I am a firm believer that websites are the modern-day business card. A website is often one of the first ways in which a potential customer interacts with your business. Well, at least that was the goal when you decided to create one, right?
Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Your website might not show up if customers search for services you provide or even if they Google you by name. While it is tough to compete for web traffic as a small business, you can take a few steps to ensure that your site comes up when individuals search for your business, or search more broadly for businesses like yours locally.
Follow these five simple steps to ensure you generate traffic your website deserves.
1. Submit Your Website to dmoz.org. The Open Directory Project is the largest directory on the web and critical to informing the major search engines that you exist. Make sure you find an appropriate category for your business, but don’t spend too much time looking for the perfect category. Many design-oriented businesses such as an architecture or civil-engineering firm could fit under the Construction and Maintenance category in the Business section. Step-by-step instructions can be found here.
2. Create a Listing on Google Places. Local is in! Creating a local listing will go a long way to putting your business on the radar of the largest search engine on the Internet. Google has recently made a lot of changes in order to make sure that location factors greatly into what results it presents to consumers, so don’t miss out on leveraging one of your best assets—local location!
3. Make Sure You Have the SEO Basics Covered. [Gulp.] I know. There are few Internet marketing terms more intimidating than search engine optimization (SEO). I also know that marketing budgets are usually small, if not nonexistent. That being said, it is worth putting in a little time and a little money to ensure that your website is optimized on a basic level. Depending on how the website was turned over to you, you may even be able complete most of the work yourself. Here is great article that covers the very, very basics of website SEO in pretty plain language.
4. Create a Business Listing on at Least One High-Profile Directory Site. Creating a listing on Yelp.com or YP.com will undoubtedly boost traffic to your site. Online guide sites are in the business of local search, so let the professionals take over and drive local traffic your way. Get started by claiming your business on Yelp.com or creating a free listing on YP.com.
5. Build a Social-Media Presence. Creating a social-media page is a great way to drive traffic to your site. However, out of all the suggestions I have made, this one really takes the most work. The good news is that the amount of effort needed can be scaled to fit your business needs. For example, LinkedIn is very user friendly and a great place to get started in social media if you aren’t ready to commit to posting content regularly. Meanwhile, if you are up to posting content once a week, then Facebook would be a great social-media site for you to explore. I would not suggest creating a Facebook page for your business if you aren’t going to post something at least once a week—a neglected page is not a great for your business’ image. Get started by creating a company listing on LinkedIn and reading these 4 tips to marketing your business using social media.
That’s it! You have now covered the basics on both ends of the search spectrum: organic search and paid search. While traffic may not increase overnight, there is now a higher likelihood that individuals will find your site when they Google you by name or by clicking through Yelp or Facebook when searching locally for businesses like yours.