I read an interesting post recently by David Wallace on On Increasing the Visibility of a Small Business Website on a Shoestring Budget. He gave some interesting advice for a small business starting on the web. I would like to build on this the way George Lucas built on the Star Wars series; with a prequel.
You see, David assumed the business already had a website. This post will provide advice on getting started with a website, use very little money and generate enough revenue to begin investing in David’s advice. I actually used what follows in this post to get a friend started on a shoe string.
- Sign up for Yahoo! Site Builder.
- Yahoo! Site Builder(aff) provides an easy way for the do-it-yourselfer to have a website and it is easier to use than PowerPoint.
- URL is included.
- Comes with Domain Based email, which you need to look professional. No more email@example.com.
- Yahoo! indexes this site quickly… I used this service earlier in the year for a quickie and the site was indexed within a couple of days. And came up on the first page of search results for the keyword + regional term on Yahoo!. Like David said, if this was a mortgage broker it would have been more difficult but for a Painting Contractor it worked just fine.
- $100 credit for Yahoo! search marketing (will need a $30 initial deposit)
- Read some good, practical and free advice on SEO:
- This one from Jill Whalen’s High Rankings Advisor about title tags alone might be enough to get a local site ranked.
- Here is one from Seomoz that is a good read for anyone but especially a newbie because it will educate you enough that you will be insulated from the garbage written about SEO on the web. It will also familiarize you with the rock stars of the industry… read their blogs often and you won’t go wrong. And lastly, it will educate you about the factors that really matter when optimizing your site.
- Read this post from Local Biz Bits if you are going to create a site with multiple pages: Break Up With Your Services Page
- And you can find a good SEO e-book for free from Dan Thies at Seo Fast Start
Price Tag: $0
- Buy Perry Marshall’s Ultimate Guide to Google’s Adwords and use Google’s how-to resource
- Begin your paid search marketing program
- Sign up for Google Adwords
- Sign up for Yahoo Search Marketing
Try and get your ads to the top of the search results so they are above the natural results by writing your way to to the top.
- Devise your IYP/Maps/Local site strategy
- Figure out the most popular IYPs in your area
- Sign up if the price is right and you are able to follow Dick Larkin’s advice and get to the top. Superpages offers a PPC program that will allow you to get to the top with little money down and no contract… $50 at set-up covers the cost of clicks with a $15 monthly minimum.
- Go to the local sites mentioned above and set up your business profiles.
- Call satisfied customers and ask them to review you on these sites as well.
Price Tag: $25 + $11/mo.
Price tag: $16.47
Price tag: Difficult to say: I spent less than $30 before I started seeing conversions.
Price tag: $50
Your business is now all over the web and the phone calls and emails will begin coming in from new customers. For a local service service business this list should provide you with the opportunity to get Thousands of dollars in revenue before you spend $200. And the credit card bill hasn’t even arrived yet… woo hoo!
Now, you have the money to invest in David’s advice.