There are many ways to promote a local small business online (eg. business directories, mapping services, social media such as Twitter and Facebook Pages etc).
Some business owners already have experience of a couple of these online methods – others don’t know where to start, or what their business might benefit from.
In this “patchwork quilt” of knowledge about online marketing, the most common want we find amongst local business owners, is for their own business website.
I totally agree with this thought.. the business website should be the core foundation of all their other online promotion activities.
Furthermore, their business website should be firmly under their publishing control. The business then knows what information their customers will be exposed to, if it recommends they visit.
The business can then confidently promote its website to all its customers (and not just those customers who are familiar and comfortable with social media services).
So how do we provide local small businesses with their own solid website like this?
Well.. for the software platform, we use WordPress. Not much of a surprise there.
The benefits of WordPress are now pretty well known:
- It’s very search engine friendly, with many in-built features that greatly help with search engine promotion.
- It’s a CMS (content management system), meaning that most of the website technical stuff we used to do manually (such as page navigation links and uploading to the internet), is handled automatically and instantly.
- There are thousands of themes and plugins for WordPress.
- And above all, WordPress is very easy to use – even for non-technical people to edit exisitng pages and create new pages, including picture upload.
Which brings me to our “mistake”..
Initially, we thought #4 would be what most small businesses really wanted.
As WordPress sites are so easy to edit (by just about anyone who can use a word-processor), we majored on the point that once we had set up their website, we would provide training on how to use it.
This would allow the business owner, or a staff member, to make their own changes to the website themselves, so reducing dependence on a third-party developer.
Or so we thought…
But so far, this has proved much less of an attraction than we thought.
A couple of local business owners have welcomed the training and immediately started to maintain the site themselves, using the WordPress admin dashboard.
Others however, are much keener to have ongoing maintenance and new content just done for them.
Of course, this is particularly good in one way… it means many clients are more than willing to pay recurring monthly fees for ongoing services!
(Here a some good thoughts from another blog on how to Design Your Website To Grab Your Visitor’s Attention)
Next articles in this series
Look out for later articles in this series. They will share further details of our consultancy services to help small businesses market on the internet.