SEO Checklist for Local Small Business Websites

If you’re a “local business” (i.e. plumber, painter, barbie doll house maker… ) and you have been wondering what kinds of things you can do to get more traffic to your website or move it up to Page 1 of Google search results, then you’ve come to the right place!
Please be aware that this is not meant to be an exhaustive list of all the things you can do. It is more like a list of fundamental building blocks of SEO.  Every site, at a minimum, should have these things in place.  So, on to the list.

SEO Checklist

Register your domain name for multiple years

Domain names are so cheap now—under $10—that there’s no reason you shouldn’t have your own domain name. (i.e. www.yourbusiness.com)  I interviewed a client once who insisted that is “free website” was good enough and he didn’t need his own domain name.  The problem was his domain name looked like this: http://www.merchantcircle.com/business/Your.Taxlady.719-548-4924.  And *that* my friends, is a hard website address to fit on a business card.  Not only that but it’s much more difficult to get a good search result ranking with an address like that.

Registering the domain for multiple years (instead of just one) also allows you to begin “aging” your domain name.  Basically, this is good because the older a domain name is, the more “weight” it is given by the search engines in rankings.  Yes, this is one of those times when Older is Better.

Pay for hosting

There are tons of hosting companies offering affordable plans for less than $10 per month. Assuming you are a “local business” reading this, you won’t likely ever have to worry about getting more traffic than your basic hosting company will allow. If you can swing it, I’d recommend you pay the $1 or so extra per month for a unique IP address. (Just tell your host that, they’ll know what it means.)

Set up an email address using your domain

Trust me on this. It looks much more professional for a business to have an email address with your business name in it than not. For example:  yourbusiness@gmail.com is not as good as yourname@yourbusiness.com.  Your host will have instructions on how to set up an email address. (It’s not that hard.)

Have a clean and simple website design

It is SO cheap now to have someone design a site for you. Places like 99designs.comelance.com and others will design a nice site for you for less than $100! If you want to do it even cheaper (and I generally recommend this), you can install a “blog” using WordPress for free!  The WordPress platform is so much more dynamic than a blog though. It’s easily customizable to look like sales page or a shopping cart or almost anything you can think of. You can go to sites like WooThemes and ThemeForest for inspiration and customized themes starting at $1. Just remember that when customers come to your site, their first impression of how professional you are depends on how professional-looking your site is.  If it looks sloppy or cheap, they’ll probably assume your work or services are the same—like it or not.

This is the end of Part 1 of the Series. Please let me know if this is helpful and/or comment about anything.

Comment below.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.