How to Generate More Online Leads As a Local Contractor

rocket taking off

If you own a business or provide a service, then probably one of the biggest questions you probably ask yourself is “how do I generate more online leads for my business”, so that’s what I am going to be discussing in today’s post.

Create a Google My Business Account

If you aren’t using Google My Business to generate free, organic leads as a contractor or local service provider, then you’re missing out. In fact, if you want to learn more about this free service and other SEO Tips, then don’t forget to check out our previous article before you leave. If you have created a Google My Business account, but aren’t sure how to get started, then you could also check out our other post on How To Use Google My Business.

Why Is Google My Business Helpful?

This free platform allows potential customers in your service area (and all over the world for that matter) to search for local businesses that can help provide them with the services that they need. It is also a way for your customers to leave you feedback once a job is done. Doing great work and providing your customers with a great experience will help build your trust and authority as a company and people will eventually take notice.

Use Google Local Service Ads

If you’re tired of spending money on Google Adwords, or maybe you’re looking for a safer approach to online advertising, then I highly suggest checking out Google Local Service Ads. This service was rolled out over a year ago by Google and it allows local business owners to pay for leads only if a real potential customer calls your phone.

The Benefits Of Local Service Ads

Here are some other additional benefits to using Google Local Service Ads:

  • You only pay for results. Meaning you only pay when a customer actually contacts you.
  • You can set your budget based on the number of leads you want.
  • Customers can easily contact you directly.
  • Your business will show up on search with the Google Guarantee Icon.

What Types of Businesses Can Use This Service?

Unfortunately, for the time being, not all businesses will be eligible to sign up for this service, but to see if yours makes the cut, check out the list below.

  • Appliance Repair Technicians
  • Auto Service Technicians
  • Carpet Cleaners
  • Electricians
  • Event Planners
  • Garage Door Professionals
  • HVAC Professionals
  • House Cleaners
  • Junk Removal Providers
  • Lawn Care Providers
  • Locksmiths
  • Movers
  • Pest Control Technicians
  • Pet Care Provider
  • Pet Groomers
  • Photographers
  • Plumbers
  • Roofers
  • Tree Service Providers
  • Water Damage Service Providers
  • Window Cleaners
  • Window Service Providers

And there you have it. That is a current list of businesses who qualify to sign up for Google Local Service ads.

How Do I Qualify?

Many of you are probably asking yourself, “I have to qualify to use this service?”, and the answer is yes. Here is what Google typically requires you to have in order to use this service:

  • Your company must Be licensed & insured (and you will have to provide documentation).
  • Your business needs to be in good standing and have a good reputation
  • Google might perform a background check on you and your employees.

You can learn more about the qualification process by contacting Google directly and speaking to customer support.

Get Listed On Directories

If you’re a local contractor that operates within a specific service area, then it definitely pays off to get yourself listed, and sometimes pay for listings on certain directories. For example, many local contractors use services such as HomeAdvisor or Thumbtack to generate qualified leads. One thing you want to try to remember with directory listings is that you want to find places where you know your potential customers go in order to find services that they need.

If you’re wondering what other directories you could possibly get listed on that might help you generate more local business, then I highly suggest reading this post by Local Seo Guide. They have compiled a pretty decent sized list for you to take a peek at and you can choose which one’s you think might benefit your business the most.

Get Active On Social Media

Now I’m sure many of you have heard this a number of times as well, but social media can be a great sales channel for your local business if you know how to use it right. Posting updates and offers to your customers is all fine and dandy, but you should also try getting creative when posting on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and even Twitter. Use these platforms to show the world what you can really do without trying to make every post a “hard sell“.

That being said, think about your social media profiles like they are a place to showcase your best work and don’t be afraid to show it off. This will not only possibly be a way for you to help generate new business, but it will help you start building your own personal brand.

Add Calls to Action to Your Website

If your local business has a website, then you should probably be making sure it has clear calls to action where appropriate. For example, making sure your phone number is clearly displayed on your website and giving potential customers the ability to click to call you from their mobile devices is definitely a practice you want to start taking part in if you aren’t already.

Additionally, make sure that you have a contact form some where on your website that potential customers can fill out after they have landed on your website. In fact, some businesses have multiple contact forms throughout their website and on every additional landing page that they create, but that is another topic for another day.

Create A Referral E-Mail Campaign

Another great way for you to drum up more business is by utilizing your current e-mail list to ask for referral business. If you’re new to e-mail marketing or aren’t sure how to go about building an automated e-mail campaign, then I suggest you check out Mailchimp.

Mailchimp offers an amazing platform that will help you design and customize your e-mails like an e-mail marketing pro, and their platform is easy to learn.

Well, that should definitely be enough to get a few of you guys started and I definitely hope this helps you start scaling your own business, so, take care and please feel free to leave a comment in the comments section below if you think I should add to this list or if you have any questions about any of the topics that were discussed in this post.

How to Use Google My Business

google maps pin

Google My Business is a great platform for both consumers and business owners. It not only helps consumers find businesses, but it is also an amazing source of free organic traffic.

If you’re scratching your head and saying, “Okay….but how do I use it”? Don’t wor

 

Add Photos Like You’re On Instagram

Think I’m kidding? No, I’m really not. Adding photos to your Google My Business page frequently can help your GMB ranking shoot through the roof.

For those of you that aren’t familiar with the platform, you can add new photos to your GMB profile by reading the following steps.

  1. Login to your Google My Business Profile
  2. Click Photos on your GMB dashboard
  3. Press the plus icon located at the top right of your screen

That’s it. So feel free to try it out and upload your first Google My Business photo if you haven’t already!

 

You can Add Videos, Too!

If taking photos isn’t enough for you, then why not take a couple of videos that show off your work? If you are savvy with a camera or know how to use your iPhone like a pro, then I suggest you take this advice seriously and go out and at least try this once.

Videos are a great way to stand out from other local businesses and if you take the time to do it you will definitely have a competitive edge on this platform.

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Post Regularly and Often

Just when you thought you never had to blog again….. Now you get to with your brand new Google My Business profile! How exciting, right?

Well, technically you might call it micro blogging? Blurbing? I don’t know, but either way, the Google My Business platform allows you to write posts, create updates, add products, and list additional offers for your business.

 

 

Update Your Holiday Hours

Sound like a mundane task? It is, but this is actually very important too. Google is all about providing the most accurate information to anyone using their platform, but doing this well also help you avoid angry customers, too.

If your hours aren’t up to date and a customer drives to your location only to find out you are closed, then you are probably going to lose a potential customer and find a nasty review on your profile.

 

Add Additional Services

Many of you reading this probably think that updating your services would be common sense, right? However, some business owners that are unfamiliar with the Google My Business platform don’t know that they have the ability to update and add additional services.

That being said, if you’re having trouble finding where you go to actually update your services, then just remember to login, click Services, and add as many services as you would like!

 

Respond to Your Reviews

Now let’s talk discuss GMB’s customer review section. If a customer decides to leave you a review on your Google My Business profile, then do your best to respond in a timely manner.

Being active on the platform and letting customers know you are paying attention to them can help you increase your customer engagement and it lets them know that you are genuinely paying attention to their feedback.

Well as always, I hoped you guys liked reading my latest article and I will definitely be back to update this some more and eventually discuss some other features in the platform, but until next time, see ya!

(Looking for other cool local seo tips? Be sure to check out this article before you go.)

How to Speed Up Your WordPress Website in 2020

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Good evening! Is your WordPress website taking forever to load? I am sure it is or else you probably wouldn’t have stumbled upon this blog post…. Well keep reading to learn how you can speed up your WordPress website just like the pros and enjoy the journey!

Delete Unnecessary Plugins

Deleting unnecessary plugins is probably one of the easiest things you can do to speed up your WordPress website, because all you have to do is login, deactivate and delete the plugins you don’t need, and you’re done!

Just remember not to delete any plugins that you actually use or any that might be required for your theme to function correctly, or else you could temporarily end up with a very wonky looking website and nobody wants that, right?

Resize and Compress Your Images

If you read our previous article 10 SEO Tips Every Business Owner Should Know, then you probably noticed that we mentioned that optimizing your images will help you decrease your website’s loading time, right? Well, let’s dive into that topic for a bit.

When you are uploading images to your website try to always make sure that each individual image is under 100 kilobytes. If you don’t have an image compression plugin installed on your website to help reduce the filesize, then you can try using compressjpeg.com and compresspng.com in the meantime.

You probably already know that some pictures just won’t make the cut and my advice to you is to just find different pictures or just keep in mind that they might be a bit larger than you would have hoped.

Remove Inactive Themes

Not many people know this, but having multiple themes installed will actually slow your website down. So, just remember to check what themes you have installed once in a while and remember to remove any themes you currently aren’t using.

Another great thing you can do for yourself before installing and deciding to use a new WordPress theme is to check the theme’s GTMetrix score beforehand that way you know if it performs well or not.

Failing to do so can end up leaving you frustrated and confused, especially if you do everything right, but are still getting low page speed scores.

Disable WordPress Heartbeat

Did you know that disabling WP Heartbeat will also help speed up your WordPress website? For those of you don’t know what WP Heartbeat is, then let me give you a quick run down of what it is before we continue.

WordPress Heartbeat or WP Heartbeat is the autosave feature that is built into WordPress; however, it can definitely cause performance issues with some WordPress websites because it basically runs constantly.

Moving on, I also wanted to say If you’re new to WordPress, then please exercise this next tip with caution because you will have to edit your functions.php file in order for this to work.

That being said, I strongly advise you to install a child theme on your WordPress website before adding the following code.

Okay, so after you have installed your child theme (or if you didn’t) all you have to do is copy and paste this code into your functions.php file and press save.

add_action( ‘init’, ‘stop_heartbeat’, 1 );
function stop_heartbeat() {
wp_deregister_script(‘heartbeat’);
}

Easy enough, right? Before we move on to the next tip, I want to credit Themeskills for this advice on WP Heartbeat.

Install a Caching Plugin

Kind of ironic that you’re being told to install a plugin after we just got done telling you to delete ones you don’t need, huh. Well, in this case, downloading and installing a caching plugin like WP Fastest Cache will usually do your website a lot of good and here’s why….

  • It will allow you to minify HTML, Javascript, and CSS.
  • The premium version will compress your images for you.
  • WP Fastest Cache even allows you to Lazy Load your images.
  • This caching plugin also allows you to enable GZip Compression.

Do your website and yourself a favor and go and install a caching plugin to help you get those GTMetrix page speed scores from an F to an A!

I hope you have enjoyed reading tonight’s article about how to speed up your WordPress Website in 2020 and I encourage to come back and visit us often for more awesome WordPress tips and tricks!

10 SEO Tips Every Business Owner Should Know

business owner searching for seo tips online

If you’re looking for some solid seo tips to help grow your business, then you’re in the right place. Learning the basic best practices of Search Engine Optimization can help you expand your online presence and help you increase your overall customer base. So, let’s jump right in and start learning some of the internet’s best kept secrets so that you can hit the ground running.

 

Subscribe to Relevant Business Directories

You have probably heard about business directories and many of you have probably created an account on one or two, but aren’t understanding why you aren’t seeing an increase in traffic or an increase in your website leads.

That being said, have you ever asked yourself if you are subscribing to the right business directories? Many business owners try a one size fits all approach when it comes to getting listed on web directories and I can tell you from experience in most cases that is the wrong approach.

For example, if you’re in the business of building houses, then try to find websites and directories that cater to your specific niche.

 

Update Your Website Often

This is another SEO tip that most business owners undervalue, but I can assure you that updating your website regularly is important. Search engines like Google take notice when websites are creating and updating their content and it’s very important to try and stay ahead of the curve.

If you struggle with creating blog posts or updating your service pages, or just don’t know what kind of content to create for your business, then why not take a step back and look at your website as if you were a customer?

Think about what kinds of questions you would have for your business and talk about them in an informative blog post!

You could even go through each one of your service pages and add a frequently asked questions section and add additional information about each specific service.

 

Don’t Forget About Your Meta Descriptions

This seo tip is definitely a no brainer, but one that is often overlooked. You should always remember to write unique meta descriptions for each and every page or post on your website.

It is also considered best practice to include the focus keyword of that specific page in your meta description so your users can better understand what the page is about before they click on the link.

 

Get Listed On Google My Business

Remember those relevant business directories we just discussed? Google My Business is definitely a directory most local businesses will want to get listed on. Not only will it help your physical location to be displayed on Google Maps, but it is literally a free lead generation tool.

If you’re a business owner and you’re not utilizing this free service, then please, do yourself a favor and create a profile.

Google My Business will let your customers give you reviews and if you’re doing good work, other people will take notice when searching for businesses like yours in your service area.

 

Make Sure Your Website Is Fast

This is probably another no brainer SEO tip, but a good one nonetheless. Research suggests that improving page speed can help you decrease your bounce rate and improve overall website conversions, but you’re probably asking yourself how do I do that?

Well, if you have a WordPress website, then I suggest you check out our article on page speed optimization to learn more.

But, if you don’t feel like reading that article right now, then here’s some quick and dirty advice to get you started.

  • Utilize Browser Caching
  • Optimize Your Images
  • Don’t overuse Javascript
  • Compress your CSS
  • Eliminate Render Blocking JS
  • Use a CDN if your website has tons of content.

 

Make Sure Your Website Is User Friendly

If you are going to take anything away from this article, then please make sure you pay close attention to the next few sentences, because this is probably one of the most important SEO tips in this entire post.

Google has stated several times in the past that making sure your website is mobile responsive and user friendly is definitely something that can help you improve your overall search performance so here are a few things to consider when trying to determine if your website is user friendly or not.

  • Does your website load properly on all mobile devices?
  • Does each page load quickly?
  • Is your website easy to navigate?

 

Get An SSL Certificate

Think SSL certificates are only for website owners that have an e-commerce store? Think again! Google has also came out and said that putting an SSL certificate on your website is one of the easiest things you can do to boost your search engine rankings.

If you don’t know what an SSL certificate is, then I suggest reading about it by clicking here.

 

Update Your Images ALT Text

Did you know updating your images alternative text will help your images rank on Google images? It’s true and that’s because alternative text helps search engines understand what your image is actually about.

However, remember to be mindful of Google’s best practices when writing your alt image text by honestly describing your images. That means you

 

Check Your Page Titles

This next search engine optimization tip will definitely give you a laugh, but I am being very serious when I say this….Check your page titles! If you create a new web page and you have a title like laundry service near me, then you’re doing it wrong.

A page title such as laundry service in Sacramento, California would be more appropriate. If you are trying to gain local in bound traffic, then make sure to include the city and state you serve in the page title if you think it’s appropriate.

Another good rule of thumb regarding your page titles is to also try and be as descriptive as possible. However, please also remember to try and keep your page titles under 60 characters. You can learn why character limit on your page titles is important by checking out this article from MOZ.

 

Don’t Forget About Header Tags

So, this is my final SEO tip for this article and I saved the most basic for last. When it comes to helping search engines understand what a specific page is about it’s also important for you to optimize your header tags.

Your <h1> tag is considered the most important header tag on any page or post and should always contain your focus keyword.

Furthermore, your <h2> through <h6> tags should include different variations of that same keyword when possible and wherever appropriate.

 

Bonus SEO Tip: Create Better Permalinks

Before we finish up this article I also think it is a good idea to talk to you about writing better permalinks. When you’re about to publish a page or post remember to always double check and see if your permalinks contain your focus keyword and avoid using permalinks such as /123445 etc.

I hope this article will help many of you business owners in the future and I also hope you will come back and check out our blog frequently for more awesome advice on search engine optimization.

Until next time, farewell and remember to contact us if you need any help regarding web design or development!

What Type Of Website Will Work Best For You?

a website that is mobile responsive

Are you wanting to build your own website or have a professional web designer build one for you, but don’t know which platform will work best in your case? In case you’re unsure, or your web designer hasn’t consulted you on this topic, we will try to help you figure it out.

Before you try and make a decision, be sure to ask yourself the following questions

 

What Is Your Website Going To Do?

Although this is the first question, it is also the most important one in this list, too. Before you go out and hire a web designer or web developer to create you a brand new website or before deciding to take on the task of building it yourself, you need to have a clear idea of what exactly it is that you want it to do.

 

Will You Be Buying Or Selling Products Online?

If you have decided that you’re going to be launching an e-commerce business that involves you selling your own products online, then you have one to two reasonable choices (Note: there are several e-commerce platforms out there, but they are geared towards already established businesses) and those two choices are WordPress or Shopify.

 

Will You Be Drop Shipping Products?

You have probably heard of the term drop shipping, unless you have been living under a rock for the last few years. Either way, if you are considered utilizing drop shipping as your go to business model, then you probably want to think about learning more about Shopify because their platform has tons of tools already readily available that will make drop shipping your products of choice a breeze.

 

What Is Your Budget?

This seems like a no brainer question, but it is still one you should be asking yourself because it is extremely important. If you want a website that can be completely customized to fit your style and vision, then you might think about using either WordPress or Shopify rather than Squarespace, Wix, or Weebly. If you’re going to be strictly selling products and budget isn’t an issue, then click here to learn more about Shopify, but if you’re thinking about selling courses, memberships, or you just want to create a website for your online business, then click here to learn more about WordPress.

If budget constraints are an issue for you at the moment, or if you want to get a website up rather quickly, then I suggest you start contemplating on whether you will use Squarespace, Wix, or Weebly. All three of these platforms come with easy to use website builders that require no coding experience; however, they do have their limitations, so be warned.

 

Will You Be Blogging Or Uploading Content?

Are you thinking about branding yourself as a social media influencer, consultant, or industry expert? If that’s your angle, then you’re going to want to have a content management system that lets you publish content, post courses, and allow you to create a subscription payment system for your loyal audience. If this is the type of website you’re looking to create, then your go to platform will definitely be WordPress.

 

Static HTML Websites

Static HTML websites are starting to be used less and less as other more convenient website building platforms become available. For example, WordPress allows you to create online stores, launch blogs, sell courses, and just about anything else. However, if you’re into wasting countless hours on your computer coding HTML, CSS or Javascript, then a static HTML website might be right for you.

However, I did forget to mention that static HTML websites are great if you love experimenting with purely custom effects and if you’re looking to build a website with very few web pages. I say this because any time you want to add content or make an edit to one of your web pages, well you will have to actually edit the HTML source code which can be extremely painful and tedious if you’re inexperienced or if you don’t have much time on your hands.

WordPress Websites

Now, let’s get into the WordPress CMS for a bit (and yes I know some of you are going to say it isn’t a real CMS, but we all know that is debatable) and go over what this website platform can do. First of all, WordPress is great for people and business owners who are looking to utilize blogging as a tool to gain additional inbound web traffic.

Furthermore, WordPress is also a great platform for launching an E-commerce business, too. To be honest, there isn’t much that you probably can’t accomplish with WordPress, but that still doesn’t mean that it is the best platform for you.

Getting a professional web designer to build a WordPress website that looks stunning and has amazing functionality can be a bit more costlier than having a designer build you a website on Wix or Squarespace and you will most likely have to learn a thing or two about updating plugins and themes.

 

Shopify Websites

The Shopify platform is great for building and launching online stores and it comes with loads of plugins just like WordPress. However, if you don’t like paying monthly fees or if you don’t have an extra few hundred dollars in your budget every month, then you should probably think twice about building your E-commerce website on this platform.

That being said, yes, Shopify is a little pricey; however, it is still a solid platform to use when it comes to building your online store and it definitely has some great marketing tools that will help you reach your target audience. So, if you’re serious about starting an E-Commerce business, then you might want to weigh the pros and cons of Shopify.

 

Squarespace Websites

Squarespace tends to be a platform to use if you want a simple, run of the mill website that requires little management or development knowledge. However, I do want to point out that if you plan on building an extensive amount of pages or creating a blog to try and gain additional inbound traffic, then this platform is probably not for you.

This is a platform that is great if you’re working with a tight budget or if you want to try and build a website yourself. Most businesses and startups usually launch their first website using this platform, but eventually either outgrow it or decide they want to build something more custom to achieve their branding goals.

 

Wix Websites

As most of you know, WiX comes with their own website builder just like Squarespace does, but the same principle that applies to Squarespace applies to this website platform, too. If you want something quick, easy to manage, or if you’re on a tight budget, then you might also want to consider WiX as well.

I hope this recent post has helped you make a decision about what type of website you want to build or have designed and if you have any additional questions regarding this topic or want to share your thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment down below.