Do you need a website? If you have one, are you generating visitors? For many service and business professionals, their title says it all: Bee Keeper, Painter, Tow Services, Taxi Service, Piano Teacher. They might be experts in what they do, and have even gone to trade schools to master their craft, but most of the time have never been taught the importance of marketing.
Ask yourself, as a consumer, if you were searching for one of these professionals, do you browse the internet to find one or pull out the "old school" yellow pages. The fact is most people (and it is increasing every day) are using the internet.
The future is leveraging yourself as quickly and inexpensively as possible. The best way to do that, is to get a professional web site that serves as your business card on the world wide web.
Now, if you don't have a website yet, you can start by getting listed in some of the online directories. That is a great start. There are specialized directories for many professions and general directories for all types of businesses. You should be taking advantage of the ones available to you.
The next step is to provide more detailed information about yourself. Most directories provide a link that can be connected to your personal website. It is said on the movies, "If you build it...they will come." Well that's partially true and partially not. Yes, it is important to have a website; however, it is critical that is built and positioned in a way that people will find it.
Having someone build a beautiful site that no one can find is like building a 20,000 square foot mansion in the middle of the desert. It might be pretty, but no one is going to find it and visit you.
There are a limited number of entries that show up on the first page of results when you search. Your goal is to appear there. Specifically in what is called the "organic sweet spot" which is the first 3-4 entries on the first page of searches.
It can be difficult to impossible for a small business or professional to compete with big budget competitors to get to that first page. Search engines want to return the most useful information to the search. They will therefore use their algorithms to determine which sites they feel best provide the information consumers are seeking. For this reason, it is important that your site is not only esthetically appealing, but full of relevant content and "friendly" to search engines.
To generate consumer online, begin by entering your company information on the best quality directories. Once this is done, focus on creating a website that contributes to it, as well as independently draws consumers to your site. After all, the purpose of a website is not to make you feel good, it is to make you money!