Recently, a friend shared a post from another friend, who was sharing the post of one of his friends who owns a music store in the Denver area. (It’s not in Denver, specifically, but as they say, some details have been changed to protect the innocent.) The post asked for likes on the business page.
No problem. I like to help out the good guys whenever I can, and a friend of a friend is good enough in my book. He did note that there was a spelling error and that he had contacted, “his web guy,” to get it fixed. So, as near as I can tell, he is paying someone to setup and run his website. Being a curious sort, and a freelance web developer and writer, as well as someone who knows a thing or two about small business, I took a look.
Local Business Websites and SEO
Like I said, I don’t specifically know this guy, and his small business is in another part of town, but judging from the picture of the storefront on the website, the business is a music store that sells new and used instruments, as well as offering music lessons and other stuff.
The website itself is a default, uncustomized three-column WordPress theme with five or six of the standard, About Us, Contact, Products, and so on, type of pages. I hope he didn’t pay much, because I could have set this up in literally 15 minutes.
Even worse, almost every possible keyword is missing from the title tags, header tags, and even the content of the pages. For example, other than in the picture, the actual words, “used instruments” do no appear on any page of the site, let alone, potentially powerful localized keywords like, used instruments Denver. Part of this is because there is very little content in the first place. This is why I guess so many clients like that as a freelance web developer AND WRITER, I can fill out the whole website in a way that makes it more appealing to both customers and search engines, like Google.
If you search for used instruments Denver what you get are stores in Littleton and Aurora, and some Craigslist and Yelp websites. The potential lost visibility seems huge. In a week, I could probably do the work to get it on the first page of Google at least for used instruments suburb-name, and maybe a bunch of other keywords too. (Yes, I understand that Google and other search engines don’t necessarily re-rank stuff that quickly, but the work to get the ranking could be done in a week.)
Don’t even get me started on how easy it would be to do a weekly blog post to drive more traffic and more keywords.
Do Small Local Businesses Need Pro Design and SEO?
All of this got me thinking. Does it really matter?
Typically, I write for clients that have large web presences. They need, or want, lots of traffic, and my professionally written web content can help deliver that. However, they are seldom direct buying types of businesses. In other words, their goal is to build a relationship that may eventually lead to a sell, or to build the kind of trust online that would lead you to choose them for services or products, but these aren’t the kinds of places that want you to buy a guitar.
But, this business, IS the kind of place that wants you to buy a guitar. To them, how much does higher search rankings matter? How much is more traffic worth?
In this case, I can see a lot of value. Imagine a parent with a youngster looking at taking music lessons, or joining band wondering where they could buy used instruments. Even better, maybe looking a whether or not it is a good idea to buy used instruments, and if so, what to look out for, and when is the best time of year to buy, and so on.
A local music store that comes up in a Google search would be a first place to look for information and maybe some prices. If when you got there, you were presented with articles like “How To Buy Used Instruments for New Band Students,” or even better “How to Buy Used Instruments for Denver Public School Bands,” you would read those. They could be there if there was a blog for this small business website. You probably wouldn’t buy right away, or even online, but a solid website with articles like that on a regularly updated blog would probably make that a store that you trust. And, most importantly, that would be a store that you would want to look at when it came time to buy.
Hey, check out my review of Acorns app here.
It doesn’t stop there. What about a 40-year old who wants to learn guitar? Or, a guy that used to play piano wanting to get back into it, maybe with some sheet music and a new (used) keyboard, or whatever? If it’s been a while, he might like to read some articles about what is new in the market, and how a digital piano compares to the old piano his parents used to have in their foyer, and so on.
The possibilities are endless. Of course, in order to work it would take some time and effort. I’m not sure this guy is willing to do either, plus, he, “already has a web guy,” and “doesn’t really know about computers.”
Understanding What A Good Local Website Can Do For You
The key thing about building a good local online presence, is that it is just like building a reputation in the community. It doesn’t happen overnight, and you can’t always point at it, and say, “That is what gave me that sale.” But, what your store looks like matters. What you say and do in the community matters. And, over time, that builds up to sales and profits for small businesses.
A local business website in Denver, or anywhere else needs to be resource that customers can find. And, once they find it, it needs to provide the information and trust they need. Yes, the address and the hours, and the brand of used drums you sell and buy matter, but it is more than that. When customers come to a well thought out website with useful information and pages, it establishes trust. Always be closing is a myth. Most people don’t buy on the first look, but you can believe that when they find what they need, and get their questions answered on your websites, when they are ready to buy, they’ll find you, in their bookmarks, or your name scribbled on a piece of paper.
This wouldn’t be true for every small mom and pop shop that sells stuff on Main Street, but if the product you sell requires some knowledge and understanding to make a good purchase, a complete local business website in Denver, Aurora, or Parker (see what I did there 🙂 should be an important part of your strategy to market your business.