Websites: The New Digital Business Card

Ashley Taylor Anderson
Local small business website best practices

Imagine that you’ve just moved to a new town where you don’t know anyone.

After you’ve unpacked and settled into your new place, you realize that you’re long overdue for a haircut and could really use a massage after lifting all those heavy boxes. How would you go about finding a local salon and spa to make appointments with?

Once upon a time, you would have picked up a copy of the Yellow Pages and taken a chance on one of the many businesses listed there. But those days are long gone. Today, you’d jump on your laptop or phone and search for a salon or spa nearby. You’d click on a few search results, look at some websites, and find the business that suits you best in terms of services, price, location, hours, and vibe.

This way of discovering local businesses has become the norm—and without a website, it’s unlikely that local consumers will find and connect with you. It’s that simple. Shailen Lodhia, search engine marketing expert with Expreseo, says:

“A website is like your digital business card. It doesn’t have to be super fancy, but it should have all of your basic business info: Services, hours, location, contact information, a map, and how long you’ve been in business.”

Do You Really Need a Business Website?

Every local business needs a website to help online consumers discover them, regardless of what other advertising or marketing channels you have in place. For example, if you’re running print or radio ads for your spa, chances are that people who hear about your services through a magazine or a commercial will Google you to learn more. If they don’t find you, they’ll be more likely to do business with one of your competitors who they can connect with online.

The good news is that creating and managing a website has never been easier. With content management systems such as WordPress, updating your website is almost as easy as updating your status on Facebook. This solution is also cost-effective—rather than having to keep a developer on retainer, you can pay a contractor for the initial build and have the flexibility to manage content changes yourself.

So You Have a Business Website—Now What?

Once your website is built and live, there are a few things you should be doing to help you stand out to potential clients searching for services in your local area.

Site Architecture: Make sure your website contains a set of standard pages to help prospects learn more about you. A few oldies but goodies include:

  • A homepage with your mission statement and easy-to-find links to more specific content
  • An about us page with information about you, your staff, and how long you’ve been in business
  • A services page that provides detailed descriptions of what you offer, how much each service costs, and how long the service will take
  • A contact us page with a contact form, your phone number, and a map of your location
  • A bookings page that allows users to make an appointment in advance

Up-to-Date Content: In order to appeal to readers and stay relevant to search engines, your website content needs to remain fresh. A blog is a great way to create updated content on a regular basis—you can share specials, events, news about your business, industry expertise and advice, and customer stories, all of which will get indexed with search engines and help your site rank higher in results. You can also update your homepage or services page to include seasonal services, specials, and offers.

The Bottom Line

A website is your virtual first impression with prospects. With a little up-front investment and a bit of ongoing maintenance, you can host a great site that will help you local consumers find you, hear your story, learn about your services, and take the next step toward becoming a client.


About the Author

Ashley Taylor Anderson

Ashley Taylor Anderson is a content developer and marketer who's spent her career knee-deep in the B2B technology space. In previous professional lives, she worked as a science textbook editor, media producer, and pastry chef.

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