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Local Business Owners: What is the purpose of your website?
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What is the purpose of your website?

I wanted to write some resources that were specifically for local business owners who are dipping (or are just thinking about dipping) their pinky toe into the deep waters of the internet–people who know just a little or nothing at all about website marketing.

I know that if you are not already a tech head, then venturing into the world of online marketing (having a website) can be a little intimidating. I just want to tell you that I’ve been there myself, and even though it’s been a while since I was a beginner, I can clearly remember what it was like.

In this resource, I’d like to help you as much as possible overcome some of the hurdles that local small business owners face when trying to make the most of marketing on the internet.

In the beginning…

So, you started a business, and then everyone started saying, “You’re going to build a website, right?”

You might have thought, “Alright, sure–that’s what people do nowadays. They make a website to advertise their business.”

Then, some way or another you got your website up. Maybe you hired someone to do it, or maybe you did it yourself, or perhaps you have a precocious nephew who knows the internet inside and out who set one up for you. Whatever the case, now you have a website for your business.

Feels good doesn’t it?

I remember my first website–it was a thrill knowing it was there. I used to love to just ‘drop by’ and look at it. I liked imagining all of the people who would also ‘drop by’ and look around.

You may have some ideas floating around in your head as to what the purpose of your website is, but I’d like to spell out some of the more obvious purposes for a website and reasons why you might have set yours up:

The obvious reasons to have a website:

  • It is expected–every business has a website nowadays.
  • It adds credibility to your business. When people are trying to decide what business to patronize, they will usually want to look at your website.
  • When you do local advertisements (phone book, newspaper, radio, TV, etc), you can include your website address, and then provide more info about your business there.
  • When you have business cards printed up, you can include your website address. People can then type your website address into Google and see more info about your business.
Business card with website

People can find your website from seeing your business card, but there's so much more...

These are the obvious reasons to have a website. (We’ll cover the not-so-obvious reasons a little later).

When you run into people, or when your business card gets passed around, or when you advertise in the newspaper or phone book, you are giving people a place to go on the internet to find more information about you. Having a website can help inspire customer confidence and build your credibility. You know this.

By having a website you are creating a way for people that you meet or people who see your local advertisements to get more information about your business. That’s the beginning, but there’s so much more.

The not-so-obvious reasons to have a website: More customers.

Would you like more customers for your local biz?

Would you like more customers for your local biz?

Maybe you didn’t know that you can actually get more people coming to your website than just those who happen to receive your business card or see your ad on TV.

Imagine, in your city there are tons of people who are interested in your business, who are really searching for someone with skills and services just like your own.

Wouldn’t you like to somehow get connected to those people? If the only way you’ve created to finding your website is by giving out a business card or doing a local advertisement, how can those other potential customers find out about your business?

How people find businesses nowadays…

Your customers are Googling you.

Can your customers find you in Google?

Well, most of the time when people are looking for a particular service, they will just Google the topic. They’ll type in something like “Denver dry cleaners”, or “London antique shops”, typing in the city and also the topic.

After that they’re greeted with a list of results. They click the results to look at the websites and see which site looks good to them.

Most of the time the website that is listed first in the list will get looked at the most and get the most business.

So, this is a different way for a customer to find you–

Previously, when you used your website address in local ads and business cards, the person coming to your site was already aware of your business, and they manually typed your web address into Google to find your site. They specifically sought out your site.

But when someone does a search in Google for “London antique shops”, the person is not specifically searching for your business. They don’t even know who you are or that your business exists.

They are trusting Google to provide them with a list of recommended businesses, listed in order with the ones most likely to meet their expectations as the top of the list.

Google is like a business referral service.

For a business owner with a website, Google can become like an business referral service.

People go to Google and say, “Hi Google–Can you tell me what is the best antique shop in London?”.

And then Google says, “Oh sure–let me give you a list of my top picks. Look at the ones listed at the top first–those are the ones I think have the most chance of being what you’re looking for.”

It helps to think of Google as the most influential “person” on the planet who can send referrals to your business via your website.

Google is like a busy intersection.

Google is a busy intersection

Google is like a busy intersection.

Or here’s another metaphor:

You know that when you are setting up a brick and mortar local business, location is paramount.

If you set up your business in an isolated area, your customers will be limited to those who already know that you’re there or who randomly and accidentally find you.

That’s not good–you don’t want your business to be isolated. Ideally it would be located in a well populated part of town, preferably at a busy intersection where lots of people hang out.

The same is true for your website on the internet. You have a website, but to get the most customers you want your website to be located in the most popular part of the internet, in the “busy intersection” so to speak.

On the internet, the busy intersection is Google.

If you can get your website positioned prominently in Google, your website will get more visitors. More visitors translates into more customers.

Getting Google’s attention…

May I have your attention, please?

May I have your attention, please?

Okay, let’s talk about this–

How can you get listed high on Google’s business referrals list (this would be the list that people are greeted with when they type in ‘London antique dealer’ or whatever your location and topic is)?

How can you get your business (website) positioned prominently at the busy intersection that is Google?

The answer to both of these questions is the same. You must market your website.

Learning to market your own website.

You may be thinking, “Market my website? Oh no–That sounds technical and way over my head.”

Please let me assure you–it does not have to be complicated and mind-numbing. There is a way that you can market your own website by just using the skills that you already have and sharing your own expertise in your field.

You do not have to learn any coding or HTML or anything technical like that.

There is one type of website marketing that is suitable to all ages and is extremely user friendly.

It’s called Article Marketing.

It’s an extremely effective tried and true marketing tool that virtually anyone can do. If you like writing about your field and teaching your potential customers, it can be downright enjoyable!

I think we’ve covered enough for today. We’ll pick up next time with a more in depth explanation of what article marketing is and how to do it.

For now, I leave you with this question:

Do you have a new appreciation for your website and the potential it has for impacting your business and bringing in more customers?

Related resources:

How can Article Marketing help my local business?

What are links and how do you get them?

Photo credits:

Fruit and vegetable shop owner by Lightmash

Cozy Coffee shop by John Piercy

Busy Intersection by David Vincent Johnson

Megaphone by altemark


NOTE: Please be aware this content may now be outdated. For the latest quality content on how to build massive publicity for your website, please go to The vWriter Blog - Helping Businesses Grow Traffic, Build Engagement, and "Be Everywhere"


6 Responses to “Local Business Owners: What is the purpose of your website?”

  1. Dwayne says:

    So true, so many business have website’s that just sit there just so they can say they have one…

    -D

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