Running a small business has always been tough, but today there are new challenges. In addition to understanding their own business, the owner must now understand Internet promotion.

In the past, local businesses simply paid for an ad in the Yellow Pages, and perhaps booked a weekly newspaper ad. But today, the majority of customer use the Internet to find local products and services.

Appearances Count

Studies show that customers don’t trust a business if the website does not look professional, so the first step is to make sure you have a good looking website. It’s also critical that the website display correctly in all browsers.

This is not a good place to cut corners by hiring an amateur or a beginner… hire a professional who understands the latest web standards and knows how to build a good-looking site.

Your site should also be optimized for search engines. You’ll need to include the key terms and phrases that customers will use when searching for your products or services. A professional web designer should be able to properly optimize your website as part of the design.

Be Sociable

“Social Networking” has become the modern form of personal recommendations and referrals. Be sure your website features a Facebook “like” button and a Google “+1″ button!

You may want to consider a Facebook page or a Twitter page, but only if you intend to post regular updates, and you really have something worthwhile and interesting to say. Otherwise, don’t bother. A page that isn’t regularly updated is worse than having none at all.

Get Listed

Be sure to submit your site to local business directories, as well as Google Places, Yahoo Local, and Bing Local. Getting listed in local directories can bring traffic to your site, and will also help improve your position in search engines.

Also, be sure your site is listed on Yelp and other rating and review sites, and encourage your customers to submit positive reviews! (For a list of review sites, visit the Rating and Review Professional Association.)

Find a Designer

A Professional web design firm can help with these and other needs. We recommend Main Street Web Group.

You’ll find many other local design firms in the Quintimation Web Design Directory.

Related Reading

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Basics

How to Choose a Web Designer


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