Start with a business website that includes plenty of pages and helpful text. There are lots of free website templates online for you to customize to your business. Be sure to pick one that looks good on smart phones/tablets as well as desktop computers. Google Sites has a great tutorial for setting up a website with them. We have included a link below for Setup of a webpage with Google Sites.
Websites with more pages/content will show up at the top of a search engines like Google or Yahoo when someone is searching online for a business. For more in depth reading on Search Engines visit this link on search engine guides. A good place to start for more content is to segment your home website page with secondary pages, for example, an “About Us” page, a “Location” page, a “Customer Testimonials” page, and a “Contact” page. An easy way to add pages is to add a “Blog.”
A Blog by definition is “a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style.” When writing your first blog page, think about who your target audience is. In other words, who do you want to read it and what do you want to accomplish. For example if you were a Yarn Store and you want to bring new people to your store to try a crochet project, write a story about the first time you learned to crochet. It can be informal, funny, touching, or technical in nature inviting the consumer to come try crocheting for themselves. Tell them what you have to offer that could help, whether it is new yarns or classes. Blogs should be updated with new content often. There is no secret formula to the frequency that you should blog but you never want your website to have an abandoned feel to it.
Photos are always an easy way to keep your website look attractive and images can be found for use under free public domain. This site www.publicdomainpictures.net has free and stock photos for purchase. Be sure to read any licensing info about using for commercial use. Another site is search.creativecommons.org for images. These images are bound by the licensing info found associated with the image. Better yet, take some photos to upload to your site. Your own photos give a realistic feel to your business. Video can be an interactive feature that you may want to add. Videos that you create and add to YouTube can be linked to your website.
Social media pages like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+ have a useful function in business visibility online. Online searches index social media pages. Searches for your business name will show up on each site. When setting up social media, be consistent in logos and images. Post to these accounts often. Setting up a posting schedule is especially helpful.
Places to Start
In order for customers to find your business more easily, you should register with several sites. Consistency of your business info on each registered site should be followed.
Google Places & SitesPlacing Your Business on the Map
Google has made it exceptionally easy to improve your online visibility. Click here to the Get Your Business Online Challenge setup for Lansdowne. It includes a tutorial on Google Places, the biggest aggregate of local business information on the Internet. Click here for instructions for Google Places and click here for Google Sites setup instructions.
LinkedIn is a business oriented social network that has been in existence since 2003. Their site has more than 364 million users and 3 million company pages.
You will need to add a personal page and from there you can create a business profile. They have lots of great tutorials on how to use their site to optimize your business. The basic profile is free but they have premium for advanced features.
Better Business Bureau
The BBB has an online directory and has been dedicating themselves to fostering honest and responsive relationships between businesses and consumers for over 100 years. If applying to be an accredited business listing they can offer an online sponsorship program. Offer your business info at the following link:
Yelp is an online directory that customers can write reviews about your business.
Yelp had a monthly average of 83 million unique visitors who visited Yelp via their mobile device in the second quarter of 2015. In addition to reviews, you can use Yelp to find events, lists and to talk with other Yelpers. Create your free account at http://www.yelp.com/.
Yahoo’s local business pages still show up frequently in search results. Yahoo! makes it easy to claim your business’ page. Search for your business at this link, https://local.yahoo.com/ then you are able to edit it as the business owner. If not found, scroll down to the bottom and choose add a business. You are able to make a yahoo account for free.
Register/Claim your business with Four Square’s business pages. Users create profiles to search for businesses related to their interests. It allows consumers to leave tips and photos of their favorite businesses. Their link is business.foursquare.com/claim.
There are search engine sites that are based on your type of business as well.
For restaurants sites there are Grub Hub and Zagat as examples. Businesses may want to add their listings to Bing, Manta, and Yellow Pages. Upon registering, be sure to verify your webpage from the corresponding email you would get from any of these search engines. This step ensures you are the authentic business holder.