Building a Local Business Website
Posted on Dec 12, 2016 by Chris Fickling
How to build a local business website that will perform well in search engines and generate inquiries.
Last year a friend approached me about building a website for her curtains, blinds and soft furnishing business. Karen was completely new to the internet and unsure where to start. I was very happy to get involved and even happier to know that I had a free hand to create an internet presence for a new business at a local level and also embrace the challenge of getting this business positioned well in search engines, for a phrase that we agreed would bring her a reasonable amount of business.
New Business, New Website - Where to Start?
As Karen had never owned a business or a website before, she was very open to my ideas and between us we came up with a business name and I came up with a few logo ideas and checked to make sure our desired domain name was available.
We chatted for a while and I learned a little about the way that Karen works: she's a very experienced curtain maker and has worked for some discerning clients, making curtains, blinds and soft furnishings for show homes and luxury properties throughout Nottingham and the East Midlands.
Together we identified the pages we'd need on the site and some basic page titles. We also sourced stock images and mixed these with some photos Karen had taken of previous projects she'd undertaken.
From there it was down to me to thread the site together (forgive the pun!) by coming up with a straightforward and easily navigable site mixed with the right feel and good imagery.
Building a Website with Search Engine Positioning in Mind
It might sound obvious but we should build websites for humans first! So a website that's easy to use, pleasant to look at and would appeal to our intended target audience was my first set of considerations. There are plenty of websites out there that meet that criteria so how do we make this one stand out? It's a simple answer: we have to make sure that people can find it.
To do this we have to make sure we give search engines every opportunity to index the content of the site and present results to potential customers who are searching for a particular service or product.
I started by...
- Identifying the main phrase we wanted to get found for.
- Identifying the geographical area we are targeting.
This gave me the phrase "Curtain Makers Nottingham"
Sounds simple but that is just the beginning - from there we need to get several things right to appeal to search engines...
We need to write good, relevant copy and properly structure that copy. This involves writing unique and inspiring text that is divided into reasonably short paragraphs, separated by descriptive headings. The first heading on the page is the most important followed closely by a paragraph of text that succinctly describes the services or products that page offers. good for humans and good for search engines.
We need to be consistent with contact information and include an address. Again, that might sound obvious but there are ways of structuring contact information and geographical information that can make all the difference to search engine positioning. A good article about using 'schema' to make your website more visible can be found here: https://schema.org/docs/gs.html
Will this get us on to page 1 of search engines?
Not yet! What I did in this case was to concentrate on copy, write some blog posts about projects that Karen had completed and I also contacted some key fabric makers (William Morris / Sanderson) to get permission to be able to use their images in blog posts that commented on new trends.
So what were the key things we did to get Karen's website onto page 1 for our chosen key phrase?
- Research the relevant key phrase
- Write relevant text
- Structure the website in such a way as to be appealing to search engines and humans
- Build for mobile / handheld devices
Sounds simple but if that's the case why are so many of Karen's competitors struggling to get onto page 1?
The short answer is that they don't fulfill the four key points above.
I pride myself in taking great care about the way I build websites and the research I carry out for each site I build. Talk to me about how I can unlock the potential of your business by building a search-engine-friendly website, optimised for your potential customers and local area.
So how did Karen's website work out?
Grange Curtains and Blinds is now about 18 months old and at the time of writing is positioned high on page 1 of Google for the phrase "Curtain Makers Nottingham" and also "Made to Measure Curtains Nottingham". Karen is busy making curtains!