X3 Marketing Group: Do I need a business website in 2021?

Do I Need A Business Website in 2021?

We’re going to get into the “Why?” of this question below but first, let’s get the main answer out of the way:

Yes, your small business definitely needs a website. And it needs it yesterday. 84% of today’s consumers think a website makes your business more credible than companies who only have social media profiles (themeisle.com). On top of that, 72% of consumers that perform a local search visit a store within 5 miles of their current location.

Does my small business need a website?

Does my small business need a website?

What's the best website builder for small business?

What’s the best website builder for small business?

How about Google My Business websites?

How about Google My Business websites?

What about those "Free" website builders?

What about those “Free” website builders?

Does my small business need a website?

As we said unequivocally above, yes. 100%. Why though? Frankly, it’s all about legitimacy and appearing above your competitors in Google Search. By the end of 2019, 97% of consumers looking for a local business did so by using a search engine and 91% of the time, that search engine is Google.

X3 Marketing Group Mobile and Digital Marketing

When we search for a local business – let’s take a mechanic in Northglenn, Colorado where our office is, for example – we’re looking for a business that is close by so we don’t spend a huge amount of our day driving to and from and we also want a mechanic who comes recommended by our neighbors and people we know.

If we search for this mechanic and there is simply a Google My Business listing which hasn’t been “claimed” by the business owner and whose information is incorrect and whose phone number is incorrect. Out of the gate, that business is losing credibility and frustrating a potential customer. In this scenario, let’s say that the customer keeps looking for a way to get in touch with the mechanic and they go digging for a website. If no website exists, the auto shop has almost certainly lost that potential customer.

When we, as an agency that provides local SEO services, work with a client the very first thing we look at is whether that small business has a website where we can drive traffic using one of our strategic SEO packages or digital advertising services. If you don’t have a website to accompany your marketing efforts, it will affect all of your online marketing plans and no amount of customer service can help if no customers can find your otherwise successful business online.

As a final point, a full 80% of online search engine usage takes place on a mobile device. If you don’t have a site at all, you’re not going to show up on mobile either.

What’s the best website builder for small business?

We’ve certainly covered this in other X3 Marketing Group articles but since HOW your website is built is almost as important as having a website at all, we’ll touch on it again. Here are some of the most popular ways to build a small business website ranging from “Free” to quite expensive, custom website builds:

Weebly: This is a reasonable way to just get an online presence but it’s extremely limited in its ability to generate leads for heating and air conditioning repair and service (or any other leads for that matter). Not good for SEO.
Wix: Similar to Weebly in that it’s a decent stop-gap while your “big kid” website is under construction with X3 (#shamelessplug). Generally speaking, there’s quite a bit of “you-get-what-you-pay-for” when it comes to online marketing and there are challenges with Wix which would make it less than ideal for reaching and engaging a loyal customer base through SEO.
Squarespace: While it’s still missing some of the SEO tools of other platforms, Squarespace is known for visually appealing websites that incorporate beautiful images on a bit of a budget. Easy to work with, it requires almost none of the technical skills that may give you pause.
WordPress: Open source and very customizable, WordPress is primarily what we build on (ahem) and makes for a solid solution. There is a world of plugins by third-party developers to make WordPress very customizable to your needs. Can be a bit sluggish from time to time if not properly optimized.
Custom: There are a couple of very important things to consider when looking at a fully custom coded website; 1. the cost will likely be significantly more than other platforms and 2. the development time will certainly be longer (typically about double) than most estimates given at the outset of a project. On the other hand, a fully-custom Python build, for example, can be fast, powerful and do pretty much everything a company of any size could need (and pay for).
In order for an agency like X3 Marketing Group to bring a small business the best local SEO services as well as giving the most bang-for-your-buck with pay-per-click and other other digital marketing and advertising methods, your website needs needs to be at the forefront of marketing efforts to effectively capitalize on a wide range of the available marketing tools.
X3 Marketing Group: Squarespace
X3 Marketing Group: Weebly

X3 Marketing Group: Wix

X3 Marketing Group: WordPress

What about Google Sites?

Speaking frankly, we wouldn’t consider Google Sites (Google My Business free websites) a true “website builder”. It can be a temporary placeholder while your website is under construction but its functionality is very limited and while it may answer basic questions your perspective customers may have, customer behavior tells use that a well-organized and visually appealing website is what causes a prospective customer to reach out. Google sites simply don’t have enough functionality.

X3 Marketing Group: Google Sites

Additionally, Google sites don’t offer the ability to have a custom domain – this means you don’t truly have your own .COM. Google’s sites instead have a long URL string beginning with “sites.google.com/yournamehere”. This means that any traffic you get isn’t owned by your business and things like social media channels will reflect this. At the outset of this article, we talked about the credibility factor of having a website and not having your own URL is a big no-no in the world of online marketing.

What about a free website builder?

We touched on this above when talking about some of the types of website builders available but we’ll expand a bit more here. Free website builders are certainly a tempting option – especially for those small businesses who are starting out and simply need a web presence. These free options often act as the hosting provider, WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) website editor and, to some degree, design company.
Most free website builders will give you some templates from which to select your website layout and even access to royalty-free, high-quality images to use. You can include functionality like a contact form. With some free website builders you can have your own custom domain with whatever domain extension you’d like (.com, .net, .tv, .co, etc.) but others will restrict your URL to being a subdirectory or subdomain of their site (like the sites.google.com/yournamehere mentioned above).

Another drawback of these free website builders is that they often require their own branding to remain on YOUR site. This is akin to handing someone your business card and it having “Kinko’s!” printed across the top.

As a marketing tool, your website helps establish and, over time, build credibility. It give people who have found you through and online review a place to click to to find out more about your business success. If it appears unprofessional and/or isn’t engaging, potential customers will leave and look elsewhere.

When it comes to websites, there are widely varying degrees of “you-get-what-you-pay-for” for sure but few (if any) digital marketing professionals would agree that a “free” website is much more than a placeholder while you grown-up site is being built.

X3 Small Business SEO Packages

Small Business SEO Packages; Finding The Right One

Small business SEO. Is it worth it?

Let’s be honest, COVID-19 has affected just about every aspect of our lives. From how we go “out” to eat to how we shop, consumers are going online to search for what they need more than ever. Simultaneously, businesses are having to adapt how their existing and potential clients find them. Gone are the days of relying on radio, word-of-mouth marketing or newspapers. Local search engine optimization (aka, local SEO and small business SEO packages), Google My Business, local citations and business listings, digital advertising and an entire suite of SEO services related to digital marketing is how we shop.

Today we’re going to take a look at how a local SEO package can turn just a website visitor into a customer and how important it is for a business to be relevant in the digital space. But first, do the goals of a well thought out SEO strategy make it worth the cost?

Global spending on digital marketing nears $100 billion: study

Yes and no. I met a potential customer a couple of years ago in the home services space. More specifically, his company provided electricians, plumbers, heating and air conditioning services. As part of his digital marketing strategy, he was using Google PPC (pay-per-click) advertising – which is definitely one of the services that X3 provides and includes in the online marketing strategy for many of our customers. His spend with Google was about $6,000 per month which is a healthy spend and was paying for itself with a roughly 1:1 direct return on investment. Where he lost money however, was in how he was managing his PPC campaigns.

X3: Small business SEO. Is it worth it?

This gentleman was doing all of the keyword research, competitor analysis, conversion goals, and other work to run his campaigns all on his own which is quite common among many small business owners. When I asked him how many hours a week he spent managing his ads, he told me about 10 hours per week (40 hours per month for those playing along). I then asked him what his hourly rate was for he and his employees, he told me it was a baseline of $100 per hour. This means that he was taking an additional $4000 in his own time and adding it to his cost each month. When you add to that the fact that he had to learn all of the management and tools to run his campaigns, he’s probably coming out in the negative.

Now, I know that I’m talking about a pay-per-click strategy here but much of the keyword research is the same as it is with search engine optimization (SEO). At X3, it’s our job to know what Google is looking for and to pay attention to key algorithm and strategy updates. While PPC or small business SEO packages certainly aren’t free, the knowledge which an agency like ours holds means that we know how to attract the “eyes”  or major search engines and bring the digital customer to your door.

What do small business SEO packages include?

At X3 we focus on value because cost – as all good small business owners know – is a terrible indicator of the positive return a service brings. With that in mind, let’s take a look at just what one of X3’s small business SEO packages might include

– Keyword Strategy

This would include a set of relevant keywords to the business in question. With local organic search being the primary focus of our imaginary small business, these keywords would need to tightly define how a business would like to be found in local search which would result in not just “tire kicker” leads but leads which are intent on buying their product or service.

– On Page Optimization

This can include a wide variety of things which all fall under established (and shifting) guidelines. To name a few: site map, keyword research, code validation, meta & title tags and image & video optimization to name a few. Google webmaster guidelines help to define these and every single piece of the puzzle can help result in more organic traffic.

– Link Building

If me and 99 of my closest friends were at a bar (minus the ridiculous COVID-19 thing) and someone said, “Hey everyone! Can you recommend a good plumber?” and five of us pointed at Bob of Bob’s plumbing, we would be creating what amounts to a real-world backlink. We are using our social proof to create a link to Bob. When it comes to building high quality backlinks on the internet, the same principle holds true for a great SEO strategy. A link for Bob’s plumbing on a local business directory like a chamber of commerce helps to increase Bob’s search engine rankings by telling potential customers that his business is trusted.

X3: What do small business SEO packages include?

– Content Marketing

There is a saying in the SEO marketing world: “Content is king”. To a very large degree this holds true. When we refer to content creation what we’re primarily talking about are additional pages on a website which may describe services and the like. We’re also speaking of blog posts like the one you’re reading now. Adding content to a website on a consistent, ongoing basis is one of the biggest factors in small business SEO and can even result in potential customers seeing links to your site on social media outlets.

Should we hire an SEO agency or try to handle search engine optimization on my own?

I like to use this analogy a lot: Can I replace my own roof? Absolutely. I can go on any number of instructional websites (including YouTube) and find out exactly what I need to do; what supplies and tools to buy, where to buy them and how to do the installation. In fact, I could probably do all of that for less money than hiring a roofer. However, just looking at the amount of time it would take for me to learn all of that, not to mention the inevitable mistakes would put me so far behind in terms of being cost effective that I would be MUCH better off hiring a professional.

Webmaster Guidelines  |  Google Search Central  |  Google Developers

So back to the original question: Should we hire and SEO agency or try to handle it on your own? First, no, you shouldn’t hire an agency, you should hire X3. Period.

Hiring an SEO firm (ahem – X3 – ahem) means you’re hiring someone who is used to providing business SEO services. We are SEO experts in each aspect of the game. This includes content marketing, Technical SEO, Google algorithm updates, on and off page optimization, content analysis just to name a few.

I’ll go back to an earlier point here as well; if you had a machine which you could put a dollar into and get 2 back, you’d be camped out in front of that machine all day long. That’s what happens when you work with SEO professional like us at X3. We do everything we can to make sure your search ranking outstrips the other guys, even in highly competitive industries which includes SEO for roofers in Colorado where there are over 5,000 licensed roofers to compete with. Our small business SEO packages are designed to make you dominate your competition online while simultaneously bring you trust, results and clarity.

X3: Small business SEO. Is it worth it?
Additionally, our marketing services don’t end there. We’ll cover this in another article coming up but our team has developed an amazing long term strategy which brings all avenues of generating business with your target audience to fruition. We engage our SEO team in addition to social media marketing, retargeting and cross-populating targeting and reviews to increase your conversion rates in local and national markets.

The Bottom Line

At X3 we are SEO professionals. It is our job to maximize your marketing budget so your digital marketing efforts can turn search engines into that put-one-in-get-two-back money machine I mentioned earlier. It’s also our job to show you how your money is being spent and provide the trust, results and clarity so you can account for each dollar and track conversion goals to see that money grow. Let’s talk.

Curious to see how small business from X3 can hep you DOMINATE YOUR COMPETITION ONLINE? Get in touch!

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