Local businesses can benefit immensely from having a website. If your target audience is mainly local, then your site building efforts should be more focused than building a generic online store. Here are several tips that will help you create a highly appealing local online store:
Pick a Flexible CMS
First, you need to choose flexible CMS for your site building needs, just like for any other business. Choose a platform like Shopify, Magento or Wix Commerce that allow sites to grow and expand without a hassle. These CMS platforms are already enhanced to support business sites, so you won’t have to go looking for extensions to add functionality to your site. You should consider hiring local developers to build the site if technical knowledge is lacking on your site. Choose a Local Domain Name
Pick a geographically-specific domain name for your site. Do pay for a .au domain extension so your site gets priority listing on Google for local searches. You can add the city name on the domain too, but only if necessary. For example, shoessydney.com is a better domain name for a shoe shop in Sydney that sells only in the area than shoesaustralia.com or just plain shoes.com. Like the latter domain name used in the example, do not use names that are already taken. Make sure the domain is as unique as possible so your local customers can remember it very well.
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Optimise with Local Keywords
Use organic or local keywords on your site. Don’t bother with generic keywords beyond one or two. The best way to reach your local audience is to use geographically-specific, locally targeted keywords. You will have to spend some time researching these. Once you have narrowed down the keywords you want, do on-page SEO. Include the main keyword on page titles, meta descriptions, and tags. If possible, add keywords to the site domain too, but without overly complicating the name. Use keywords as appropriate, but be careful of keyword stuffing.
Feature the Site on Locally Popular Blogs
SEO and promotion is part of the web design process. Once your basic design is done, you should start promoting your site on locally popular blogs. To build anticipation, you can write about the website building process itself. Start linking your site to local blogs to drive traffic later.
Offer Free Shipping
To stay competitive, your will have to offer local customers free shipping. It’s a highly desirable feature many consumers desire. Add components to your site that says shipping is free fully or on a limited basis. Add a line of code to show a “free shipping” tag on select or all product descriptions to drive conversions.
Use Images of the Area
Adding photos to your site? Of course, all e-commerce sites require good graphics to attract customers. To attract local customers, use local imagery as well that will look familiar to your buyers.
Use the above tips to better target local customers with your new online store.