When you decide to build a website, yes I’m talking to you mister small business owner, you probably hired someone who showed you a cool mockup of what your site would look like. A few weeks later, when your site was up, you were happy because it looked just like she promised.
Then you waited for the orders to pour in. They didn’t. You started telling people that you had a website. They searched for you on Google, but couldn’t find you. You gave them the exact url of your site, and they then found you and told you how beautiful your site was.
If that sounds familiar, you are in the majority of small businesses.
I recently ran through the Chamber of Commerce site for my small town checking the member’s websites for searchability, it wasn’t pretty. I took a chance and emailed a few of them offering some help, but most didn’t think they had a problem.
If you were looking for your business, what would you type into a search engine? If you were looking for an interior designer in Holly Springs, you would probably type in “Holly Springs interior design“. If you did, the interor designer listed on the Holly Springs Chamber of Commerce site is nowhere to be found.
That is step one for any small business. Be Findable!
Step 2: Decide what words or phrases you want to be found for
How much time did you take thinking about the keywords or phrases that searchers would use to find you? If your front page talks about you as a person and your background, but never mentions what your business does, it’s wasted space, put it on another page.
Optimizing for the wrong words means you’ll get visitors that you’ll never convert into customers.
Step 3: Think like your visitor
Your front page should be all about convincing a visitor that they should click into your site a bit deeper. Google has research showing that people make a decision about a site in 8 seconds or less. Always keep that in mind, you have roughly 12 words to prove your worthiness to a new visitor.
If you think that the 9 paragraphs you have on the front page will get read by an average visitor, you’re wrong. Have a clear path for them to follow. A big button that entices them to keep moving will usually be a better option than 12 buttons all the same size that lead to every corner of your site.
Step 4: Check out your competition
Did you know you can use Yahoo’s Site Explorer to see who is linking to your competitor’s site?
Step 5: Get you site out as much as possible
Make sure that your website is on all of your marketing material. If you own a pizza shop, put it on the boxes! If you spend a lot of time on the web, make sure you use the url where you can. With that in mind, don’t be spammy about it.