1. Register it with Google
This is just about the most important first step you can do. 66% of all web searches in the US and the UK are done through Google, with Bing second and Yahoo in third place.
All my web design clients are registered with Google, Bing and Yahoo. So your website designer should have already done this step. You can easily check if your site is on Google by typing the following into Google search:
Replace 'www.yoursite.com' with your domain name. If you see some search results with your domain name in green on, then you are registered on Google. If your site doesn't appear then ask your website designer to do it for you. If you've produced your site yourself and have access to your hosting, then go to Google Webmaster Tools and follow the instructions for registering your site with them.
2. Google Places for Business
If your business deals with a local market, for example if you are a tradesman, shop or provide local services, then registering with Google Places for Business is super important. This gives you a directory listing when people search locally, for example 'painter in Norwich'.
Google returns a list of business that have registered with Google Places, that are near to where the person is searching geographically. Your listing on Google Places can show people the type of business you have, your contact details, opening times, pictures and have a link to your website. Also when people search on Google Maps your business will be shown on the map.
3. Register on Local Directories
There are numerous free local directories that you can register your business on such as Free Index, Yellow Pages, Scoot, Yahoo Local, Thomson and more. Having a listing on one of these directories means that people can find you, when they search for your type of business and because these local directories are listed on Google, your business has more exposure on Google also. Another bonus of local directory sites is that they provide a link back to your website and the more quality 'backlinks' you have, the more it can increase your ranking on Google.
4. Register With Your Trade Association
Are you a member of a trade association, alumni or registered body. See if you can get a listing on their website, that provides a link to your site. People may search that association looking for someone in your area and putting their logo on your own website adds credibility to what you do.
5. Register on LinkedIn and Social Networking Sites
If your business provides contract labour or business-to-
Other social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter work in a similar way and can provide leads, exposure and backlinks to your website. Be careful not to spam on social sites though. Make sure anything you post is relevant and of interest to other users. You make be surprised how many leads you get, through just sharing about your hobbies and interests, that aren't connected to your business.
6. Send Out a Regular Mailing List
Make sure you have a contact/registration form on your website, where people can register to receive regular e-mails from you. The form should collect at a minimum their full name and e-mail address, but don't ask for too much information or they won't bother to register. Like on social networking sites, don't spam people. Just send out relevant interesting information, including maybe special offers and make sure it has all your contact information on.
When you send out an e-mail to your customer, make sure the other recipients aren't visible.
7. Participate on Forums
There are thousands of forums out there for answering people's questions, on just about anything. If you're a handyman you could answer DIY questions and possibly get some local business. You may also network with other tradesmen who can refer you extra business.
Quite often forums allow a link to your website in your signature, which gives you a free backlink every time you answer someone's question.
8. Write a How-To Page
Your website isn't just for listing your products and services. Writing content that gives people advice can be a good way to increase your business. It also gives your website more content, add credibility and provides more opportunity for people to find you through a Google search.
9. Send Out a Press Release
This may sound like something only the professionals do, but if you have something worthy to share with the world then go ahead and give it a try. You can send one out for free on PR Log. The secret to a good press release is to share something interesting, include pictures, write in the third-person and check your grammar and spelling is perfect. Make sure you complete your business profile first and include links to your website in your press release.
I recommend that you pay for their Premium service ($49) which distributes your press release to Associated Press, news and newspaper websites. You will end up with several more quality backlinks as a result.
E-mail a copy of your press release to your local paper and any relevant trade magazines. They are always on the look out for quality interesting news to publish and if your story is covered, a lot of busines may come your way.
10. Publish a How-To Video on YouTube
Producing video content on YouTube is an excellent way to increase your Google ranking. People prefer to view a video rather than read a page of text and your video will appear in Google search results, along with your website. You will receive backlinks from YouTube also.
Don't make your video's too long though. Less than 10 minutes is recommended. If you are covering a lengthy subject, then consider splitting it into sections.
Most cell phones are capable of producing good quality video these days, however the sound can still be poor quality. You may find investing in a microphone, makes your videos far more professional. Your cheapest option is to look for a lavalier microphone (or lapel mic) with a long-ish cord. If you're using an iPhone you will need a microphone adaptor (KV connection cable), to plug in an external mic. Buying a cheap mini tripod for your phone will keep it nice and still too.
Making Backlinks Work
I have talked a lot in this article about generating backlinks and how having quality backlinks can increase your Google ranking. To make backlinks work for you the anchor text need to be right. This is the text that is shown for the link. So for example having a link that reads 'Norwich painter and decorator' is far better then having a link that reads 'my website'.
Although the words used in your website content establishes the type of site you have and the subject matter. The anchor text that you use for your backlink, is how Google knows the relevance of your website. So the closer that anchor text is, to how people will search for your business, the more relevant Google thinks your business website is and the higher you will rank.
These ten free tips are the first steps in any businesses marketing plan, when they've produced their website. For more information on Richard Lillycrop's website design services please visit http://www.richardlillycrop.com/