How long before my website starts to bring in business?

Giving your small business an online presence can be a very valuable tool for building new business.  More people than ever before are searching online for local businesses before ever stepping outside their homes.  Online search has become more popular than the Yellow Pages and in many cases, it can be much more affordable long term.

A professionally designed website can certainly help you grow your business, but it won’t happen automatically.  A common misconception is that as soon as a website is published, people will be able to easily find it using search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo.  The truth is, there is a lot of competition out there and getting your name on the top of the list is no small task.  Especially when you’re competing with other businesses who have been on top for years.

Try it.  Go to Google.com and act like you are a potential customer looking for a service you have to offer.  What will you type in?  I typed in web designer on Long Island.  When I look at the top of the page I see I got over 94 Million results. 94,000,000.  That’s a lot of competition to overcome!

How to overcome 94 million competitors

In the Internet world, content is key.  I can’t say that enough.  Just like location location location, I like to say content content content.  Write quality content to describe your products and services.  When people search the web for a local business, they want to know all about you.  What you offer, how you do it, what they can expect as a customer, etc.  They want to know how to contact you, how to get to you, and where to park.

The way search engines work is they are looking for keywords in your content.  If someone is looking for a web designer on Long Island, I need to include those words in my content several times.  I also need to include related words to show that my website is indeed relevant.  The algorithm Google uses is very complex and includes inbound links, domain age, meta tags (the stuff you don’t see when you’re looking at a website), but the most important factor is going to be your content.

How do I know what keywords to use when writing my website’s content?

There are many tools available to help determine what people are searching for when they are looking for local small businesses.  Google AdWords Keyword tool is one of my favorites.  It can tell you how many searches people have performed in the past month as well as the statistics for related searches.  I like to keep my search terms local.  I have a much better chance of attracting someone who is looking for a web designer on Long Island than I do just a web designer.  (web designer searched by itself returns more than 342 million results).

Since my target is small business, focusing on the keywords small business web design on Long Island produces even better results.

Specific niche keywords often perform the best over more broad terms.  Even though more people search for the broad terms like web designer, the chances of coming out on top for such a term are very small.  Focus your niche and bring in the people looking for a more specialized or local service to improve website performance.