Just like building a house there are some key elements of building a website that are required to ensure it stands the test of time.
Below are the top 3 things to do when building your small business website
1. Optimise Your Site For Search Engines
Most people find websites by using Search Engines, if your site isn't 'optimised' for a Search Engine you won't even be found when customers are searching your business name, yet alone more non business name search terms.
Pages have two important elements:
The Page Title is what you see in the tab or browser title and is the clickable heading in Search Results. It can be up to 60 characters, any more and it will get cut off on teh Search Results page.
The Page Description is a short summary of 30 to 160 characters that is a summary of what's on the page. For Google in particular, it needs to closely match the readable content on the page, otherwise you can be penalised. The description should contain relevant key words that reflect your product or services.
Look for 'SERP Preview Tools' to help you see what your pages will look like in Search Engines Results Pages and look for 'Keyword Rank Checker' to check which keywords to use.
2. List Your Business On Local Business Listing Sites
It's unlikely you will immediately start getting traffic to your site from Search Engines if you just optimise for search engines. This is becuase without any other website having a link to your site, Search Engines don't really know about your website.
That's why it's important to add a link to your site on websites that already rank well in search engines such as business listing sites. The more sites that have a link to your site (backlinks) the more likely Search Engines are going to consider your site as reputable.
It's important thought to ensure you don't put a link to your site from just any other site, especially if it bears no relevance to your website. Search Engines are smart enough to recognise this!
3. Add Your Business To Google
This relates to the above point with extra sauce. Adding your business as a business listing on Google will not only give you another link to your website but it will make your site more visible on Google in the big white space to the right of the Search Results.
You need to provide a recognised street address (no PO Box) as Google will send you a verification code in the mail to ensure no-one else steals your business listing. Very clever.