Accelerate Blog Series #3: Getting your name out - online
Getting your name out: online
Welcome back! In 2020, a staggering 96% of UK households had access to the internet. So to help you reach anyone you want to, and have them find and reach you, the internet is an incredible tool and resource at your disposal.
Establishing an online presence through a website creates a home for your business that has no barriers preventing customer contacting you whenever they need to.
So, to make the world of web and digital marketing feel that little bit easier to you, let’s break it down:
Your starting point - Creating and developing your website
Getting your contact centre, brand image and a shop window all in one place sounds simple but there’s more to it than that. According to the ACCELERATE book, a good website could and should:
- Explain what you do and how you’re better than the rest
- Provide contact information so people can get in touch easily
- Accept bookings instantly and without hassle
- Receive feedback and give you the ability to respond
- Allow you to post pictures and videos of work completed
- Give an idea of your approach and what customers can expect
- Allow you to publish testimonials from happy customers
- Provide links to social media resources
- Host DIY tips for small jobs
- Let you host a blog about your profession
- Give you the ability to list your pricing formula for different jobs
Don’t be intimidated though, this isn’t a to-do list but more inspiration of ways to fill out those pages and make yourself stand out. Understanding how much content you want online also has to be a result of your own planning because, remember, when you’re working on a website you’re not working on jobs.
Also, don’t worry. Knowing how to ‘code’ or programme is no longer necessary when building a website as there is a plethora of handy tools at your disposal. Simply searching “Website builder UK” into google let’s you assess every option that best suits your preferences and price ranges. Leading names in this field include Squarespace, GoDaddy, Wix, Pickaweb 1&1 and Fasthosts.
The very first step once you’ve found your site builder is to chose your the domain or website address name. It could be your company name or the name of your trade. If your company name isn’t available as a domain then think creatively - such as using initials or simple punctuation like full stops and hyphens.
Once you are set on your website builder tool and your domain name, you can get set on building your site. Key elements of your site will include:
- Your business name and company number
- Your logo
- A short description of your service, perhaps breaking this down into jobs your team can handle
- Any trade body accreditation you have
- Your Checkatrade membership
- Address and contact details
- Pictures of you, your team, a job or anything else that adds colour to the page
It’s also recommendable to add information such as a blog or project photos to maintain and create customer interest, this is also where you can include social media links along with opportunity for feedback from customers as well.
Other ways to expand your online presence can be done through YouTube, posting videos of tutorials or your own work can access thousands of potential customers from the public domain. Remember, just an idea!
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is what you do to make sure your website gets to the top or as near to the top as possible on a google search page.
What this means is that when someone in your area types your trade (as in “plumber in LS28”) into the google search bar, you come out top.
SEO is a bit of a game of cat and mouse, adjusting your own content to fit in with Google’s algorithm will be a constant chase as after all getting your website on those first few search results is the absolute prize. Thankfully, despite all this changing there are simple rules that stay the same and can be explained with two categories:
• On-Page SEO
• Off-Page SEO
On-page SEO refers to the set-up and content of your website (your pages): making sure everything is in the right place- accessible and compatible with all forms of technology (phones, tablets etc.). Following the examples of layouts from your website builder will give you a head start with this sometimes tricky task.
Google also prefers content, filling your website with information and media such as photo’s or images. The more content you have the more of Google’s searching criteria you are likely to fill, bigger is better (in this case). Having multiple pages and regular updates will slowly help build this bank of content.
As an example, Checkatrade member Heron Carpentry got to page one of Google by having this much of an introduction in response to the search word “Carpentry”.
“Welcome To Heron Carpentry
With 16 years bespoke carpentry experience in Bromley, we specialise in kitchen fitting, new windows, window refurbishments, wooden and tiled flooring, garden decking and garden structures, built-in units, shelves, property restoration/maintenance, and first and second fix carpentry.
Our qualified carpenters specialise in bespoke kitchens and all carpentry work in Bromley and London...
Skill, creativity, honesty and reliability are all qualities that make a good Carpenter. Once your project is completed, I am confident that you'll want to use Heron Carpentry's services again.
Speak to one of our bespoke carpenters in Bromley for more information.”
Right, now that’s sorted let’s look at how we can be seen away from the Website with some Off-page SEO.
This is all about links to your website and your content appearing in other websites, in social media and in online news and places like trade magazines. Getting your website linked to social media or print media furthers the opportunities for you to be found. Using your website link in everything you do can only drive more traffic, and it’s not just trades magazines that you can look for - as well think of online forums and community Facebook groups as opportunities. Be sensitive to the fact that these spaces sometimes don’t want advertising so you don’t want to create a negative impression in the wrong place.
This off-page SEO or “outreach” doesn’t have to be long columns of writing, simple slogans can be useful or if that isn’t for you, photos of your own work and neat graphics can be perfectly effective.
Social media and email
Building your social media activity is crucial for creating presence more and more. Identifying how you want to come across can also be made easier by looking at your page analytics and interactions through a trial and error (be sure to set up as a ‘business page’ on social media to access this).
Emailing can also be extremely effective and there are a number of different services you can use, like MailChimp, Mailjet, SendGrid, Campaign Monitor and Constant Contact, that will help guide you through this process of sending emails to your existing and target customers.
Have fun in the digital world – there are many opportunities out there! And for more guidance on growing your business be sure to access everything the homeservefoundation.com has to offer.