Running a small business is hard. Typically, most small businesses have limited staff, limited time and a limited budget for sales and marketing efforts. This being the case sometimes it's easy to fall into the trap of just 'running' your business and letting the 'promotion' of your business slide.
The great thing about having a website is that it's really low cost (if it's set up correctly) to maintain, update and promote through online marketing and SEO. Just because you're a small business doesn't mean you have to have a small presence online. Here are some tips to help you get started making your website more effective.
1. Don't call your homepage 'Home'
This is one I see all the time. Small businesses sometimes don't have the budget to spend on a web design company or SEO company so typically a friend, local business or another cheaper provider is used. Sometimes these providers know a lot about websites and setting them up, but not much about SEO and online marketing so they do some of the following really, really bad practices:-
- Call the homepage 'home' instead of using a keyword-rich description
- Call each page the same eg. 'ABC Mechanics'
- Add the company name followed by an non-descriptive page title such as 'ABC Mechanics - Services'
- Have no page titles at all
If your website is suffering from any of these SEO malpractices, I would suggest getting this changed immediately if you want any sort of online success through search engines.
2. Have your phone number or email address on every page
Making it easy for people to contact you is imperative. I see many websites that have only a contact form on their website - no email address, no phone number. This doesn't come across as an open business wanting to speak to you. It comes across as a closed shop that will only talk to customers on their terms.
Having your email address or phone number on every page ensures your contact details are seen no matter what page people land on AND they don't have to scamper around your website trying to find a phone number or email address to send you a message.
3. Get statistics installed on your website and understand what they mean
It amazes me how many people get a weekly stats report sent to them but have no idea what the information is, let alone how to interpret the data and make their website better from it.
Statistics are the roadmap to your website and can give you great insight into your user's behaviour and their path through your website. Understanding the statistics on your website is incredibly important if you want to have continued success through your website.
4. Theme your website for your product or service
When I talk about themes I'm talking from an SEO perspective, not your typical graphical theme. An SEO theme means there's a relevant and logical undercurrent to your page information, title tags, description tags and other elements needed to have success in search engine rankings.
If your website has an overall theme or direction and your internal pages then branch off on this theme whilst still being relevant to the overall direction of the website, then you will find it easier to rank for particular terms.
Remember the key to having a good search engine is to bring back relevant results for your users so it makes sense to have a relevant website too, doesn't it?
5. Dedicate 1-2 hours a week to work on your website
I know everyone is busy and there is always stuff that is important to do, but unless you actively maintain and update your website it's only going to sit there looking pretty and doing nothing for you. The saying "you only get out what you put in" couldn't be more fitting when it comes to websites.
So keep this in mind when it comes time to write some content for your website and you move off to make phone calls or get distracted by the invoicing etc.
6. Create a Google+ profile and page for your business
This is a great way to extend your business profile within Google. Google now has local listings that link to Google+ profiles so it’s well worth looking into setting up an account and adding as much detail as you can to your Google+ business page.
To see an example of a Google+ business page visit the Marketeam Google+ page and remember to add us to your circles :-)
7. Give away information and ask for details in return
Giving away information that's going to be helpful and useful to your users is the best way to build trust and give the impression that you've nothing to hide.
Giving away this type of information means you've helped people before you've even asked them for their business. This is a good step towards securing great clients and becoming a successful business.
8. Create a unique title tag and description tag for every page on your website
This one sounds like a lot of work but really it's pretty easy to do. Even if you have 30 pages on your website it will take you about 5-10 minutes per page. That's only a few hours of work – not much work for the benefits you'll gain.
9. Have more than 300 - 400 words on every page
This is a general rule of thumb but for search engines to gather enough information about a page and rank it, it's always a good idea to have at least 300 words on a page. Without content the search engines have less to go on when considering your website for a page one result.
If your competitors have thorough information on every page that's relevant, useful and helpful to users wouldn't it make sense for a search engine to rank them over you? You must have the content available to educate the search engines what your pages are about.
10. Use local listings
If you're a small business servicing a local area then add your details into local directories and the Google Local Business Centre.
These are just some of the low-cost SEO methods small business can use to enhance the performance of their website.
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