Reprinted with permission from The National Clothesline
So you’ve developed a website. Now what? Maybe you’ve had it for three years but with very little Feedback from customers about it.This is a problem a lot of businesses face, especially those that are locally owned and operated. Customers feel that they are in the store enough so going to the and owners. The internet is now the number-one tool for finding and choosing the services most website simply wouldn’t benefit them.However, a website is a tool that can benefit both customers customers use and search engines like Google are used every day to find just about everything. An easily found website is a way for locally run businesses to expand to customers outside their usual marketing zone.
Let’s say your drycleaner is located in a small town or on a not-so-busy street. This makes it difficult for new customers to find you, and the last thing most people want to do is stop and ask for directions in a town they already live in. What you can do to make your storefront more accessible is to make your website easily searchable and recognizable. This way, your store can be found by anyone who is looking for it.SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a way for a dry cleaning business to make its voice heard. When someone puts their town and “drycleaner” into a search engine you want to be the first one that pops up. Since Google is the main search engine that people use, I will use it as an example. Google takes how many websites or connections to other sites one URL has. It then ranks it, in order from most connected to least connected, when someone types in key words that are used on the site. Your website may not be getting many hits because it doesn’t connect to any other sites.
The use of social media outlets is a huge way to boost your standing in a search engine. Websites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Yelp all help benefit your website, and therefore your business. Using specific key words to help guide the search engine helps as well. This is not to say that you
should overuse key words or brands in order to get more traffic and a higher standing on a search engine. This can make people feel tricked and not want to visit your sight again. The first step is developing a more user-friendly and accessible website. Many small businesses find it difficult to keep up with website maintenance. An online tool that can help with this is websitegrader.com. When you put your URL into this website, you can see how you rank in accordance with search engines, specifically Google. SEO is extremely important for customers to find your business. Websites are of no use unless they can be found. Websitegrader.com can show you what areas to improve your website and social media contacts to gain more customers. For example, imagine if a customer is trying to find a drycleaner in your area, but your website is on page five when they typed in their town. That just doesn’t seem right, does it? It happens all the time. Most business owners don’t even realize how low they are on a search engine’s list. SEO puts your business higher up in a search engine, and makes all of your information available to those who look for it. Websitegrader.com uses whatever you have put on the internet, such as blogs or social media pages, and grades how well your website is doing. It also shows how you can improve your grade if your score is low. Whether it be adding or utilizing your website every three months, or developing a blog or twitter account, websitegrader.com makes SEO easy to understand and benefit from. This puts your business ahead of the curve. Navigating some of these other websites and making them go to work for you can be confusing at times. Website maintenance can also be a bit difficult; however, there is help out there. Keeping up with your website, and making sure it is user-friendly is key to bringing in and keeping customers. Another problem that businesses face when using websites is tracking their customers. By installing Google Analytics (free download from Google), you can track who visits your website and what links they click on. These are called “click-throughs” and they can help you maximize your customer growth. By tracking who visits your website and what articles they click on, you can customize their experience and contact them through different venues. For example, you can post new equipment, promotional events, and videos about your drycleaner to your website. If someone clicks on one of these then comes into your store, you know what to discuss with them.Tracking your website can be very powerful and time consuming. If you have a web developer, make sure you get a monthly report to review. This is as important as how you analyze any other type of marketing to see if it is working. If you are monitoring your website yourself, Google has numerous tutorials online for you to review. Either way, it is imperative that you monitor hits to your website on a monthly basis in order to make the adjustments necessary to keep your online presence as active as possible. The website that you generate can then be used on social media sites to further your marketing capabilities. For example, Yelp and Facebook all use business’ websites to advertise and promote. If you subscribe to any of these social media outlets you could double your customer base by simply directing people to your website for further information about your services.
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