Local Business Websites - Local Online Presence

Responsive websites, HTML, Domains, SEO, Google Places... Argh!! All these terms (and more) are thrown around by website designers and online marketeers.

As a busy business owner you probably do not have the time to research all these terms and more importantly determine how a website and a powerful local online business presence can help your business increase customers and revenue.

The purpose of this article is to give you, the small business owner, a place online where you can get a crash course about local online advertising and how it can be used to obtain more customers for your small business.

Online Advertising Is A MUST

A small business in Ventura or any other city will implement traditional marketing or adverting campaigns to attract and retain customers.

Advertising online serves the same purpose but the online world allows a business to do this more efficiently and more economically. We will discuss how later in this article.

This does not mean that a small business should completely abandon traditional methods of advertising but should not neglect online advertising campaigns.

Your Business REQUIRES a Website

The question is no longer " Should my business have a Website? " Your business should already have a website and the question should now be "How can I use my website to attract and retain customers? ". Not having a business website is like not having a business phone.

What is a website? It may help to think of a website as a house with multiple addresses. Where each address references different rooms in the house. A customer can visit different rooms in your house (website) by using different addresses (urls). In order for your house to be found online, you will need to register the domain (address) for your house with a "Domain Name Registrar" (for example GoDaddy.com). Lastly someone will need to host your house (website) on a dynamic and magical piece of land (server) that allows your house to travel to your customer.

Customers and Your Business Website

People that are online and are in the market for your products or service will be in one of two modes:

  • Product/Service research: In this mode a consumer is not sure what product or service is needed. They are not ready to buy yet but they have an idea of what is wanted. Take action here!. Educate the potential customer with your knowledge of said product or sevice. This is your chance to gain the trust of a potential customer. Your site need to guide the person to articles, blogs, or videos that will help them understand the service or product that they are researching. Do not wait for the consumer to be ready to buy and then advertise your business specials; start building a relationship the instant they start to research a product or service..
  • Researching Price: In this mode a consumer has decided on the product or service and is comparison shopping for the best price and to see if a business offers any extra incentives (warranties, financing offers, free items, etc...). Most online business advertise to consumers at this stage. Advertising online to consumers at this stage is excellent! More and more consumers are using the web to find local products and local services. Do not miss a potential sale because your business doesn't have a website that advertises your products and services..

If You Build It, They Probably Will NOT Come...

Long gone are the days when a small business could build a website and have search engines like google or yahoo display the website high in a search result with little effort to optimize the website.

What is a search engine? It may help to think of a search engine as a very smart yellow pages phone book. The search engine will process (crawl) your website in order to determine what it thinks are import words (key words). It will then use this information to determine if your business website is relevant when a user performs a search (word choice and order matter).
Each search engine has its own formula to determine where in the search results your website will appear. No one (except for probably the engineers and architects at the search engine company) knows the exact formula used to determine the ordering of a search result. There are strategies (Search Engine Optimization) that can be used in order to better the chances of your site being listed on the first page of a search result.

You really want your website to appear on the first page of a search result because studies have shown that the likelyhood of someone clicking on your website deminishes the further your site is down in the search results.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of combining different strategies in order to attempt to have your website appear higher in a search result. SEO can be a very time consuming (or expensive if you hire someone) task because it is an ongoing task the requires updates to your site in addition to other tasks not directly related to the content on your site (backlinks, etc...)
What can you do to improve the visibility of your business website when a local person searches for your product or service?
Continue reading to find out...

The Best Things in Life Are Free

Search Engines have services that enable local businesses owners to advertise their business for free! Are you currently managing your FREE local online business advertisement on google, yahoo, or bing? If not, you are missing out on leveraging a very good service that can help more people learn about your business and have more potential customers funnelled to your website. When managing your business advertiement you can also set your website address as part of the advertisement! Setting your website address creates a backlink to your site which will more than likely help your website appear at a higher spot when someone searches for your product or service.

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