When you are in web design, one of the most common things you get asked is “How can people find my site?” While I’m no SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Expert, I’ve learned over the years of some pretty solid ways to have your clients find your website.
1) Take advantage of your industry directories and list your website there. For example, let’s say you run a Waldorf preschool in NorthEast Portland (in fact, one of my clients does exactly this!). Since you just want Portland parents who are interested in this type of school, it’s important to find different directories that parents would look at. There’s a few Portland Parent guides online and in print. Often, simply getting listed online is free, but you typically have to pay to be in printed magazines and directories.
Along similar lines, be sure you also have a Google Businesses Account set up. This is what you most commonly see when you are looking up a business online. Google Businesses is a free listing, similar to a Yellow pages listing. You can usually list your address, work hours, website, and phone number. Recently Google made these listing very mobile friendly as well which is helpful since so many website still struggle having their website look decent on a tablet or smartphone.
2) Get on Google Plus. It may not be as sexy as Facebook or as trendy as Twitter, and it clearly never took off like Google wanted it to. But here’s the thing: Google is the king of how things are searched and if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the many years in the industry, it’s that there’s a surprisingly high reward for using Google-produced tools. Google+ is one of their many available. I personally just set up two identities through Google+, one for my personal use and one for business. Whenever I want to share a blog post, an announcement, or something news worthy, I post it on the usually social media (FB and Twitter) and Google+. I know by doing this my search results are better because I got a client last summer who did a search for “WordPress web designers Portland” and found my Google+ post where I interviewed a web designer colleague. It came up on the first page! How’s that for being powerful?
3) Good old press releases are always good to fall back on. As a business you have lots of news to share and media sources are always in need of your news. Newsworthy items are new employees, new location, new services, etc.
You can sign up through HelpAReporter.com and get daily emails for reporters looking for a certain type of news or to interview people about any topic. I’ve known many folks to be interviewed for national magazines through that list.
4) Utilize your Neighborhood Papers. Make sure to talk to your neighborhood papers about sharing news about your business. The same preschool teacher I mentioned earlier wrote a special column in her neighborhood paper to get exposure for her preschool as well as share her knowledge about special crafts for preschools and tips/tricks with managing summer and holiday times. By letting the parents in the community that she was a Preschool teacher who loved making crafts and food with kids and also guiding them through Mindful parenting, she was seen as an expert and attracted the right type of parents who would want to enroll their child in their school.
5) Podcasts are becoming extremely popular, growing 23% between 2015 and 2016. Their accessibility means it’s easier than ever to listen to them at home and in transit; today they’re becoming a more common media to share information and entertainment. One thing is that podcasters are always looking to interview people, especially business owners. One podcast I listen to called “Breaking Down your Business” has to be super creative how they find their guests and even do a call out on the show for business owners. I called in with advice last winter, and I was featured on the show along with my website.
6) Bonus: Making your website mobile-friendly. How do you know if your website is responsive? Grab a smart phone and look for yourself. Is the menu stacked and easy to view. Do the pages re-size and is the font easy to read? Are there buttons you can easily click on and aren’t too small?
Just a year ago Google started ranking websites that weren’t responsive lower in searches and with over 50% of your clients (no matter who you are) using their smartphone to view sites, you absolutely need to have your website mobile-friendly if you want to be found.
This is just a small selection of ways your website can be found. The more creative and open to learning which marketing techniques you are, the more you can adapt and grow your business. I promise it will become easier, and even be entertaining to do, with a bit of practice!