Don’t Be Invisible: A Website Puts Your Small Business on the Map

small business websites

Local small businesses without a brick-and-mortar presence fall into a unique category. They might be service-based businesses like freelance consultants (like myself), home repair services, personal trainers, or cleaning services that operate on a mobile basis or from a home office. These businesses rely heavily on word-of-mouth, local advertising, and community networking to attract and maintain their clientele.

Because this business model does not require a physical storefront, these owners may underestimate the value of a digital presence. They might perceive it as unnecessary, believing that their local reputation and personal customer relationships are sufficient for business growth and sustainability. Consequently, they may neglect their online visibility, not realizing the potential reach and efficiency gains from digital tools.

The digital gap for these businesses can be characterized by a lack of a professional website, minimal social media engagement, and reliance on outdated forms of communication like AOL or Gmail email addresses. While this might maintain a certain level of operation, it limits their ability to scale, reach new markets, and ultimately leaves honey on the table.

By not leveraging the digital space, these businesses miss out on the opportunity to build brand awareness beyond their immediate locality, engage with customers online, and streamline their operations through digital tools (customer management). As a result, they might struggle to compete with others who adopt a more integrated approach to physical and digital business practices.

Cleaning website design

Professional Image: Elevate Your Brand

Your website can be the first point of contact between your business and potential customers. Just as you wouldn’t attend a party in pajamas, you shouldn’t let your online presence be represented by a dated AOL email address or non-existent web page. A sleek, user-friendly website tells customers that you are a serious professional who invests in all aspects of your business. I can help you do it right with a custom domain and business email address.

Some businesses rely on on a third-party subdomain or a link-in-bio service. While these options may seem convenient and cost-effective in the short term, it looks unprofessional. It is harder for customers to remember and doesn’t carry the same weight of brand authority as a standalone domain. It’s like to setting up shop in someone else’s store.

Using a personal @aol.com or @gmail.com email address for business communications can inadvertently signal a lack of professionalism and an outdated approach to business. I can assist you in transitioning to a custom domain email that reinforces your credibility. Too often, I walk around and see businesses make the mistake of thinking this detail doesn’t matter.

Testimonials & Social Validation

Word-of-mouth is powerful, but in the digital age, testimonials and portfolios on your website can reach further and speak louder. They serve as a perpetual source of validation for your work, allowing potential customers to see the breadth and quality of your services at any time. It’s the online equivalent of a recommendation from a trusted friend, accessible to everyone, everywhere.

Logo

Having a logo that fits your business image goes beyond digital space. I can show you tips and details for getting it right and making work across online  and print platforms.

A sample web design logo

Organic & Paid Search (Unclaimed Digital Territory)

If you’re running a business without a website and have been relying solely on traditional methods, it’s time to unlock new opportunity. Customers are searching for your service right now!

Organic search refers to the natural listings on search engine results pages (like Google or Bing) that appear because of their relevance to the search terms, as opposed to being advertisements. By not having a website, you’re missing out on the chance to appear in these listings—a place where a significant portion of your potential customers start their journey.

And, this is another reason to get setup with your own domain name if you’re currently using something like Bitly. Search engines like Google give more credibility to websites with a clear, branded domain name, which can significantly impact your search rankings and, by extension, your visibility to potential customers.

On the flip side, paid search advertising allows your website to jump to the top of search results by paying for prime placement. Paid search campaigns through platforms like Google Ads can be tailored to target the exact demographic you want to reach, with the ability to adjust for location, language, and more.

If you’re ready to explore the untapped potential of online search, let’s chat. I’m here to guide you through every step of the journey.

Who needs a website?

A website is your digital calling card and can be a sales generator if we do it right. Here are some of the top industries that I’ve helped grow online:

  • Restauraunt websites: Enjoy commision-free online ordering. With enticing designs and easy navigation, your patrons can effortlessly browse menus, book tables, and more.
  • E-commerce websites: Expand your business horizons by selling online.
  • Wedding websites: Share your love story, manage RSVPs, provide event details, and create lasting memories for you and your guests.
  • Martial arts school websites: Enroll students online, share class schedules, highlight events, and build a digital community.
  • Real Estate websites: Highlight property listings with interactive galleries, virtual tours, and advanced search filters.

 

Writing, engineering, and creativity

writing resources

It was 2006 and I had just installed WordPress on a web server. I would draft blog posts nightly, before getting ready for bed. At the time I was a philosophy major and wrote prose more than code. That was my first venture into web development and digital marketing. It started with writing.

Writing blog posts and publishing software have a lot in common. For both, “perfect” is the opposite of ready. It’s easy to keep editing your own work. It’s even easier to keep adding half-done features and clutter. That’s why having a plan before you start helps so much. When I write, my first draft tends to be bullet points and a vague outline. The same goes for software. If I’m building something complex, I write comments explaining its functionality before any code. It’s my way of “thinking out loud”, and making sure that what I plan on doing even makes sense.

It’s been over a decade since I’ve maintained a blog. Creative tasks require hard work, lest they bear no fruit. (“Writer’s block is for amateurs”). Problem solving, in its many shapes, is the highest form of creativity. It’s how we build our reality. Modern technology gives us creative leverage through tools, knowledge, and community. We’re being given opportunities to build and create things, to grow and be better, at an unprecedented scale. It’s the best time in history to be CEO of your own life; creative director of your destiny. This also sets the bar higher to stand out.

My plan here is to write regularly, and discuss what I’ve been working on and learning, as well as what’s next. This gives me a chance to explore my thoughts, and prune the branches from which they stem. Hopefully, working at this will help to make me a better storyteller too. This blog is my notes and stories from the field, on the ground!