Now that you understand that your website is the key piece of the online equation, it’s time to understand the elements that make an excellent local business website.
1. Contact Information
If a potential customer found your website and is interested in your product/service, the last thing you want is for them to have to hunt to find your contact information.
Make this information easy to find!
Right when they land on any page of your website, they should see a way to contact your business.
Achieve this by:
- Putting your address and phone number in the header and footer of your website
- Adding a contact link to your main navigation
- Adding a sticky footer/button that displays on mobile devices that the user can click to call
This information should be consistent throughout the internet on any website your business is listed on, including your social media profiles. This is a topic that will be covered when we discuss off-site SEO strategies.
Some people like the business to call them directly. They want to submit their information and expect a call in the near future.
Don’t neglect these people!
Put a form that accepts contact details on your Contact Us page. You might even create a “Free Evaluation/Quote” page depending on your business.
In some cases, I even put forms in the sidebar of the website pages. This helps potential leads submit their information at any point when viewing the website.
Pro Tip: You need some kind of analytics to track form submissions throughout the site.
This information is gold! It is essential to understand:
- what traffic source the user came from that submitted their contact information
- what page the user was on when they submitted their contact information
- what pages they read/visited before submitting their information
- how long they stayed on your website
- if they are a new/returning visitor
Analyzing and understanding this data will help you determine what is and isn’t working in your marketing campaigns.
I suggest using Google Analytics for tracking and setting up Goals for form submissions.
A majority of the local business owners I talk to have no idea how new clients find their business.
Some businesses try to solve this issue during the first interaction or on-boarding process and ask the new customer how they found the business. This is useful information to have, but it usually is super high level without further questions.
For example, the person that answers the phone might ask the new potential client, “How did you find us?”
The potential client might answer something like “Internet,” or maybe they say “Google.”
Without further questions, which can get uncomfortable, this referral source data kind of sucks…
Analyzing this data you have no idea which of your online campaigns produced this new lead.
- Was it the on-going SEO campaign finally paying off?
- Was it the Paid Advertising you have been running?
- Maybe the Social Media campaign?
Unless you are doing just one source of advertising online, you really need more information about this referral source.
This is where call tracking comes in!
Call tracking is exactly what it sounds like… It tracks calls from a bank of phone numbers.
My favorite is CallRail. Currently, for $30/m you get a bank of 10 phone numbers.
At a high level, this is how it works:
- Setup the call forwarding numbers
- Configure CallRail from the Dashboard so it can do its magic
Once you are setup, CallRail can use your bank of phone numbers to automagically switch all the phone numbers on your website based on the TRAFFIC SOURCE.
For example, you can set CallRail up to switch your phone number if the visitor came from Facebook, your Adwords campaign, an organic search, etc.
How sweet is that?
Now when your phone rings you know exactly where the potential client found your website. On top of that, CallRail can integrate into all kinds of third-party tools like Analytics and Adwords.
This will allow you to get even more granular.
With the Adwords integration, you can see:
- what campaign the caller clicked
- what ad group the caller clicked
- what keyword the caller searched
- what search term the caller searched
WOW! This is data and knowledge that can be used to scale a business!
For those SEO rocket scientist, you might be thinking this number switching will mess up your citation consistency?
Not only can you ignore the Googlebot, but to be safe, you can add your call tracking number as an alternate number in your Google My Business account.
Like Frank’s RedHot, I put that sh*t on everything.
- billboard campaign – track results with a dedicated tracking number
- business cards – dedicated tracking number
- magazine ad – dedicated tracking number
- yard signs – dedicated tracking number
You hopefully get the idea…
Live Chat & ChatBots
These need to be tested and the success rates vary based on the business category.
The Live Chat feature is nothing new. It is a simple piece of code that allows users to interact with your business in real time from your website.
You see these on all kinds of websites. Some work well, some are annoying and drive you nuts!
Again, these should be tested!
ChatBots are on the rise, and some experts are saying could be the future.
These are fun!
In the pizza industry, these allow someone to order a pizza all from the Facebook messenger app. In the hotel industry, people are booking rooms by answers questions from a ChatBot.
ChatBots are a big subject and will be covered in its own post, but in the meantime think about how they might fit in your business to help potential clients through the buying process.
2. Web Design
This might be obvious, but your website should be visually pleasing and easy to navigate.
Don’t get too cute with your web design. No need to create some crazy navigation element that users can’t figure out how to use.
Remember your primary goal should be to convert the user into a new customer. KISS
You want a website that:
- loads fast
- easy to navigate
- includes content the user is searching for
- accessible on any device
This means that big homepage slider/carousel that takes up half of your homepage might not be the best idea. “But it is soo cool!”
Lots of content. Start writing content right now. Keep it going!
Yes, I have come across local business websites that are on page 1 of Google and have very little content. I am talking about 100-300 words on each page.
And I LOVE it!
Because I know it is going to be sooo much easier to outrank them! It puts a big smile on my face.
Think about this…
When you search for something on Google, you are looking for an answer. Right?
On the flip side, Google is looking to provide the best answers for people using the search engine. If Google provided terrible results to your search queries, you
probably wouldn’t use the search engine.
So with that in mind, if your competitor has a couple hundred words of content on their website and you have thousands of words about every topic, subject, product, service that relates to your niche, which website do you think Google will be listed higher in the search results?
That is a trick question, as there are all kinds of factors that go into rankings, but the idea here is content is very important. You might have also heard content is king.
If you are the industry leader, prove it! I don’t believe you!
Tell me everything I need know and more. Create videos and put them on YouTube. Show me.
I get push back all the time from business owners thinking they are sharing industry secrets or they believe they are sharing too much information to the point where the visitor doesn’t need their service.
For the first point, someone in your industry is probably already sharing what you think is a secret. Maybe not locally, but it is more than likely online somewhere.
For the second point, yeah you may not convert those DIY visitors, but those aren’t your target customers anyway! Maybe you can grab them in the future.
A plumber has an in-depth article/video on how to fix a leaky pipe. Yes, there will be some DIY visitors that can pull off all the steps you outline and fix the pipe themselves.
Good for them.
The other portion of this audience may read/watch the content and figure out the job is best suited for a professional.
You could be that professional.
This might seem like a dumb/obvious example, but it should be used for every local business.
I have even worked with local lawyers who hesitated about putting content on their website that would give the visitor enough information where they wouldn’t need their services…
In reality, it did the opposite!
The visitors realize how much work is required and why they need an experienced attorney. The website visitor ends up calling the firm and mentioning all the great content they have read on the firm’s website.
Thank you content for that new client!
We are just getting started. In later posts, we will go deeper into topics and cover website conversion optimization, the importance of a responsive website, on-site SEO, and all kinds of other subjects.
See you in the next one.