Let's start with the bad news, it doesn't matter how great your website is, Google won't place it on the first page unless it is getting lots of visitors or you pay. The good news is there are ways you can help get a website noticed that needn't cost you anything.
1. FREE – make use of your email signature
Take a few minutes to set the email signature in your email programme. It can be a little tricky to find so if it isn't obvious just Google 'change signature in xxx email' with xxx being the name of your mail programme.
The layout options you get will depend on your email programme. I use Apple Mail which is a bit limited but basically you want it to look something like the example below. Now everyone getting your emails can see your website address and learn a little about what you do. You may be offering an extra service that they aren't even aware of. It is also good practice to make sure your contact details are always easily available.
Make sure you also set up something similar on your smartphone, tablet, whatever you use to send email. Take the opportunity to delete that annoying line that says 'Sent from my iphone' – that is Apple or whoever using the marketing opportunity of your signature for themselves – reclaim it for yourself!
2. FREE – List yourself on Google+
When you search for a specific business on Google, you often get that useful box that pops up showing a map and contact details for the business. Usually that is all I need and I can click straight through to make a phone call or go to the website.
Make sure you claim that space and get the right information in there. It is simply a matter of listing your business with Google My Business. In 5 minutes you can have your basic information up, if you want to take more time then add photos, social links etc. You will usually have to go through a simple verification process.
3. FREE – List with free business directories
This is a job for a quiet, rainy afternoon as it is truly boring! But worthwhile. Business directories will have a much higher ranking than small websites. So if you are listed with them you can benefit from their size. First try your local listings, most local newspapers and radio station run listings on their websites. Google search 'free business listing'.
4. PAID FOR – Google Adwords
Next time you do a search have a look at the top listings. The chances are there will be a little green AD sign next to the name of the first couple of entries. These companies have paid to be there.
It works on a 'pay-per-click' basis so you will pay around 40-50p each time someone clicks through to your website. If you get your search terms right this can be really good advertising as you are connecting with customers actively searching for what you are offering.
You can set the amount you want to spend per day so you don't go over budget. There are loads of coupons around to give you free credit when you get started so it worth trying it for a couple of months to see if it works for your business.
For help with any of the above options or to get a simple website set up for your business please contact me.
Ali Beckett Design