I'm constantly surprised at how many small business owners don't even have a website. Not quite as terrible, but many that have a website don't even update it regularly or place much importance on having a web presence.
Having a website for your small business is one of the most important things you can do for yourself at this point.
Your clientele at this point might be like my Dad – he still uses The Yellow Pages and asks his friend at work if he needs a recommendation. Old school. I haven't opened a phonebook directory for probably 15 years, and I ALWAYS look for reviews when trying a new ANYTHING.
So yeah, having a legit website with some online clout is important for the future of your business.
So what's stopping you?
I'm guessing it's just that you really don't know where to start. I can help you out with that, and I'll help you save a bundle of cash on top of that. In just a few paragraphs you'll know how to build your own website for your small business, without hiring a web designer or team of social media “experts”.
And I can also show you how to tear up your competition and dominate the search engine results.
1) Your website doesn't have to be beautiful or complicated
The goal here is to connect with customers, not to wow them with how cool your site it. People want information. They want to know how much it costs, how to make an appointment, what your phone number is, what you offer, how you compare to the competition, and how to buy what it is you are selling.
Today's consumer is super savvy. Don't forget it. If you don't give them the information they want, they will get it somewhere else. Satisfy their need to know, and they will convert from lead to paying customer.
2) You don't need a coder, developer, manager, consultant, 50,000 hours of lessons
Coding is two decades old. Ok, there are still coders, but using things like drag-and-drop website builders make things easy on us. I can't code at all. But I run a profitable online marketing company.
Taking this approach there ARE some things you will have to compromise on.
I've got a buddy that wants to start his own brewery. He was asking me the other day if I could make a website for his business and of course I agreed.
But then he started talking about all kinds of bells and whistles he wanted like moving logos, music, and very specific design elements. Nope. Sorry. Not for me. Sure that type of stuff sounds cool, but practically speaking, it's a nuisance. As mentioned in #1, people want information, not art.
3) You started your own damn business. You can build a website
That pretty much sums it up
How To Rank in Search Engines
There are three ways to get your name in Google and other search engines. Two are free, one is paid.
1) You may have heard of Google advertising, or Adwords. Bing has one too. That's the paid bit. It's called PPC, or pay per click. You pay for those top spots in Google. Each time someone clicks on your link, you are charged anywhere between a few cents and a few dollars. This method takes some learning but it can be very lucrative
2) By having a local business you can register it with Google. There's a whole process to go through on how to register it, and you may have done this already. You'll automatically show up in Google when someone in your area searches for the type of business you are.
There are also some tactics on how to outrank your competition within these local listing results, but I won't get into those on this post.
3) Free search. This is where search engines rank you just based on the merit of your site. If you have helpful information that creates engagement with your customer (ie comments, calls, FB likes, Tweets, etc), you'll rank in the natural results. This is a lot of what I do in my line of work.
You need a website to benefit from any or all of these three methods of getting customers. If you don't have a website, you are losing water from a leaky bucket. Except the water is money. And the bucket is your business.
WordPress & Wealthy Affiliate
WordPress is one of the most common websites builders around. It's how this website was built, and it's what I'm recommending you use. There's a ton of free support for it out there, including YouTube videos and written tutorials from WordPress enthusiasts.
Wealthy Affiliate is a marketing training center where I learned how to market my own online business.
Though they are mostly focused on affiliate marketing, and teaching newbies how to make money from websites, there is a HUGE number of resources on local search marketing that you simply cannot find anywhere else.
These include written tutorials, training videos, and live recorded webinars.
You will also be able to benefit from much of the basic website training that's offered, with things like how to customize your website, how to make a link, how to create a page, and that type of stuff.
In fact, there are quite a few guys I know in there that do freelance work for local companies. They charge an arm an a leg to their clients, but as a member of Wealthy Affiliate, they will definitely share their knowledge with you.
Destroy Your Competition
With a good-looking website, awesome ranking in the search engines, and an engaging presence on the web, you will be able to beat out 90% of your competition. This is going to translate to more customers for your business and more money in your pocket.
Hosting, Website, Training, & Support For One Fee
Normally you'd pay about $100 per year for hosting, $500 for a basic website setup, and around $4000 for a complete website with customizations. You'd pay $500 per month for maintenance, and to hire an SEO consultant or trainer would cost maybe $50 per hour (I'm ball-parking that one).
What Wealthy Affiliate is offering is hosting, training AND support for $359 per year. That works out to $29 per month, or less than $1 per day to learn how to build, manage, and rank your own small business's website.
And what they do on top of that is give you access to the training center and website builder for free for 7 days, with no credit card needed. You can then choose to either pay monthly ($47) or yearly ($359).
During this seven day period you'll have access to the basic training, the training forum, and a live chat system where other members, including myself, can help you get your site set up if you need help.
But before you do that, there's something we need to cover quickly, and at risk of confusing you, it needs to be explained. The website you set up with your free account at WA is kind of like a practice one. You won't be able to host a .com domain name until you upgrade. However, you will be give two free practice sites that you can name whatever you want and play around with WordPress to get a feel for what you'll be doing.
So here's the plan
1. Create your free account here. Choose a username and set up your profile
2. Leave a message on my profile so I know you've signed up
3. Follow the green button once you're inside.
Remember that the basic training is targeted at towards affiliate marketers, but you will be able to follow it to get your site set up. Once you are a paying member I can direct you to the training you need to get your businesses site set up properly and start hosting your business's .com inside.
If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below.