Local business websites
Table of contents
What is a local business website?
A local business website caters to the promotion of a business whose primary audience are geographically within reach.
The standard definition of a local business is one that has a physical presence that can be visited. They are usually small businesses or business chains or franchises.
Professionals who visit clients close to them are discussed under professional service websites.
Local businesses are important since they offer convenience and security. Depending on the business, local could mean within walking distance, driving distance or the same city.
The local business website helps a local business expand its reach.
The objectives of a local business website
Appear in local searches
Local search is important because people are always on the hunt for convenient services nearby. Being findable will help a local business that’s not on the high street gain more visitors.
Help customers before they visit
Customers are more likely to visit if they know what to expect and how to get there. This is one of the main reasons for having a website.
Help customers so they don’t need to visit
Better yet, use your website to avoid people visiting your premises unnecessarily. People used to phone for appointments, now they book appointments online.
Tell people what you do (and don’t do)
Clients will often search for something in particular, not something generic – which they know where to find already. If you’re a local business (and you’re small) this is where you can gain an advantage.
Expand reach beyond current location
Local businesses have a wider geographical reach thanks to the internet. People are more willing to travel further to visit a business that suits their needs better.
Compete with larger businesses
A local business has the local advantage. As a small business, you need to play to your strengths.
How to make an affordable local business website
Use a page builder
Use tools that make building the website faster such as Elementor or Divi. This makes building a website easier but helps with website maintenance.
Use a theme
Using a theme is a great way to cut down costs and give your website project a head-start. What’s more there are plenty of themes for local businesses of all descriptions.
There is nothing wrong with using a flexible theme as long as you remember to change the photos and text! They are just starting points.
The downside about using a theme is that they rarely incorporate the latest SEO techniques for local search, so if you do choose a theme, make sure it has the basic components of a local website.
For more information on how to choose a theme – please read about our templated web design service
Get the guidance of experts
Time is money and particularly with local websites, you need someone who knows all the tricks in the book to help develop your website quickly and efficiently.
Starfish’s service target to small and local businesses that want worthwhile investment rather than a stop-gap solutions.
Stick to the bare essentials
Whilst a pretty website is what every business wants – what your client and Google care about is useful, well-written information. Exert effort towards the basics – good content and then later on, after launch, spend time improving your website.
Top features of a local website
People will search for something they need immediately. Like a haircut, a coffee, food. Putting your opening times will help you rank for those searches.
How to Find Us
When people travel to your premises, they may struggle to find the exact location. Waze solves this problem to an extent but it also gets it wrong. Mentioning streets nearby and landmarks is a helpful and will drive people to visit you.
Parking is a big problem when visiting a place. People who have never been to your area will not know the best parking spots. Making this easy for them is an easy way to get people to visit you sooner.
A list of awards and stamps are seals of approval. It’s a great way to make your website and your business seem trustworthy.
Testimonials work very well on local business websites because of the authenticity factor.
Every business needs authentic photos but local businesses need them more. A real photo helps people build trust. If your business isn’t exactly photogenic, we have are some web photography tips.
Pictures of real staff
Photos of people do two things, build trust and build connection. This is particularly important in the professional services sector where there will be eventually be a real connection.
Pictures of real premises
This technique is important for local businesses because clients fear (and complain) about standards of cleanliness. Proving that you are above reproach will drive visitors and hinder bad reviews from being written.
Local business website design
To design a local business website, there are three important things you should do
- Look at local websites
- Plan your content
- Work out your build approach
Look at design of other local business websites
Local websites need to have the right features that make them findable and usable to people on the go and looking for a quick solution.
Starfish can carry a website competitive analysis. For a local business, we would recommend looking at
- Websites of direct competitors in your locality and surrounding areas
- Websites Businesses within the neighborhood
- Best examples of local business websites of businesses within the same industry.
Planning our your content
The trick to making good content for a local website is to plan the points you need to say. Keep to the facts. Keep it simple and keep it concise. Avoid sales talk at all costs.
Don’t try to write your own content and certainly don’t outsource it. If you need help – Starfish has a content planning service. This service will save you a lot of time and effort.
A local business website has to look friendly and inviting. It doesn’t have to be a work of art, but it has to look professional (and real) so that it’s trusted.
The best way to build a website is:
- Be ready with the facts of your business
- Know what you want
- Use a template
- Build a small and simple website
Digital marketing tips for local businesses
Understanding Digital Marketing
Digital marketing is a set of techniques to promote your website. There are hundreds of things you can try. You don’t have to be an expert to do it but it helps if you have visualized the effects of what you are doing. Take a look at our guide on how to promote your business online.
Have your address clearing visible
If you’re a local business, (or you’re pretending to be) you’re going to expect people to search for you with a search term that indicates the area you’re in.
Ideally, you should have your location at the top of the page, as well as in the footer.
If you’re covering multiple locations, then you can have a landing page for each area your business covers.
Put yourself in directories
For some industries, it’s impossible to appear on the first page for a local search because all positions are covered by directories or strong players – who are outspending on web marketing.
What you can do is to put yourself in the directories that appear in your sector. Make sure that the names and address you use are consistent.
Put yourself forward in local reviews
The ranking positions for local search e.g. “coffee shop near me” will bring results from review articles as well as online directories. These articles are not static and may be updated from time to time. As a local business, these reviews will drive a lot of traffic to your business and your website.
Do a little Search Engine Optimization
To keep SEO affordable, it should be tackled month on month, year in year out. Starfish has a holistic SEO service where we actively look after your website in a natural way appreciated by the search engines.
The main areas to target for a new local business are:
Local business website maintenance
How to look after your website
The easiest way to look after your website is to keep improving it. As a local business, you may not have the time or inclination to work on your website. Instead, let Starfish proactively maintain and improve your website for you on an ongoing basis.
How much maintenance does a website need?
The more complex a website is, the more looking after it needs. A local business website isn’t likely to be very complicated.
At a minimum, 5 hours is recommended but if you wish to improve your ranking and promote your website then you will need about 20 hours a month to start plus a bit of your own time to help out too.