St Louis, MO (STL.News) There are a multitude of options of how and where to design and host small business websites. While many business owners underestimate the value of owning a top-ranking website, we will attempt to explain the basic steps so you understand the large tasks involved.
To create a top-ranking website is among the most crucial task that small business owners need to make as a top priority. Even if a business is not seeking new customers/clients, they need to make sure that existing customers can always easily find them online in order to protect the valued relationship that already exists.
Many business owners ask us how to get on the front page of a Google search result when consumers are seeking their particular products and services.
If all the business owner does is to create a website, that alone will not be sufficient to create a top-ranking website. There are a variety of website design platforms to use, multiple hosting options and SEO considerations to place as a priority as well as creating a strategic social media presence.
The following bullet points are common characteristics of a high-ranking website:
- Listing in all available maps
- Excellent hosting, preferably a VPS or dedicated server
- CDN (content delivery network)
- Good CMS like WordPress
- Great content
- Minimal pics/graphics
- Properly indexing the site with search engines
Maps – for local businesses, an essential factor to be easily found in search is maps. But which map? There are Google Maps, Bing Maps, Apple Maps, etc. The answer is all maps are critical for listings. You can submit your listing in each individual map or use a platform that will manage multiple map listings. We highly recommend using one of these platforms, primarily restaurants.
Hosting – a critical factor in creating a high-ranking website is hosting. Hosting has become a commodity, with most business owners choosing the least expensive hosting available. However, shared hosting can damage business owners’ website rankings because of blacklisted sites sharing the same IP address. Additionally, the slower the website loads, the less attractive the ranking might be. Google prefers a fast-loading website to ensure a positive user experience. The best hosting solution is a dedicated server with a clean IP address. The best hosting solutions will not come at the least expensive price. Like most things, you pay for what you get. If you have cheap hosting, there is a reason.
CDN – CDN is the acronym for “content delivery network,” which are data centers strategically located across the country or the world that index cache images of your website, delivering web pages to the visitor from the nearest location, which helps the website load faster. Fast loading websites rank better.
WordPress – among the various platforms that can be used to create websites, WordPress is among the top used for small business websites. Many complicated business websites might require a custom coded designed website. WordPress is an open-source CMS (Content Management System) platform that is highly flexible with many plugins available to create the functionality desired regardless of the business owner’s objective.
Great content – Google popularized the phrase “content is king.” They meant what they said, and still to this day, web designers ignore sufficient, quality content, in my opinion, because it takes too much time, and most are not qualified to write good content. The search engines can only read the content. They cannot read graphics for information about your business. Another common mistake is to present your content using a graphic — a big mistake. If you can’t cut and paste the content, the search engines cannot read the content. Furthermore, the content should be informative and educate the search engines, but most importantly, educate the consumers seeking your products and services when visiting your website.
Minimal graphics – while pictures and graphics are commonly desired, frequently, they are used in excess and preventing the search engines from reading what they want the most; content. Additionally, pictures and graphics will slow the load time of a website creating additional damage preventing the search engines from loving your site.
Properly indexing the website with search engines – most business owners and designers think that launching a website is all that needs to be done, but nothing is further from the truth. When the site is ready to launch and promote, it needs to be submitted to the search engines for indexing and upload the sitemap, so the search engines will know all pages and post on the site in order to index all pages and post properly.
After you follow all of these steps, then you must routinely monitor your submission with the search engines to assure that your site is being easily crawled and indexed. Additionally, the search engines will tell you how you are performing in organic traffic. You should always be adding content to your website, typically, using the blog and share the post to social media for maximum online visibility.
In our opinion, the most critical asset of a small business that depends on local traffic is its online presence. Whether you are an established business, or business seeking news customers/clients, you need to be easily found online by existing or prospective new customers.
These are common steps necessary to rank high in search results, but, depending on your competition and how aggressive their online presence is, more steps may be necessary to compete.
Ranking high in search results requires a lot of skill or money to pay those with the necessary knowledge, skills, and tools to help your website rank high in search results in order to connect with consumers seeking your products or services.
Additional steps necessary after creating the newly optimized site are routinely adding new content to the site and enhancing website security.
St Louis Media, LLC host, design and optimizes hundreds of sites using this solid foundation to create a strong online presence. If you would like additional information, email marty@STLMedia.Agency or call (417) 529-1133.