Maximizing Local Search Engine Results

Internet marketing is a very complex endeavor.  In the last several years, new businesses and even new entire industries have been created as a result of the need to properly optimize websites and promote them and the businesses they represent on the Internet.

One simple and easy way to promote your business online is to submit it for inclusion in the local search engine results.  This is one of the many ways to promote your business online, but it is one of the fastest and least complex. Now, many of my customers ask me if I can do this for them.  The simple answer is no…it’s best and easiest if you do it yourself.  The submission process is mainly designed to be done by the business owner, not the Internet consultant.

The purpose of this post is to give you some simple and easy access to submit your business for inclusion in local results.  But before you continue, please bear in mind a few things:

1.  This is not a terribly complex or technical process, and the results are worth it.  However, you should understand that there will be a few minutes of work and attention required.  Set aside about 30 minutes before continuing.

2.  Verification is required by most of the search engines.  This means they will want to immediatly verify that your listing is real, the information is correct, and email addresses and phone numbers actually are functional.  When you decide to move forward with this process, you should be in your office or accesible at the main contact telephone number and email that you intend to use in your listing.

3.  In some cases, you’ll need to sign up for an account.  No worries…this is perfectly safe.

4.  Finally, you should have a brief description of your company, and all relevant information including hours of operation, pictures, or logos you wish to associate with your company.

Now let’s move forward. Thanks to fellow blogger Cody, from Thrillingheroics.com, I’ve been able to provide  the following simple links.  Thanks, Cody. Here are most of the popular local search engines.

Let me know how it works.  In many cases, the results will be almost immediate!  Gotta love the power of the Internet.

Published in: on November 10, 2008 at 4:04 PM  Comments (3)  
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Reasons to Not Consider a Website

Does that sound like a strange title of a blog post from a website developer?  Granted, there is some sarcasm in my words.  Here’s a list of reasons some business owners shared with me about why they do not need a website:

a.    I am about to retire.
b.    We are changing our name.
c.    Our business is being sold.
d.    The company will not be in business much longer
e.    I only give my website out to my customers.
f.    That’s handled out of our Corporate office (click).
g.    I am a manufacturer’s rep…I work for dealers/distributors only.
h.    We are a wholesaler…we work directly with only retailers.

All of these reasons, while the business owner may really believe they have some relation to a lack of need to consider a website, all suffer from the same flaw: they are illogical.  If the business owner woke up, went to work, and opened their office….in short, if they answered their phone…then they should – at a minimum – consider how a website could help them grow their business.

As a business owner, does it not stand to reason that one should be open-minded to any opportunity that exists that might enable expansion of business or provide expansion or additional stability to the client base, regardless of what extraneous circumstances might be going on with the business?

After all, you are still in business, right?

At least for now.

What’s On Your Mind?

Dear Reader:

Your opinion is important to me, so much so that I’ve designed a contest to encourage you to share it with me. I want to ask you, ‘what’s on your mind?’

As a business owner, how much do you value the Internet?

How do you think a website can help your business?

If you already have a site, what’s working well about it and what needs improvement?

If you don’t have a website what’s your reasoning for not having one?

What other questions do you have for me?

What specifically would you like to know about websites and Internet marketing?

Has the online world changed the way you do business?

Do you think you are fully taking advantage of the growing online audience that’s looking for a business like yours?

Every question posed here as a comment or in answer to one of my questions gets an entry into a drawing, which I’ll pull on Aug. 26; one entry per business please.  The winner will receive $377 off the price of a new website or $377 in web consulting if you’ve already purchased a website from me.

How Much Does a Website Cost?

How much does a house cost? A new truck? A new piece of machinery? It depends, doesn’t it?

No doubt, these are all significant financial decisions, and the final price tag is something that affects the kind of item a consumer might decide on. But in all of these cases, the answer to the “cost” question depends on a lot of different things – mostly what the consumer wants included in the item. And more than likely, the first response to the “cost” question must be “well, how much do you want to spend?” or “what price range is in your budget?”.

Yet, when a website developer answers the “cost” question by asking what is in a potential customer’s budget, the potential customer invariably thinks the website developer is asking because he intends to gouge the customer for as much as possible. Why?

And consider this. If a consumer were to find a realtor that would answer the “how much does it cost” question without asking you for any more information, what would the consumer think when he told him a price that was more than he thought he could afford? What if this was you? If the realtor said, “well I can sell you a house that costs $300,000” and you knew it was about twice what you wanted to spend? You would probably respond with something like, “Well, that’s too expensive. Can you help me find a house around $150,000?” What you would NOT think is, “Wow…that realtor was trying to take advantage of me. I better go find another realtor that is willing to sell me a less expensive house.”

Here’s the difference in how most business owners look at the website in comparison to how most consumers look at the other financial decisions previously mentioned: when one goes to buy the house, he is a consumer who has already decided that he will likely make a purchase of some kind. With the website, however, many business owners ask the “cost” question with the intent of factoring the answer into whether or not he will continue considering. This is where the shift must occur. Some even ask how much something costs for the main purpose of saying “no thank you, that’s too much.” What they really ought to be asking at this point is, “What do you think a website can do to increase my business?” Followed by a discussion about what they want and need in a website and how much it will cost to create it, based on their desires. Eventually, like all other business purchases, a decision can be made on a cost/value basis.

You must first embrace the fact that you must have a website to continue to do business. Only after you have accepted this fact will you then be able to approach the decisions about a website from the proper perspective, only then will you be able to discuss the feature and benefits you want in a website in an effective way, and only then will a developer be able to provide you with the high-level of service – like what you receive from the realtor – and help you make the correct decisions about a website that will function for your business while also falling within the confines of your pocketbook.

Who Makes Your Business Decisions?

Have you ever wondered what decisions your receptionist might be making for you?

Your initial reaction may be to say; “My receptionist doesn’t make any decisions for me. I make my own decisions.” But perhaps you should not be so sure. I call small businesses every day to promote my services, and one of the most troubling responses I get is “No, my boss wouldn’t be interested in a website.”

First, ask yourself these questions:

Is having a dynamic and results-producing website something that I do intend for sometime in the future?

Do I intend to ever sell products online?

Do I intend to ever offer access to my services online?

Do I intend to ever use the power of the Internet to reach tens of thousands of customer that no longer use the yellow pages?

If the answer is no, then you should do some research on the power of web presence. I think it will surprise you. Every day, more and more businesses get “on line,” and at some point soon, businesses will not be able to survive without a web presence.

But if you answered yes to the above questions, then how will your receptionist ever know when that time has finally come? How will she know when it is time to let the gate open and allow the website developer access to you?

It is entirely too easy for the receptionist to say “no” to a salesperson. Perhaps she remembers that you quickly dismissed several calls from website developers in the past by possibly grunted something like “I don’t have time for that right now.” But she does not necessarily understand the reasons why you may have made that comment, and may not understand that, at some point, you do intend to get a website.

And what if the guy on the other end of the phone, tomorrow morning, is the right guy? What if he is the quickest, easiest, most affordable and most effective way to get online? That’s what I offer, and I could be calling. But you never get to hear about it or talk to me because of your receptionist’s unrefined and less than strategic screening process?

We all understand that it is the receptionist’s job to minimize distractions and unnecessary interruptions for the people working in his/her office, and to do her job effectively, she must limit access to her co-workers. However, there is a fine line that should not be crossed when it comes to allowing the true decision-makers to make the important decisions about the business, and too many Gatekeepers cross that line and exercise control that is not theirs to exercise, only because they have not been adequately informed.

If you think this might be happening, a conversation with your receptionist might be in order. If you feel you do not have the time to investigate it or to instruct your receptionist…I wonder how many important decisions are never even making it to your desk?

POTW chosen for National Directory

Commensurate with the publishing of his book, “Website 411 – Business Survival in an Internet Economy,” author Thomas M. Elliott has also launched his National Directory of Web Solution Providers, for which Power On The Web has been chosen for inclusion as a respected website developer in the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area.

Tom has been developing websites and working in the internet marketing, e-commerce, and search engine optimization fields for several years, and the publishing of his book (available at http://www.website411book.com) is only the latest example of his committment to educating today’s business owner on the power of the internet and the value of web presence and internet marketing. To anyone considering the impact a website and internet marketing can have on their business, Website 411 is a must read.

Along with the publishing of the book, Tom has also launched the Website411 book Website. Included in this website is not only access to purchase your own copy of Website 411, but also numerous special features – some available only to those that purchase the e-book version – as well as the National Directory of Website Solution Providers. POTW is proud to announce that we have been chosen for inclusion in the directory.

Published in: on January 5, 2008 at 5:15 AM  Comments (1)  
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“I already have a site.”

Every day, more and more businesses are creating a presence on the world wide web. And every day, I hear more and more people tell me that they already have a website. Unfortunately, inherent in those five simple words that are so oft repeated to web developers that undoubtedly inundate a customer’s telephone and voicemail every week is one very flawed assumption: that having a site means they do not need my help or my services!

Sad, but true…that many sites that may meet the minimum criteria of a “web presence” are, in fact, a liability to their owners. While the site owner strategically counters offers to assist them with internet marketing by Consultants such as myself, they are also floundering in the virtual world and are frequently harder to find online than they may be in physical reality. As I often ask, “does your site rise above the crowd, or get lost in it?” As a business owner, it is up to you to not make the mistake of assuming that your website – simply because it exists – is doing everything for you and your business that a website should. The reaility is that the world of internet technology is changing so rapidly that you can not FIND enough time to stay on top of it AND run your business…which is why it is important to let someone you trust make sure that your website, and your internet marking strategy, are comprehensive and effective.