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Many small business owners use free do-it-yourself website building tools to create a web presence for themselves.

Then they wonder why their free website isn’t getting found by their target market, and isn’t generating inquiries, leads or sales.

Like anything else worth doing in life, building an effective business website involves learning and applying new skills.

When you think about it, “free” websites aren’t really free when you factor in the cost and value of your time.

If you spend 50 hours learning and applying the skills required to create an effective website (the bare minimum time required), and if you value your time at $50 an hour (the minimum value a business owner should assign to their time) — then you have actually invested $2,500 worth of time to create a website that probably won’t deliver the results you want — because even after spending 50 hours educating yourself, you will still be a novice at website design and development.

Website Development Action Plan

Here is the action plan Herbst Marketing follows when designing and developing small business websites:

1.  Keyword research. Do you know what words or phrases real people use when searching online for businesses like yours? Building a website without doing your keyword research first is like trying to hit a pin the tail on the donkey while you are blindfolded. Keyword research is a necessary first step in building any website if your intention is to make money.

2. Once you’ve compiled a master list of keywords and keyword phrases related to your business niche, narrow the list down to the 10-20 most profitable keywords that have the the highest search volume.

3. Consider buying a domain name that incorporates your best keyword or keyword phrase. For example: Town Name Chiropractic, or Dog Grooming Anytown.

4.  Create one page of content for each of your identified keywords or keyword phrases.

5. Select good photos or images related to each keyword or keyword phrase.  Crop, edit and resize them for fast loading (they should be resized to 100 KB or less).  Be sure to give each photo an “alt tag” with a photo description and photo title.  Upload photos and images into each page.
6. Write and add a keyword-focused title for each page. The title must be 60 characters or less.
7. Write and add a  page description (160 characters or less) that incorporates your keyword or keyword phrase. Make the page description concise and include a call to action. Many people will only read your page title and page description when searching for local businesses online – so it should be a well-crafted blurb. Professional copywriting talent is a must for this task.
8. For each keyword or keyword phrase, write a blog post with helpful tips, news or information that will educate, entertain, or enlighten your target market.
9. Set up the platform for your website: We use premium wordpress themes with built-in small business website optimization features.
10. Add your content pages and your posts. Schedule posts to be published several days apart over a period of 2-3 months.
11. Add core pages: About Us, Contact Us, Find Us / Map, Policies, Frequently Asked Questions, Terms of Use, etc.
12. Make sure every page of your site links to at least one other page, and that you use “keyword phrases” as “anchor text” for each “internal link.”
13. Add a lead-generating form to your website home page and internal pages, where appropriate. This is a place where people type in their name and email address to request something of value. For service businesses, this could be a service request form or a quote request form.
14. Create a compelling offer with a time limit. Create a concise and compelling description of your offer, and put it near your lead generating form wherever it appears in your website.
15. Set up a delivery system for your time-limited offer. If it’s a coupon, people should receive it immediately after submitting their name and email address. If it is a special report or informative video, they should receive a follow-up email message immediately instructing them how to download the report or access the video.
16. Set up your business facebook page. Be sure to create a special welcome page that invites new visitors to join your email list, or sign up to receive your special offer.
17. Add a Facebook and other social media icons to your website – make sure they are clickable and link to your Facebook page and any other social media accounts you have set up.
18. Send email invitations to your social circle and business network. Ask them to visit your website, sign up for your special offer, and “like” you on your new Facebook page.
19. Claim your Google Places listing. Make sure to include all relevant information, including business name, address, phone numbers, website URL, categories that “show up on the Google map,” product and service descriptions, relevant photos, videos, hours of operation, methods of payment received,and any other information you want to include.
20. Submit your site to Google, Yahoo, Bing to get it indexed.
21. Verify your site with Google to prove you own your own website. Insert the Google Verification Code into the proper section of your website header.
22. Sign up for Google Analytics and insert the Google Analytics Code into the proper section of your website header.
23. Set up an RSS feed and a system for automatically syndicating your feed to your social media properties.
24. If possible, create one or more videos and upload them to several video hosting sites. Make sure to put a backlink to your website in the proper place in the video description field. Write a concise and compelling description for each video, and be sure to include it in the proper place in each video submission.
25. Begin link building: Identify other business directories, social bookmarking websites, and blog websites and directory information, and articles with backlinks to relevant internal pages of your website.
26. Create and publish at least one new page of content and one new blog post each week.
27. Syndicate your content and blog posts via social media with backlinks to your site.

Need Website Development Help?

If you know how — and have the time — to do all these tasks the right way, to get the best results, then it may make sense to build and manage your website yourself.

If, on the other hand, you have concluded that effective website development and management is, indeed, too complex and time-consuming a task to undertake and manage on your own, Herbst Marketing can help.

Contact Herbst Marketing today for a free consultation or website development quote.
Herbst Marketing Small Business Website Porfolio
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