The world of the web and small business can be a confusing and strategically difficult road to navigate. Everyone tells you to build a web site. You have to have one yesterday. But very few tell you how or what to put on it. As a result if you do some sampling of local business web sites you will find that the vast majority of them are virtual bill boards in cyberspace.

What do I mean by that? Well they give information about the business, maybe some description, hours of operation, images, but little else in the way of making a visitor into a customer.

First of all under the hood, if you will, most of them are not optimized for the right key words that local search is aimed at in their area. Most have a string of keywords all separated by hyphens that in sum total might be correct for that business. But is it realistic to think that a local plumber is going to get ranked in the search engines for the words, plumber or plumbing contractor?

But they could rank for “Oakland plumber” or “Oakland California plumber”. Or “best East Bay plumber”. Instead of competing against millions of other sites they might only be competing against a few thousand or less.

So if you land on a billboard web site, what will make you want to become a customer? Ease of navigation to find what you want to know is probably first. Second is some way to interact and feel good about the business. Now many of you shop using coupons you cut out of the paper or from coupon books. Why do you do that? To save money? Sure that is one reason but the other not so obvious is that the retailer has built a relationship of value with you by giving you something for nothing.

That is the number one thing you have to do when a visitor comes to your web site. Don’t just sell them with a bill board but give them something of value for their visit. I see so many sites that have a “Sign up for our newsletter” link or opt in box. But the big question is why would I want to do that? What do I get in return? A vague promise of some information about your business? Ugh.

As a small business you must give them something of value in exchange for their name and email. Make them a valued customer. Give them valuable information.

In my next post I will show you how that is done and how you can implement it. Or you can contact me right now to schedule a free consultation for your small business. We can do it live in person or over the web via interactive video conferencing.