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businesses can be characterized by a lack of a professional website, minimal social media engagement, and reliance on outdated forms of communication like AOL or Gmail email addresses.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.

 

Existing Website Maintenance, Audit, & Enhancement Plan

Existing website work

This post is all about how I help clients with their existing websites. If you are a fellow web developer reading this, use it for ideas on how to serve more people. My mission is to help businesses achieve more through their web presence.

If your curious about how I can help you with your website, send me a message. Below are some ways I will serve you.

Content updates & maintenance

I try to be a company’s go-to guy that can be called whenever anything comes up with their website.

If someone has a website, even if it is a static brochure site, it will eventually need help. It could be small content updates to reflect inevitable changes to the business. Or, one day something goes wrong. The website suddenly doesn’t work at all. Maybe someone notices something broken, be it major or minor. I want them to think of me and know that I can help.

There’s some businesses that regularly make content updates themselves using a CMS (like WordPress, Wix, Shopify, etc.). They could need occasional help with customizations, CMS or plugin update issues, and more. I let clients know that when issues arise, I’m just a text message away.

Audit & enhancement

A client usually requests this service in the form of a complaint: “My website is too slow”, “I’m not getting enough sales/conversions/leads from my website”. My response is to do a formal audit and analysis. The result includes recommendations for improvement and an estimate (time/price) for implementation.

Other times, clients do not even know that there is a potential risk (security issues) or unrealized upside (UX issues) that needs attention. Providing those insights with empathy and transparency helps businesses see that value. Below is a list of audit types I offer:

  • Security: Is your website secure? Does it use https? Is WordPress up-to-date? Is your site vulnerable to being taken over by hackers?
  • Accessibility: Is your website usable for people with disabilities? Many businesses don’t realize that this is a legal requirement under the ADA.
  • SEO: Technical SEO, optimization, and more
  • Design UI/UX: Does your website look like it’s stuck in the past? How does it perform on different mobile devices? Is there brand consistency? Is the user experience the best that it can be? Maybe it is slow and bloated from plugins/integrations and needs a refresh.

Once we figure out what needs attention, I can create a plan and strategy to enhance your website. We can take it one step and a time, and focus on what will have the greatest impact for you and your business. You can read more about my process for web development with freelance clients in another post.

steps to handling a web development client

Preemptive audits to win new clients

I approach clients (existing or perspective) with a value proposition from a place of wanting to give. This is especially true for small businesses that appear to be leaving honey 🍯  on the table.

My process for engaging a new client, especially cold ones, is to review their website and make note of any obvious improvements. One example is using a generic email address (ExampleBusiness@gmail.com) instead of their own domain. Others include broken 404 links and bad mobile UX.

Google Chrome’s built in Lighthouse feature helps me to highlight low performance in existing websites of potential clients.

low performing lighthouse scores for a small business

Screaming Frog SEO Spider is another utility that I use to identify (and pitch) improvements to new client web projects.

 

Training & education

Sometimes, managers and stakeholders want to know how things work or how to make some changes themselves. That’s why I offer technical training, education, and tutoring.

Your business might have a designer or marketer that is ready to add some tech skills to the mix. I can help with that too. Contact me about the personalized tech training that I offer.

Disaster recovery & best practices

When a tech disaster happens you need to have a plan for recovery. Do you have backups? What is the RPO and RTO for your organization when “the business is on fire”? Work with me to be prepared in these situations. I apply proven strategies and make sure your digital presence is resilient.

A moment of preparation is worth a week of remediation. Sailing ahead of the storm is possible by following best practices  How does your organization manage passwords and credentials? What apps do your employees use? Knowing the right questions is the only way to build valuable answers.