So you've set up a website for your business, and you even have a Blog. But now what? How do you turn this new website into a continuous stream of new customers for your business?
Well, there are a lot of things you can do next. But if I had to pick only 5, here's what they would be:
1) Claim Your Google Places Page
If you are a business with a physical address, claim your Google Places page and completely fill it out. The more descriptive and complete you can be, the better. And take special care in choosing your categories, because they will determine which keywords your business will show up for in the Google Places search results.
You should also claim your Bing, Yahoo and Yelp local listings, using the exact same business name, address and phone number as you used for your Google Places Page. While you're at it, you should claim a Foursquare page for your business too.
- Workarounds for Google Places Verification
- Optimising Your Google Places
- Google Places #1: How To Get A Red Balloon In 10 Steps
2) Create Your Content Plan
Google likes sites with fresh, unique content. So you need to have a plan for how you are going to update your website regularly. Plan out your next 10 article topics and release one every week at the minimum. If you're too busy to write them, hire a copywriter to get it done for you. If your website is based on WordPress, you can schedule these to be published automatically over time.
Think about topics that your customers have questions around. For example, if you are a chiropractor, what are the top 10 questions or concerns new patients have? Write an article about each one of those.
These articles will help you rank for many extra search terms, and keep Google and Bing crawlers coming back to your site every time you publish new content.
- Get Your Own Content Development Process With This 4 Step Action Plan
- Using An Editorial Calendar For Your Blog
- How To Write So It Matters
3) Get Some Links!
To get your site to rank, you need links from other sites that Google respects.
If you are a local business, get links from your Better Business Bureau, Chamber of Commerce, suppliers, partners and friends. If you know a college student, get a link from their .edu website. Find hyper-local blogs that cover your city, neighborhood or area and provide articles for them, and include a link to your website in the article.
Getting these links is critical to your website ranking for local searches.
- 5 Practical Link Building Strategies for Local Businesses
- Link Building: Beginner's Introduction to Basic Concepts
- On Page Optimization Tips for Local Businesses
4) Set Up Google Analytics
Google provides a free tool to help you measure how well your website is working. It is called Google Analytics, and it can provide a treasure trove of information. Once this is set up, you can measure how many people are coming to your website every day, which keywords they are using to find it, which pages they are interacting with the most, and lots of other valuable information.
With this in place, you can measure the impact of your marketing investments, and determine the effect they are having on your website traffic and conversions. You could also verify your website in Google Webmaster Tools to get even more insights about how your website is performing in the search results.
- How to Set Up Your Google Analytics Account Structure to Avoid Headaches Later
- Google Analytics Profile Architecture for Dummies
- Google Analytics Filter Best Practices
5) Mobile Enable Your Website
This year, more Internet-enabled mobile devices were sold than PCs. Look around you – everyone seems to have an iPhone, iPad or Android smartphone. But if someone visits your website with their mobile device, do you show them a page formatted specifically for the device, or land them in "pinch and zoom hell?"
Studies show that mobile visitors are more "goal oriented" than people who visit your website from their desktop or laptop. They spend less time on your website, and view less pages. And mobile connections are usually much slower.
So you need to make it easy for them to find what they want – fast. If you are a local business they are probably looking for your phone number, directions to your business, or business hours. Make sure your website automatically detects mobile visitors and delivers them pages that help them call you or find you.
Ok, there are a lot more things to do after you get your website in place. What else do YOU recommend? Let's make this post and the comments a collection of all the best ideas. I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Don is President of Expand2Web, where he writes about WordPress for business and local search marketing. He also created GetFiveStars - a tool for business owners to encourage feedback and positive reviews from their customers.