Features

How to Get Found Online

You may have a website, but are you attracting web-savvy clients?
By Gail Doby
August 25, 2011

You have a nice website, yet you’re not getting the calls you want or need to have a profitable and sustainable business that provides the lifestyle you deserve. Why is that?

Just because you have a website doesn’t mean consumers can find you. Have you searched for kitchen and bath designers in your metro area? Do you come up on the first page of Google or Yahoo!? If not, you need to do some work. Eighty percent of the calls go to the top three listings on the first page of the search engines.

Following are some tips to optimize your website and get yourself found:

• List your site with the search engines. If you do this yourself, this can take many hours, but it is free. I really recommend outsourcing this to someone who does this all the time.

• Optimize your site for the keywords that people use to search for interior designers in your area. Keywords could be “kitchen and bath designer New York,” or “kitchen designer San Francisco.” Your website should be optimized with your keywords, using anchor links within the text of your site. An anchor link is text the search engines see that indicates relevance to a keyword search by someone looking for your services. For instance, one search term you might use to look for a business such as Design Success University is “interior design business.”

• Make sure you anchor link keywords to secondary pages within your website. This is called “deep linking.” The search engines reward you for this because you have more content that makes the search on your site more relevant. Here are examples you might use on your site:
✓ “Kitchen design (name of the city)”

✓ “Kitchen and bath designer (name of the city)”

✓ “Kitchen design (name of the city)”

✓ “Bathroom designer (name of the city)”

If you’re really on top of the game, your website address, or URL, should include the main keywords someone might use to find you. For example:

http://www.kitchendandbathdesigneryourcityyourcompanyname.com.

If you don’t have a website address like this, you can register a new domain that uses this naming convention and forward it to your current website address.

• Be sure to list your site on Google Places, Bing and Yahoo! maps. It is free and extremely important to help you get found. You’ll also need to verify these accounts. Just search Google to find out how to list your site. These days, over 70 percent of all people who look for any service look online and view your website before calling you. If you’re not on Page 1, you’re not likely to be found.

• Add a blog to your website, and post articles at least twice a week with the main keywords for your site. Search engines “crawl” the web every day looking for new content. Fresher content gets higher rankings in the search engines. If you don’t have a blog attached to your site, then at least update your website as frequently as possible.

A blog is highly recommended because you can update it yourself. There are many qualified web developers who can set up a template for your site and teach you how to use it. You can even use a hybrid blog template that looks more like a website. Just search on Google for WordPress templates and take a look at the options available. StudioPress has great blog templates that fit artistic businesses.

• Every website or blog can be customized with your logo, branding and graphics. Give a free gift to get your website visitors to give you their name and email so you can add them to your newsletter program. Stay in front of your prospects every month with a fun and informative newsletter because you never know when someone will be ready for your services.

• Write your content to appeal to the emotions of the potential client. Don’t use a laundry list of what you do. Tell your visitors how you improve their lives.

• Use Alt-Tags for all photographs on your site. Use naming conventions similar to those mentioned above. “Gourmet Kitchen Design NYC” would be a good tag if you want your images to show up toward the top of the search engines.

• Talk to your webmaster about your H1 tag (title tag), meta description and meta tags. These must be relevant to the keywords that your prospects use to search for you on the web.

And if you really want to get found, use a video about your business. Few designers use videos yet, so you’re very likely to get a high search ranking if you use a video with keywords and your URL in the description.


—Gail Doby, ASID, is cofounder and chief vision officer of Design Success University (DSU). DSU provides design professionals with a shortcut to a more profitable and passion-filled business. Click the link to get your complimentary copy of the Interior Design Fee & Salary Survey eBook.
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