that is hard to use. Always ask yourself if a certain function is needed. If it will improve the experience for the user. If the answer is not a clear yes then you should not add the function. No one wants animated gifs or unnecessary image effects any more. Every one wants a website that is laser focused on the purpose of the website. In this case to sell the products or services that you sell.
It is easy to build a good website using WordPress and you do not need to hire anyone if you do not have to. If you got the time it is better if you do it yourself. This way you will know exactly how the page is built, how to manage it and how to optimize it. It easy to find a freelancer to help you if you want to hire someone. It is a lot cheaper to outsources outside the country and the result is often the same. There are good and bad web designers working everywhere.
You need more then a killer website
To have a killer website that looks stunning is not enough to rank near the top in the search engines. To do this you also need to make sure that the website is well optimized and loads quickly. You also need to make sure that the search engine can find you. You do this through a process called SEO.
Local SEO is the art of getting your website to rank at the top of the search engines for local searches. Local SEO is similar to regular SEO but there are certain important difference. You can learn more about these differences in our different articles.
To optimize your website to rank as well as possible in the search engines you need to consider both on page and off page factors. On page factors include how well built your website, how quickly it loads, the text you got on the page and a number of other factors. A well optimized page should load quickly and give the user a good experience.
Off page factors are things that happens outside your website but that will affect your ranking. This includes which websites that links to your and what they say when they do.
You should focus on both on and off page factors. I do however recommend that you focus on on-page factors first. It will not do you any good if you rank well but have a website that will turn customers away and not lead to new business.
Staying on top
It is important to keep working on your website and to keep promoting it even after you have reached the top of the search engines. This is especially important in large cities with a lot of competition and less important in small cities with few or no competitors. If you relax and stop working on the website then you might see yourself lose your top spot to a competitor. If they avoid the same mistake you did then it can be hard to outrank them again. It is always easier to stay on the top then it is to get back there if you lose the position.
That you live in a small town is no guarantee that you will face less competition online. If one or several of your competitors are equally devoted to web supremacy as you are then you can face competition similar to what you would face in an metropolitan area with a lot of competitor.
Keep working on the website to make it ever stronger to make sure that you never lose your top position.