Local Website Design for Local Businesses: The Step-by-Step Process

local website design for local businesses

A business doesn’t have to do e-commerce to benefit from having a professionally designed website. Most local brick-and-mortar businesses nowadays rely on their internet presence to connect with customers and bring them into the store. The majority of consumers are now searching for local products and companies before they shop or while they’re out. Without a website, a local business cannot hope to capture those potential customers.

If you run a local business and need to build a website or upgrade the one you have, there is help available. A local web designer who understands your business and your market is the best partner for the job. While the process of building a website is unique for each client, local web designers go through the following general steps.

Step One: Establish the Purpose of the Site and the Target Audience

The process of building a website begins with a conversation between the designer and the client. It is essential to discuss the goals of the business and the purpose of the site. A website is just one element of an overall marketing strategy, so the discussion needs to establish how the site should contribute to that strategy.

For example, will the website be used for e-commerce? Will it be used to develop an email marketing list by collecting information from users? Will it be a platform where the business can interact with customers? Will customers find the website when they use specific keywords in a Google search?

One of the keys to answering these questions is to know the target audience. A local web designer who is a member of the client’s community will have an in-depth understanding of the client’s target customers. This knowledge includes who they are, where they live, when they shop, and how they shop. These details are essential in customizing a website’s user experience for specific groups.

Step Two: Choose a Domain Name

Once the site’s purpose is established and the target audience or audiences defined, the next step in building a website for a local business is choosing a domain name. Though a relatively small detail, the right domain name, and URL will help customers find the site when they search.

For example, a great domain name is easy to spell and remember. Your domain should be short and descriptive, not too broad or too narrow in focus. The name should avoid numbers or unusual spellings that would make it hard for users to remember. A geotag, such as a city name, in the URL can help local customers find the site when searching for a nearby business.

A local web designer can help you choose a domain name that will positively represent your business and brand. In turn, this will help to improve your search engine page ranking.

Step Three: Select a Theme

A theme is a basic visual template that provides a distinct look and style to a website. A theme includes a background color or image, text styles, and the layout of text and images on the page. The theme of a website is a crucial design element because it needs to convey the business’s brand. It also needs to provide all of the information local customers need to find. This information would include the name of the business, its location, and its phone number. This information should be displayed consistently on every page within a website.

There are many pre-made themes available to choose from, and most can be customized. While it is possible to build your theme from scratch, there are benefits of using a pre-made theme. First is cost, having a theme built for you saves you the time of coding a site from the ground up. Second, a well-built theme should already be responsive and display well on all browsers.

A local web designer can either design an entirely new theme or customize an existing one. The theme should align with the website’s goals and work well for every customer. Since users tend to encounter similar sites over and over, opting for a unique design will help your website stand out and grab your customers’ attention.

Step Four: Design the Overall Structure of the Site and Build the Pages

The next step in building a website is the actual construction of the pages that will make up the site. This phase has to start with an overall plan for the site’s architecture. To make this plan, the web designer and client need to discuss what kind of content the site will feature. In addition to a home page, a website might include an about page, pages for each type of service or product, pages for each physical location, a blog, an FAQ, and an e-commerce component, to name a few.

The key to putting these elements together is to create a streamlined architecture. The architecture should be easy to navigate, both for human visitors and for search engines. Web designers need to consider how to categorize content, what menus and sub-menus to use, and where to place internal links from one page to another. Sub-menus are particularly valuable for targeting content to specific audiences (for example, customers at a particular location or shoppers interested in a specific category of products).

With well-constructed architecture, a website loads quickly will be easier to navigate and will be pleasing to the eye. When choosing a local design agency, it’s a good idea to look at other sites they have built and notice how they are structured.

Step Five: Make a Plan for Creating and Updating Content

In the past, many businesses published their websites as if they were print ads, merely displaying information on a single static page. Modern sites, however, are more comparable to magazines in that they publish fresh content regularly. Moreover, websites need to provide a call to action on every page, encouraging users to interact with the site by filling out a form, for example, or subscribing to a newsletter.

While a web designer does not typically create content for a client’s website, a local design agency can help with content creation in a couple of ways. First of all, a local website designer can offer insight regarding the types of images, videos, and articles that will work well to engage local customers. He or she may also be able to recommend local writing or editing professionals who can assist with content creation.

Additionally, a website designer will install a content management system (CMS). Having a CMS, like WordPress, makes it easy for business owners and their employees to update content on their own. By making a plan for creating content and by encouraging teamwork, business owners can start publishing their content regularly.

Step Six: Test the Website

Testing is one of the most critical steps in the process of building a website. The best design and most engaging content have no value if users can’t see it or if it takes too long to load. Additionally, with more than 50% of traffic coming from mobile phones nowadays, it’s more important than ever to make sure a business website is responsive.

However, testing isn’t limited to checking a website’s basic functionality. A web designer will also test the site for usability by having others go through the site and report any problems or confusion. This type of testing will ensure that every menu or link is named correctly and sends the user to the expected content. It can also help to check pathways and make sure there are not too many clicks from one point to another in a user’s journey.

Before a website is made public, thorough testing should be conducted. However, continued testing will also be needed. A web designer should conduct ongoing testing and analysis of the site’s performance to determine when updates are required.

Step Seven: Optimize the Website for Local Searches

This step isn’t a separate step. Search engine optimization (SEO), mainly local SEO, should be a consideration at every point in the process of building a site. In general, SEO encompasses all of the aspects of web design that make a website visible to search engines. These aspects include keyword usage in URLs, title tags, and content, inbound links, site architecture, and outbound links, to name a few. All of these features help search engines crawl the site and recognize the site as an authority on the keywords it features.

Local SEO is a little different in that it is specifically designed to benefit businesses with a physical location. Local SEO focuses on optimizing a website’s Google My Business listing, the information in Google’s knowledge panel, Google Maps listing, and contact information (known as NAP for the name, address, and phone number) listed on other websites. These listings determine the sites that show up when a user searches for a product, service, or business “near me.” Even without those words, searches products and services are often interpreted by a search engine as having a local intention.

The purpose of local SEO is to help customers find a business at the moment when they are trying to find something online. That moment could be when they’re searching for a place to eat, for example, or a place to shop. A local website designer with local SEO experience should have experience with helping their clients use their websites to bring customers into their business.

Step Eight: Site Maintenance

Websites need regular maintenance; thus, providing ongoing updates and support is an integral part of the web design process. For example, any plug-ins added to increase a website’s efficiency, speed, or functionality will need to be updated as bug fixes, and improvements are added. Updates to browsers and operating systems will also require changes to the website to ensure that it works well for all users and provides the highest possible level of security.

Besides, a website will need to be updated in response to traffic and performance data as well as strategies used by the competition. A business may also choose to update a site to rank for new or different keywords.

Reasons to Hire a Local Web Design Agency to Build Your Website

There are many advantages to going local when hiring a website designer. For one thing, the logistics are more straightforward. Face-to-face meetings are typically more productive than Skype calls and emails. In-person meetings also better allow for the web designer to get to know the client. This, in turn, helps them really get a feel for his or her business and website needs.

Also, local web design agencies are experts in the local community. They are familiar with the local business climate, and their understanding of local audiences and their distinctions is much deeper than that of a distant company with no local experience.

What to Look for in a Local Website Designer

When hiring a local website designer, it’s crucial to find a person or team you’ll enjoy working with. One of the first things to consider is the quality of the work they have already done. Before hiring an individual or agency, check their portfolio to see if their style appeals to you. If it does, then follow up with some of their customers and learn more about other business owners’ experiences with the agency.

It’s also a good idea to interview a website designer before committing. It’s essential to find someone who listens to your ideas, demonstrates expertise, has extensive experience, and understands responsive web design.

Hiring a local web designer is the best way to get a professionally designed website that responds to the needs of your business and your customers. With personalized attention and ongoing support, a local design agency can make sure that your website is helping your profits and your business to grow.

Essential Digital Marketing for Your Business

essential digital marketing

Types Of Essential Digital Marketing For Your Business

Digital marketing is an umbrella term that encompasses many types of services. The goal of digital marketing is to use different digital channels to improve branding and recognition for companies. For small business owners, digital marketing is essential and can help to expand the company’s customer base. With the following information, individuals will discover more information on the most beneficial services of digital marketing agencies and how these services can improve a company’s bottom line.

Why Do I Need Digital Marketing?

For small business owners, digital marketing is extremely important. While print ads and traditional means of advertising have their place, there is no better way to reach the masses than with digital marketing.

The right digital marketing plan allows businesses to interact with their potential customer base and really get to know their needs. Business owners will also find they are able to instantly track the results of each campaign that is launched so they can determine its effectiveness.

Most people check out online search engines and learn about a company before ever visiting a brick and mortar location or making a purchase online. If a business is not easily noticeable and does not rank high enough, it will be passed over.

Understanding the Different Types of Digital Marketing

Digital marketing involves many different services and most marketing campaigns will involve more than one. A combination of services will give small business owners a tailored approach that will help them fully meet their marketing needs and see success in their campaigns.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

When people think of digital marketing, one of the first things they consider is search engine optimization. SEO is important for all types of businesses but is even more important for those who operate online companies.

When people are searching for products or services, they are typically going to check out a search engine first. Millions of users use Google, Yahoo, and Bing each day. If a business is not listed high enough in the results, it will likely get very little attention, if any.

Studies have proven people rarely click past the first couple of pages of search engine results. SEO is crucial for helping a business rank as high as possible so it can garner attention from searchers. This practice means optimizing the website, campaigns, and content to ensure they allow the business to receive a high rank.

Hiring an SEO professional helps to ensure the right strategies are put in place. The process will not cause a business to soar to the top overnight, but with continued efforts, major improvements can be made and a business can see their listing nearer the top.

When practicing SEO, it is always essential to achieve white hat results when it comes to keywords, content, and optimization. Using black hat approaches may give a quick rise, but could result in a site being blacklisted which can spell disaster.

Search Engine Marketing

While SEO is essential for helping a site rise in rank, it certainly is not the only approach. This approach involves buying ad space on search engine result pages. The ad shows up at the top or near the top, depending on what ad space is purchased.

This is an effective means of digital marketing and is affordable for all budgets. Google and other search engines offer ad space and businesses only pay when users click on the ads. These ads look almost identical to typical search engine result listings, but Google places a small “ad” indicator to let users know this is an advertisement.

As of now, there are two popular paid search services and they are Google Ads and Bing Ads. It is essential small business owners have ads running on Google Ads for the best results. The best part of purchasing these ads is business owners can customize them to only be shown to a particular audience, making the ad campaign much more successful.

Many business owners simply do not have time to plan, launch, and manage their search engine ad campaigns which is why so many rely on the professionals for help. Hiring a professional takes away much of the guesswork and will help to ensure the ads offer a high ROI.

Social Media Marketing (SMM)

According to Pew Research, around seven out of ten adults use Facebook. There are now more people on social media sites than ever before and companies who are not tapping into that market are missing a big opportunity to spread the word about their business.

Most people are shocked to learn there are now over 65 social media sites and this number is climbing higher each year. Sites like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest are all gaining momentum.

Sharing stellar content on social media sites is one of the best ways to engage an audience. Here, business owners can connect with their customer base, learn more about them, and take the initiative to meet their needs in a more personal way than ever before.

There are also organic and paid options for reaching an audience on social media sites. Just like with search engine ads, social media ads on Facebook and other sites can be targeted to only be shown to a specific demographic. This makes this form of advertisement much more cost-effective and beneficial for small business owners.

With a strong presence on social media sites, small businesses can position themselves as a leader within their industry niche. The right social marketing campaign can propel a company’s recognition and branding like no other method of digital marketing.

Content Marketing

No digital marketing campaign would be complete without stellar content. Content is one of the biggest factors in determining rank and it is also what speaks to customers and engages their interest. The goal of content should be to inform and provide solutions for problems customers have. When a company can offer trusted solutions and information, the loyalty level of its customer base will naturally rise.

The goal of content marketing is to provide information and subtle marketing so that a reader does not even realize they are reading marketing material. The material should be non-promotional in nature and should provide the most accurate and easy to read information possible.

Yes, keywords can be used in content marketing and should, but keyword stuffing is an outdated practice that will never allow for proper rank. The goal of this type of marketing is to produce high-quality content that gains customers’ trust.

There is a myriad of ways companies can purchase content and they include blogs, guest post blogs, webinars, eBooks, reports, and white papers. Digital marketers hire talented writers to ensure their content is superior and sets a company as an authority in their industry niche.

Content marketing is, arguably, one of the most important aspects of digital marketing. A small business owner needs to have the best content on the Internet and they should produce articles and other written information that sets them apart from their competitors and convinces readers to take notice.

If the website’s content is not stellar and authoritative, search engines like Google will reduce the rank while indexing and this can have a negative impact on the company’s traffic flow and their eventual bottom line.

Landing Page Marketing

A landing page is a standalone webpage that is created specifically for marketing and advertisement. A targeted landing page can add a great deal of success to any digital marketing campaign and can result in a higher conversion rate.

In most cases, digital marketers are going to directly link a landing page to its corresponding ad so when users click the ad, they are taken right to the landing page. Landing pages must be made with careful thought. Every detail of the page is important, from the font and colors to the spacing.

It is crucial landing pages are mobile-friendly and load with lightning-fast speed. If a page takes over two to three seconds to load, the bounce rate will be incredibly high. A professional digital marketer is an expert in creating purposeful landing pages that are targeted to get the best results.

From the call to action button to the convincing text, every detail of the landing page must be masterfully crafted to create a reaction in the reader. It is not enough to simply say the right words, every detail matters and digital marketers know this better than anyone.

Conclusion

Most small business owners will see the greatest success with a combination of the above essential digital marketing services. For small business owners, these services are essential for gaining customers and launching or improving branding.

A digital marketing agency can take over all the steps involved in any successful marketing venture. It takes skill, the right tools, and a concerted effort to perfect a marketing campaign, so relying on the professionals is absolutely essential.

If you are a small business owner in need of help with your digital marketing approach, consider the above services and talk to us about how we can help you meet your needs and can give you the results you want.