If you have a local business, such as a hair salon or restaurant, chances are you have created a website for it. Nowadays, most customers find businesses online, even if they don’t sell any merchandise on the Web. Google states that 97% of people search for businesses online. People will use the Internet to find a local business or service that they need, and a functional website will play a major role in helping to promote your business. However, just creating a site is not enough to play a crucial role in increasing business, there are several other steps you need to do, and keep doing, to increase your local business’s visibility online so it gets picked up by search engines. In previous articles, I wrote about the importance of good, quality content and social media. In this blog, I will discuss how to go the extra mile for your local business to to increase traffic to your site.
Here are a couple of steps that will help promote your website’s visibility.
1. ShareThis – This is what the creators of ShareThis say: “Whether you want the simplest, most robust tools to turn your media social, or to find the right audience for your advertising message, ShareThis puts sharing to work for you. Use the most innovative social media and sharing platform for the Web, ShareThis.” Simply put, this is a widget that you can customize for your blog.
When visitors read your content, they can click on the button, and choose which social media forum they’d like to share your blog on. The options are Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, Digg, Myspace, etc.
Additionally, ShareThis provides you with analytics of your site. The analytics allow you to:
- Unlock the social value of your website with SQI (social quality of a website)
- Discover your most shared content
- Evaluate the top outbound and inbound social channels
By checking your analytics, ShareThis allows you to see activity that is happening on your site, find what content is the most popular, view which social media sites and other referrals direct traffic to your site the most, etc. This will allow you to see what sites help your business’s visibility the most.
2. Yelp – Yelp is quickly becoming one of the main ways people find businesses, events, and lists. It was founded in 2004, and since then, has seen about 108 million unique visits per month (stats from the second quarter of 2013, according to Yelp.)
The way it works is that that visitors can search for a local business by name or category, and then read information about the business, write a review, or check in. Yelp claims that the site boasts over 42 million reviews. Yelp’s premise is simple, the more good reviews your business gets, the more clients it should attract, increasing your site’s visibility online.
Yelp is crucially important in attracting people to your website, and ultimately, your business. You can create a free account, or you can pay for advertising to promote your business in searches and attract greater visibility. You can also offer deals, coupons, and sell gift certificates.
If your business has various locations, you can create a Yelp page for each location. This way, search engines can point to a specific location if someone is looking for a dentist in Santa Monica, or one in Sherman Oaks, CA.
3. Facebook for Business – While having visitors share your site with their friends on social media sites is great, having your own presence on Facebook is also very important. You probably already have a personal Facebook account, but did you know that you can create one for your business? Facebook states that “over one billion people like and comment an average of 3.2 billion times every day. Over one billion people like and comment an average of 3.2 billion times every day. When you have a strong presence on Facebook, your business is part of these conversations and has access to the most powerful kind of word-of-mouth marketing — recommendations between friends.”
Facebook allows you to create a page for your business, add photos, relevant information, and any coupons or specials you would like to offer to promote it. Then, you can have individuals check into your business, or post on your wall. Plus, it gives you an opportunity to connect with your clients. As long as people have clicked Like on your page, they will get your updates. So, you can use Facebook as a channel to promote upcoming sales and specials, new products, or just mention a topic important to you. And you don’t even have to use the page to just discuss your business, specifically. Engage visitors with unique content, interesting stories and photos, or just events in your local neighborhood.
4. Twitter – Twitter is another great social media site to help you connect with people and increase visibility of your site. The website has over 200 million active users. This is what Twitter states that it can do for your business.
Connect in context
On Twitter, people talk about what they care about and what’s happening around them right now, including your business. This gives you powerful context to connect your message to what’s most meaningful to your customers in real time.
Engaging with real-time Tweets can influence conversations in a way that can help build your business.
Listen and learn
See what your competitors are tweeting about or search for industry keywords to listen and gather market intelligence. It’s an easy way to get insights that you can use to inform your strategy.
Grow and succeed
Want to grow your business, run exciting promotions, strengthen your brand and engage with your customers? Twitter Ads can amplify your efforts in these areas and more.
Learn from others.
See how these businesses used Twitter to drive transactions, connect with customers and grow.
5. Google Places for Business – Registering here allows your business to be found in search engines through Google Search, Maps, Google+, and mobile devices. You need to sign in with your Google account, and then set up Google Places for free. By setting up a free account, you can allow clients to not only search for your business, but make sure they have the correct information about it, such as contact information hours, etc. You can connect with customers by responding to Google+ reviews.
If you set up a premium account, you can promote your products or services through AdWords Express and Google offers. AdWords Express allows clients to click on your ad, call you and get directions to your business. “Google Offers connects you with customers who are nearby. Create an offer (i.e., 20% off a pepperoni pizza) to highlight your business across Google properties, including Google+, the Google Offers website, and mobile apps for Offers and Wallet.”
6. Google Analytics – One of the most important things you can do for your site is to check its analytics. Google Analytics analyzes your site’s engagement and reports back to you. First, Google Analytics helps familiarize you with their plugin by offering a setup checklist and a getting started guide. This way, even if you’re never analyzed your website’s traffic, with Google Analytics, you will
easily be able to learn how to start. Second, if you still have questions, you can visit the help center to read articles that can help you along the way. Furthermore, you can visit the Google Analytics YouTube Channel to watch helpful videos.
“Google Analytics not only lets you measure sales and conversions, but also gives you fresh insights into how visitors use your site, how they arrived on your site, and how you can keep them coming back,” according to their site. What that means is that Google Analytics will show you how many people visited your site, how they found your site – through keywords, or through another source, and if they clicked on any links on your WordPress blog. This way, you can see what content on your site is the most popular, and which social media sites are bringing the most traffic to you. Having this knowledge will help you get even more visitors, because you can see which topics are most interesting to your readers, and focus on writing about them. Or, when you see which social media sites, for example Facebook, direct the most people to your site, you can focus on promoting your content on that site through paid advertisements or giveaways and promotions.
7. Directory websites – Below are directories that are free and also help with search engines and getting more traffic. These are beneficial for all local businesses.
In summary, there are many ways to promote your business’s visibility online. Some are paid, and others are free, but overall, the more time you spend helping visitors find your site, the more business you are likely to get. Behla Design can help you set up any of the plugins or options discussed in this blog.
The team at Behla Design, Graphic Design & Web Development, is dedicated to creating visual experiences that effectively tell our clients’ stories while engaging, exciting, and enticing their customers. Our firm consists of top web design, web development, WordPress, search engine optimization (SEO), and copywriting professionals and has worked in the graphic, print and web design industry for over twenty years. Contact us today to find out how we can help your next project.