As promised in the December 2017 issue of Pro Contractor News, we're back to offer up more advice to help you with an increasingly important aspect of your business -- building website traffic. We'll likely revisit this topic yet again next year.
Without further ado, here are five tips to help you leverage the web to build your business.
Focus on Local Search: Because your business is likely only targeting a small geographic area, you need to focus on local search vs. general search. For instance, if you're based in Red Deer, Alberta, winding up on the search results of a prospective customer who lives in Red Cliff, Colorado won’t do you much good.
Experts suggest that for general search engine optimization (SEO) purposes, it's a must to sign up for Localworks, Yahoo's small business directory. Packages are currently on sale, starting as low as US$8.25 per month, allowing you to control your business information that's listed on Yahoo Local and six other directories.
Those that swear by this service say that where they scored on search terms for their business shoots up the rankings after the listing is approved. Registering your site on these various directories is certainly part of Google's weighting of your domain.
It's easy to register, and is a fine investment that should pay for itself very quickly in the form of qualified traffic and leads.
Start a Podcast: Many state that podcasts are given even more weight on search engines than blogs are. This is a perfect opportunity for you to: (a) establish yourself as an expert in the industry, perhaps even improving your chances of being profiled by the media; (b) provide relevant content to your potential audience; (c) expand your brand while increasing your opportunity of being discovered by new clients in a new forum; and (d) improve your SEO rankings.
That sounds like a lot of positive benefits for something that shouldn't take more than an hour of your time periodically. Ideally, you'll do a weekly podcast, but even if it's less frequent, you'll likely see some traction by keeping this up over time.
Look the Part: Another little-known trick of scoring higher in SEO rankings (therefore gaining more web traffic), is to look the part of a Fortune 500 company. Apparently, some experts maintain that Google places more weight on sites that have the same level of professionalism than those owned by big companies. Chances are, the heavier the investment you make on your site in terms of making it look as good as possible, the more the return you can expect. Apparently, it’s not completely all robots and spiders crawling your site; experts say that there are people who actually evaluate the page.
Create a YouTube channel: One of the top social media tools to drive traffic is YouTube, so we recommend that you create a channel and start posting videos. DIY tips that show your expertise will work, but keep them short -- three minutes or less -- because people's attention spans are short. DIY videos will work on two levels: (a) you'll be viewed as noble for sharing valuable information, creating goodwill for your business; and; (b) it's likely to convince many prospects that they don't want to try it themselves and are better off hiring you to do it for them.
You'll also be able to show how much you care in the videos, so be sure to have a good mix of educational/problem-solving and entertainment value in each segment. And don't forget to put your website URL at the bottom of the video so it's always visible.
This is probably the most effective and easiest way to drive traffic. Videos don't have to be Francis Ford Coppola quality; just clean. Find a teenager that knows how to do videos and get them to shoot and edit it for you. Don't want to star in it yourself? Fine, put someone else in.
Another idea is to take videos of your customers enjoying what you built for them. If you did some landscaping, for instance, record the wife and kids in the yard in front of your work. Think about where your customers are and what's going to get their attention.
Take a Multi-Channel Approach: Use a blog and YouTube to drive traffic to your site and use Twitter to let your followers know when you have a new post or video. Populate the blog with little burst articles about things that are probably going to get searched on: painting a kitchen, or painting a bathroom (the headaches of doing so because they can be so tiny).