Local business owners have an advantage when it comes to online search. Nearly half of all Google searches are queries for local information, and 97% of consumers learn most of what they need to know about a local company online, according to SEO Tribunal.
These statistics are pretty compelling if you’re a local business owner, particularly one that offers niche services. Whether you restore clocks, run a hot yoga studio, or own a vegan bakery, establishing an online presence is key to helping potential customers discover your business.
If you don’t have a website yet for your services, here’s how to create one, along with the potential benefits you can reap.
In this article:
- Why you need a website
- The anatomy of a great business website
- 5 reasons why WordPress.com is a great choice for your website
- How to set up a WordPress.com site
- How to Find Success With Your Small Business Website
- 1. Add a blog and create share-worthy content
- 2. Track site traffic
- 3. Set up Google My Business
- 4. Announce your launch everywhere
- 5. Share your content on social media
- 6. Create an explainer video
- 7. Take part in online discussions
- 8. Use paid advertising
- 9. Start and grow your email list
- 10. Add your website link to emails
- Now you’re ready to build a business website
Why you need a website
A website can boost your business’s visibility. According to Search Engine Land, 63% of consumers use websites to locate or interact with businesses. Another 30% of them won’t even consider a business that doesn’t have a website.
Think of a website as your business’s digital storefront. It gives consumers a chance to learn about your products and services before they ever set foot inside. Also, in an era when consumers no longer rely on the yellow pages or printed business directories, a website is key for discoverability — 72% of people who search online for local information will visit a store within five miles of their location, HubSpot reports.
Local searches are often driven by need. For example, a parent will search online for a party rental company if they need to rent a bouncy house for their child’s upcoming birthday. A website can help you land this sale by boosting your presence in search engines when consumers are in the market to buy, or connecting you with people who need your particular service at the exact moment they need it.
The anatomy of a great business website
Most prospective customers will visit your business website before contacting your company. It’s important to make a strong impression with an eye-catching, professional website that instills confidence in visitors and helps them find the information they’re looking for.
If you’re building a business website for the first time, there are some simple steps you can take to make sure it’s providing readers as much value as possible. Learn more in the infographic below.
Nail the first impression
If you’re wondering how to conceptualize your website design, start by looking at the website experience from a customer’s perspective. Approach the design from the top down, starting with the header, navigation tools, and essential information about your business. The top of your website should make it easy to find what the visitor is looking for, including your business name, logo, phone number, and the hours of operation for your brick-and-mortar location, if you have one.
You should also feature a navigation bar at the top of the home page so users can easily find the page they’re looking for. Restaurants, for example, find that most people visiting their sites want to look at the menu. This should be accessible without scrolling down the page.
Put your best content forward
As users scroll down the page and engage with your website, you should offer content and features that will draw their attention and extend their visit. The longer you’re able to interact with users through your website, the more effectively you’ll be able to turn those visitors into customers. Offer engaging content including images, graphics, and videos, and include a clear call to action to provide guidance for the next step.
Your website’s footer should also feature navigation links to key pages, as well as important business information and links to social media accounts. Don’t make users scroll back to the top of the page to find what they want — it only gives them a chance to abandon your site altogether.
Boost visibility with SEO
Some design elements can be leveraged to improve the perception of your business among potential customers and search engines. Be sure your website features “About,” “Products and Services”, and “Contact Us” pages. Customers will be interested in this information when researching your business and search engines recognize these elements when evaluating your website. A search engine is more likely to suggest your site to a user if you have them. Your website should also feature reviews and testimonials from past clients, demonstrating your expertise in your industry. These also boost your visibility in search results.
Keep it mobile-friendly
Last but not least, always use a website design that accommodates both desktop and mobile users. This is important for SEO as well as the user experience, and it’s become an essential aspect of business website design. Approximately half of all web traffic comes from mobile devices, so building a website that looks and feels great on mobile is essential. Fortunately, most templates nowadays already offer responsive design capabilities, so this can be achieved with minimal extra effort.
Building a business website is important, but it doesn’t have to be hard. Lean on these common best practices, as well as easy-to-use website-building templates and tools that turn any business owner into a website design expert.
In the past, businesses could get by without needing a website. These days, that’s simply not the case. If someone wants to learn about your business, the first place they will turn to is Google or a similar search engine. If your business doesn’t show up in search results, you may lose that customer.
Bringing your business online is a big step that requires time, money, and possibly technical skills.
But choosing WordPress.com for business can help you get online with ease. WordPress.com is the ideal platform for small businesses because it enables you to build a website without needing any technical experience and without spending too much — if anything at all. If you’re creating a business website, here are five reasons you might want to use WordPress.com to do so.
5 reasons why WordPress.com is a great choice for your website
You have tons of options when it comes to a small business website builder. Here’s why we think you’ll find WordPress.com to be the best choice.
1. WordPress.com is quick and user-friendly
You can set up a new WordPress.com account for your business in a matter of minutes, without paying a cent. Once your account is set up, you can create and edit your new website through an interface that doesn’t require any advanced skill to navigate. Since WordPress.com is entirely online, you can also edit your site from any iOS or Android device using a mobile app.
2. WordPress.com is affordable
As previously mentioned, you can set up your site on WordPress.com for free. If you want access to extra features offered through paid plans, they start at $4 per month. The best part is that the things you would normally pay for when creating a website (like hosting) are offered for free. This is a big money saver, as the price of creating a website from scratch can run in the thousands.
3. WordPress.com handles website security
If your plan is to sell products online or collect personal information from your customers (like credit card information), it’s imperative that your website protects customer information. WordPress.com approaches website security proactively and provides you with the ongoing security you need to build a trustworthy brand and credible website.
4. Real-time technical assistance
If you’re on WordPress.com, you have access to a broad network of forums that offer support whenever you have a question. Moreover, any paid plan comes with access to live chat support from WordPress.com’s Happiness Engineers. Either way, your questions will be answered quickly by WordPress.com experts.
5. WordPress.com works for everyone, in every language
WordPress.com isn’t limited to English-only websites — there are currently 120 different languages being used across WordPress.com sites. No matter what your native language is, you can rest assured that you’ll be able to use it with WordPress.com. There are also some WordPress.com plugins that can help to translate your website.
How to set up a WordPress.com site
You can build your very own website on WordPress.com in a few simple steps:
1. Set up your account
Pick the relevant category for the type of site you’ll create (in this case, business). Next, select an industry category (e.g., real estate agent), and then fill in the search bar with your business’s name (this will appear at the top of your site, but you can change it in the future).
2. Choose a style for your site
WordPress.com gives you design options based on your desired aesthetic — for example, modern, sophisticated, or professional. You also can browse and choose a theme yourself. If you’re not a designer, don’t worry — themes provide the design and layout for your site. All you need to do is add the content.
3. Pick a domain name
A domain is the web address people will type online to go to your site. For example, if you’ve recently opened a clock restoration business, your domain name might be chicagoclockrestoration.com. You can get a free domain with a WordPress.com extension (for example, chicagoclockrestoration.wordpress.com) or purchase a custom domain directly from WordPress.com (the first year is free with a paid plan).
Are you a consultant? You can get a .consulting domain.
WordPress.com has dozens of excellent top-level domains (TLDs) for you to choose from.
4. Select a WordPress.com plan
Plans range from Personal to eCommerce. Choose whichever option best meets your business needs.
5. Build your site
Once you’ve completed the setup process, you can create pages and posts and add different media (photos and videos). Since this is a business website, you’ll probably want to create a home page, an “About Us” page, and a “Products & Services” page. Once you create each page, add content so potential customers can learn more about your niche services. If you restore clocks, for example, a photo gallery of your previous work may help you land more customers.
6. Remember headings and keywords
Google uses headings you’ve included in your content — like H1, H2, and H3 — to determine the relevance of your site’s content. Headings are elements of HTML code that distinguish the headlines or titles in your content from the body text. The headlines and subheadlines then appear larger and more prominent to the reader, like the subheadlines in this article.
In the actual coding language, an H1 title tag would be written around a title like this: <h1>Our Selection of Dairy-Free Birthday Cakes</h1>. These tags range from H1 to H6, with H1 being the tag for the page’s main title, and then descend numerically in order of importance for Google’s search rankings. So, for example, if you want Google to rank your page well for vegan birthday cakes, be sure to include that keyword in the main H1-tagged title.
All these headings — and all your site’s pages and content — should contain keywords that people will type in search engines to find your business. For a vegan bakery, relevant keywords might be “vegan cupcakes” or “dairy-free birthday cakes.” You then can use these keywords for headings like “The Ultimate Red Velvet Vegan Cupcake.”
These are just some helpful tips to get you started. WordPress.com has several checklists and guides that provide more information on how to set up and launch your site.
How to Find Success With Your Small Business Website
The euphoria of launching your small business website can soon turn to concern when you realize you’re not getting the traffic you need. It turns out that creating the website is just the beginning; to really succeed as a small business, you need to keep traffic coming to your site so you get leads and sales. This guide shows you 10 fixes you can implement to make your small business website work better for you.
1. Add a blog and create share-worthy content
To get traffic, your small business website has to be useful to your potential customers. One way to signal that is by creating expert content that answers their questions and showcases your expertise. Since your site is built on WordPress, it’s easy to add a blog, and start using the built-in social sharing buttons so visitors can easily share your content.
Ideally, you’ll create several posts (between five and ten) so your blog has plenty to offer when visitors arrive. As you create and publish it, use an SEO plugin like Yoast to make sure your content is optimized to show up on relevant search results pages when people search for information in your niche.
Once you’re comfortable creating excellent content for your own site, consider guest blogging as a strategy to attract more visitors. Find sites in related niches that attract the audience you want to reach, and offer a piece of expert content. You’ll be able to use the author bio to promote your website, products and services.
2. Track site traffic
Before you dive into boosting site traffic, it’s important to set a baseline for where you are now, so you can track improvements easily. There are a few ways to do this. First, connect your site to Google Search Console. This tells you how your site is performing in Google and also warns you if anything isn’t working so you can fix it. Add Google Analytics to your site to learn about site traffic and how your visitors behave.
3. Set up Google My Business
Local search has become more important, especially if your small business website serves a particular community or location. “Near me” searches have increased every year, and according to Google, the pandemic has driven a 20,000% increase in searches for “support local businesses”.
Google My Business lets you capitalize on those trends by creating a Google page for your business. People will look there first to get information on your location, business focus, and opening hours. This can boost your local SEO, bringing website traffic – and even offline traffic – from your own area. Google My Business is also another place to post your content, further improving your online presence and building trust.
Potential customers will also check for ratings, so once your Google My Business page is live, ask existing customers to review your business. The more positive reviews and ratings you have, the more trustworthy your business looks.
4. Announce your launch everywhere
As part of getting your business off the ground, you’ll grab the appropriate social media handles for your brand and set up your profiles. (If you haven’t, do it now, and use Knowem to check that the handle you want is available on all major platforms.)
Social media is a key tool for people to get information and make recommendations, so it’s a great place to announce your website launch. Don’t worry if you don’t have a lot of fans or followers yet; those will come as you start to provide value and interest.
Of course, that’s not the only place people will look for information about you. You can also let people know about your new site via:
- Press releases
- Media appearances, including podcasts and interviews
- Advertising (more on that later)
5. Share your content on social media
The hard sell doesn’t work any more. Instead, you have to attract people to your site with useful content that’s relevant to them. Social media is a key place to do that. One way to save time is to use content repurposing: sharing the same content in different formats. For example, the content from an excellent long form blog post can help you generate a range of other content including:
- Quote graphics
- Tweetable quotes
- Short videos
- Shorter posts
- Quora answers
And you can share all of those on social media to continue to promote your business. To cut down on the time it takes to share, connect your website to key social media platforms so you can share content automatically. You can also create drip sharing campaigns using MissingLettr (or a similar tool) to promote your content at intervals for periods of up to a year.
6. Create an explainer video
Video marketing is now an essential tool for small business website promotion. Videos are popular with consumers, make it easy for them to retain information, and drive traffic, leads and sales.
A good starting point for video marketing is making an explainer video to quickly tell your potential customers what your business is about. If you’re on a budget, use a video app or an animated video tool to create the video yourself. Once you have it, add it to your website, upload it to YouTube or Vimeo, and share it widely on social media.
An example of an explainer video that briefly describes a product or service
7. Take part in online discussions
Another great option for getting the word out about your website is to take part in online discussions. There are a few ways to do this. Some of the most effective include:
- Joining Facebook or LinkedIn groups where you can share your expertise in a helpful way (again, not a hard sell)
- Join forums related to your business sector. Again, look for opportunities to help forum members and share your expertise.
- Taking part in Twitter chats or, even better, being a guest expert at a Twitter chat. You can share what you know, and you’ll pick up new followers who’ll likely visit your website.
8. Use paid advertising
Lots of businesses start out using social media for free, but with 4.2 billion social media users globally, according to We Are Social, there’s no guarantee that the people you most want to reach will always see what you post. Paid advertising is the way to solve that issue.
It allows you to promote your business to people who match the demographics and interests of your target market. This makes it more likely that they’ll click through to visit your website, and they’re 50% more likely to buy than other visitors. To get started, check out these guides to pay-per-click (PPC) search engine marketing and paid social media marketing.
9. Start and grow your email list
People in all age groups still check email regularly, which makes it a great way to nurture your customers. If you don’t already have an email list, start one now. You can use the subscription form block in WordPress to easily integrate your signup form into your website’s theme.
If you already have an email list, offer more value by creating a lead magnet to offer your subscribers.
Lead magnets are usually digital products that solve a problem for your target customer, given away free when people sign up for your email list. Once people are on your list, use it to nurture them by regularly sending relevant and helpful (rather than promotional) information.
10. Add your website link to emails
A simple trick that many people forget is to add the link to your website in your email signature. That means every email you send out is working for you.
Now you’re ready to build a business website
If you have a niche business, you need to maximize your reach — and a website is the perfect way to do that. Rather than relying on word-of-mouth marketing or foot traffic, you can help potential customers discover your business by setting up a digital storefront. With a solid online presence, you can quickly connect with people who need the specialty services you offer.
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