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Websites for Small Business: How to Get Noticed in One Hour a Day

Rick Orford
Rick Orford
Author at The Financially Independent Millennial

It's not enough just to have a website; small business owners need to think about how to get more visits to their websites. Here are some ways to do it in just an hour a day.

First, congratulations on starting (or thinking about starting) a small business. No doubt, this is an exciting time. You might have dozens of ideas to grow and market your services. Naturally, I wouldn't be surprised if one of the first things you thought about was creating a website. If there's one thing the pandemic has taught us, it's that it's more important than ever to have a website. But it's not 1999 – simply putting up a website won't get you noticed.

I started my first "real" business in 2004. At the time, I leveraged my skill set and created one of the world's first web hosting companies. Naturally, I, too, needed a website. However, what worked back then is not what works today. According to a recent report, there are more than 1.5 billion active websites on the internet. (That's not even to mention the 85% of domains that are inactive.) So, how do you stand out among 1.5 billion other websites?

Business owners starting a website in 2021 need to wake up, because getting their website noticed requires a multipronged approach. Also, it doesn't matter what your business offers. For this article, I'll assume that you sell inground swimming pools, and you can substitute the niche for whichever business you're in. You'll discover methods I use for my blog, which focuses on how to become financially independent, and other small business owners' experiences in getting the word out. I'll also give you a bonus that you can use to get some viral attention. Each of these projects requires ongoing work, but you can accomplish each of them in under one hour a day.

Building up your SEO

Search engine optimization is by far the most crucial aspect small business owners need to focus on to get more website isitors. SEO is the process of optimizing a website so that search engines will find it. The goal is to get on the first page for your keyword, ideally in the top three results. SEO is a long-term investment that initially costs more than ads but pays off in the end.  

Blogging

Search engines love content and lots of it. The more content a website has, the higher the chances it'll rank for keywords. Use a blog as an opportunity to show off what you know. Start by breaking down your niche into subtopics, and write about them. For example, if you sell inground swimming pools, take an hour to write an article like one of these:

  • "Things to Look Out for When Buying an Inground Swimming Pool"
  • "How Big Should Your Swimming Pool Be?"  
  • "What to Look for in a Swimming Pool Contractor"

You can even expand and create an after-sale "maintenance" section. There, you could write articles such as these:

  • "How to Clean Your Swimming Pool"
  • "Ways to Keep Your Pool From Turning Green"
  • "My Swimming Pool Filter Is Clogged – How Do I Fix It?"

The idea is to give people quick answers to the questions they're asking search engines. This builds trust in your brand. Then, they will call you if they want more.

Local SEO

Small businesses that serve a local market need to leverage local SEO. Continuing from the previous swimming pool example, if you type "inground swimming pools" in Google, you'll find national companies with multimillion-dollar budgets, all competing for clicks. Here's where local SEO comes to the rescue.  

Instead of optimizing your website for "inground swimming pools," optimize it for the city or town where you do business. You'll find it far easier to get noticed on Google if your website is optimized for "inground swimming pools in Palm Springs." This will narrow the competition and give you a better chance of getting noticed in your community.

Small businesses looking to focus on local SEO need to set up a Google My Business account. It will collect information about your business to display to people looking for you. Further, it will show all your customer reviews (so keep this aspect in mind!).

Engaging your audience on social media

Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay. Tweets, snaps and IMs all play an ongoing role in your website's visibility. But how do you manage it all?

Facebook

Setting up a Facebook business page takes minutes and packs a powerful punch. There, you can include your store hours, information about what you sell, and a call to action ("visit our website," "set up a call," etc.). You can also use the page to share your blog posts and before-and-after images of your inground swimming pools.  

To keep your audience engaged, post consistently. A daily post takes just a few minutes and reminds potential customers what you offer. 

Instagram

Instagram is primarily about sharing images and popular with a younger audience. You can start an account and connect your Facebook page to share the same before-and-after images. If you share great content, you'll build a following and get noticed. [Read related article: 15 Instagram Marketing Tips for Business]

YouTube

YouTube requires extra work but can make a world of difference to a small business. You don't need a Hollywood-style movie to make it on YouTube. You can take short videos using your smartphone, then stitch them together using an inexpensive video editor to demonstrate something to your viewer.  

People on YouTube look for one of two things: entertainment or education. As a swimming pool installer, you could educate viewers looking to learn about pools.  

In the pool example, here are some things you could create videos about:

  • How the hole is dug
  • How to maintain the pump
  • Basic swimming pool maintenance

To supercharge your SEO strategy, you can add the videos to your blog posts and share them on your social channels.

Twitter

Tell the world what you're doing – in 280 characters or less. Tweeting your latest blog posts, pictures, and videos takes just a minute and helps to grow your audience. It's also something you can easily do daily.  

Reviews

Online reviews are crucial. If someone is going to spend $25,000 on a swimming pool, they will ask around to make sure their chosen company will do the job correctly, on time and on budget. The same goes for pretty much any business. So, don't be afraid to ask your past customers to leave reviews on your social media, Google or your website.  

Bonus: Running giveaways

One of the best ways to draw attention to a website is to host a giveaway. A viral giveaway can be one of the most effective tools to boost your SEO, grow your email list, gain more followers on social media, and, most importantly, land more clients and customers. The problem is that many small businesses fail to execute giveaways properly and only scratch the surface of what is possible. 

Launching a giveaway campaign can be reasonably simple. You choose an item to give away, such as a product, gift card, or some cool swag. Then, you can let a third-party program handle the rest. Programs such as KingSumo Giveaways and SweepWidget not only host your giveaway, but also handle the logistics, legal fine print, and terms of service.

Over 200 sweepstakes websites list your giveaway to drive awareness for your business and the product you are giving away. By listing your sweepstakes on these sites, you not only get your campaign in front of thousands of people, but you are also building excellent links back to your website, boosting your short- and long-term SEO. 

Small business owners looking to get their websites noticed need to do more to get visits. By spending just an hour a day on a marketing strategy that involves blogging and other content creation, and sharing that content to social media, just about any business owner can draw attention to their brand in 2021.

Image Credit: Prostock-Studio / Getty Images
Rick Orford
Rick Orford
business.com Member
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Rick is a highly motivated business leader, financial tactician, and author of The Financially Independent Millennial. He has a proven track record as a respected, influential business leader, and brings a proven ability to translate vision into reality. Born raised in Vancouver, Canada, Rick is fluent in both English and French and is currently working on his Italian. He is an energetic business person who values honesty and integrity. Rick has is an entrepreneur at heart and started his first business at just 8 years old! But, it wasn’t until the age of 24 when he started his first tech company. A few years later, he sold his business for a significant sum. As you can read in the book, Rick nearly spent all the money! Then, in 2007, Rick, with his partner, became pioneers in the VoIP industry, by offering a business phone service that would work from anywhere. Their business became wildly successful having clients of all types, including large publicly traded companies in the US. At this same time, Rick was an elected director of a credit union, partially responsible for a portfolio of deposits exceeding 200M. Being on the board of directors gave Rick inside knowledge of the mortgage and lending business! Further, through the years, Rick bought, maintained, and improved a significant portfolio of income-generating real estate in British Columbia. In 2012-2013, Rick became involved in a number of strategic acquisitions in the VoIP industry that helped added significant value to their company. Following this path, their company was acquired by an American ISP in 2014 and allowed Rick to become financially independent and retired early (FIRE) at the age of 35. Rick’s experience in M&A, Banking, & Real Estate has given him an extensive network of business people, to collaborate with, from all over the world. In 2018, Rick wrote The Financially Independent Millennial as a way to inspire his readers with his story, about despite dropping out of high school, he became financially independent at the age of 35. His book is easy to read, and often refers to key points that “He would tell his younger self”. When not thinking about business, Rick writes for his travel blog, is an enthusiast of fast cars, technology, cooking, and wine.