Many local businesses have websites.
But something that’s very common is for those business owners and managers to be frustrated with their website.
They have the site designed and coded and launched. After a few months they’re not getting any traffic. They wonder if they hired the wrong design agency.
Maybe the business even has a good following on social media or has some great online reviews, but is still not getting any calls or leads from the website.
What’s going on?
Here are some ways to improve your local business website so you get the leads you want.
1. Redo Your Content
When we have a website created for us we often think about the design.
And design is very important. Very important.
If someone lands on your website and the design doesn’t appeal to them then they’ll probably leave instantly without even reading the content.
But don’t discount that content…
In fact, you could say that without content that you won’t get people coming to your website in the first place. So even if you have a great design it wouldn’t matter anyway.
And let’s say you do get traffic (maybe paid online advertising) and you do have a great looking site.
Now it’s time for your content to make the sale.
But content is not easy to write. I’ve seen it. Business owners often think the designer will write the content. But how is the designer supposed to know those details about your website? And even if they do they often aren’t copywriters.
I think you should have the content for your site ready before you do the design. Most designers prefer it too.
Here is how you write content for your website.
Start with your sales process. The entire process your customer goes through from discovery to handing you cash. You probably go through this process all day everyday in person.
Take an hour and write down each step. This is the baseline for your website content.
Why does this work?
Because your website is your online salesperson.
Here’s another tip.
Use the language your customer uses. Start asking every new customer what sparked their need to call you or to hire you or to buy from you. Did they search for something online? What did they need?
You might be surprised by the terms they use. They’re often different from yours. That’s because you’re deeply entrenched in the industry. Your customer probably isn’t.
You might think you’re a gastropub, but what customer is searching for that? They’re looking for the best burgers and beer in the city. Use their language.
2. Consistently Refine Your Content
Sorry to be the one to tell you this, but the content is never “done” on your website.
It’s painful for many business owners to write the content once. But the reality is that you’re always learning more about your business. More about your sales process. More about your customers.
Every 6 to 12 months, sit down and go through the same process described in #1.
You won’t have to start from scratch, but you’ll be surprised at how many tweaks you can make. And each tweak will be for the better.
3. Create Ongoing Content
A static site might work to a degree, but think of it from Google’s perspective.
They need signals (proof) that you’re the best result for your industry.
You’re the best burger joint in town? Prove it.
Reviews can prove it. More on that later.
But Google needs other signals. They need more content.
A content strategy is a great way to earn the trust of your target customers.
A content strategy is simple. Identify the questions your customers are asking and provide the answers with content on your website (and off your site too).
It could be a blog, a podcast, a video series, etc.
Off your site it could be on social media or in forums or in comments on local newspaper sites.
If you’re a B2C, answer questions your customers are asking about their lives.
If you’re a B2B, answer questions your customers are asking about their jobs.
Don’t answer questions about your business. Those are better for the main website pages. Answer more general questions.
Don’t answer, “How much does your burger cost?”.
Answer the question, “What makes a great burger?”.
Do it consistently. At least once a week and probably more.
Over time, you build content and that content earns engagement and gives Google the signals it needs to trust your website. And that leads to better rankings for your content and your main website pages.
4. Make Sure The Website Is Fast And Always Available
This is often an overlooked aspect of website design. It’s called user experience or UX. You want the site to be functional and fast. People don’t have time to wait for pages to load. If it takes more than a split second they’re gone.
If your site is slow talk to your designer. If they can’t fix it get another designer.
It might also need a better hosting plan. Your designer might be in charge of that. Talk to them about upgrading the speed.
5. Add Details To Local Directories
Now we get into a little offsite stuff that will get you more leads through your website.
The big local directory is Google My Business. Go through the steps to own your listing. Then fill out the description using the description you use on your own website. Get detailed about what you offer and what your customers can expect.
Add plenty of pictures of your business. People want to know where they’re going and what to expect when they get there. Pictures are important.
There are other local directories that are important. Even the Chamber of Commerce is an important one. Local newspapers often have directories.
Even local bloggers and social media influencers are important.
6. Use Offline Marketing To Drive Online Action
Everybody has their phone.
Let’s say you’re at a local charity event helping out. You’re providing the food.
Every visitor that samples your food will want to take some kind of action. They’re not at your local now, but tell them to visit your website. Tell them to google your business name. If you have it setup tell them the website is the fastest way to order. Or tell them that’s where your menu is located.
Maybe you repair computers. Tell people at local events that your website has the full list of services you offer along with prices. If they google it they’ll find everything they need.
The more you do that the more people will search for you.
More good signals for Google.
I feel your pain when it comes to your local business’s website. It’s a big investment. But just putting your site online likely won’t bring you the leads you’re expecting. It takes the right content along with the right content updating plan to set the site up for success. That along with an ongoing content strategy.
It’s more work than you might have expected, but because of that fact many businesses aren’t doing it. Including your competition. That’s an opportunity if you’re willing to take it.