At eTech Parts we’re always looking for new ways to help your repair business. Over the past year, the online Repair Community has grown in size and strength and continues to benefit the members who join and contribute. One thing we’ve noticed amidst an abundance of technical advice in the Repair Community is a lack of industry-specific online marketing and business advice.
It’s our goal to change that, which is why we’re thrilled to introduce Online Marketing 101 — a brand new collaborative blog series with our favorite online marketing expert, Josh Muccio!
Josh Muccio is the founder of iHeartRepair.com and an expert in online marketing. Now he’s helping other people to scale their businesses using growth marketing techniques. To learn more, go to JoshMuccio.com.
Let’s talk about online marketing for your small business. In this series we will be discussing how you can market your business online in a powerful, effective way that will actually move the needle and help you stay ahead of the competition. We’ll assume that you have a high quality product (thanks to eTech Parts) and that your brand is already spreading via word of mouth.
Let’s start this 5 part series by creating your brand online:
How to Build Your Website
We’ll assume that you’ve already chosen a brand name and created a logo for your small business. If you haven’t created a logo and you need one quickly, then I recommend Withoomph.com for instantly creating a quality logo for free! If you need help finding an available domain name, try out Naminum or Domainr for inspiration.
Select A Platform: Choose Carefully!
There are literally hundreds of platforms out there to choose from. I’m going to suggest a few of the most used and well supported platforms available today. I have experience using each of the platforms below and I highly recommend them for building an effective, high-converting website for your small business.
Self-Hosted WordPress – Excellent option if want want to have control over the content on the site after it is built. We recommend that you purchase a theme that you like, then hire a web designer to set it up for you.
Strengths: Open Source, Strong Theme & Plugin Community, Blog Capabilities Included, Start for $7 a month
Drawbacks: Moderate Learning Curve, Tons of Options
Squarespace – Perfect option if you are on a budget and want to build the website yourself in your spare time. Squarespace is considered the most user friendly platform for building your first website.
Strengths: Free Themes Included, Blog Capabilities Included, eCommerce Included, Start for $10 a month
Drawbacks: Closed Source
Shopify – If you are looking to make eCommerce a key part of your online strategy then Shopify is the clear choice. It’s not as user friendly as Squarespace, but with their integrated POS system for your store they are certainly worth considering.
Strengths: Powerful eCommerce Platform, Free Themes Included, Blog Capabilities Included, POS Available, Start for $14 a month
Drawbacks: Closed Source, Higher Pricing
TIP: No matter what platform you choose, make sure it incorporates a company blog. Your company blog can be one of the most effective SEO strategies for marketing your brand online.
Set Up Your Pages and Navigation
Here’s 5 must-have pages for your small biz site.
- About Us: How to Write an Effective About Us Page
- FAQ: Just list common questions that your customers ask and a quick answer to each. You could include your FAQ on your contact us page instead of building a separate FAQ page.
- Contact Us: Phone numbers, addresses, social networks, a map to your location, and an email form.
- Our Services: List the main services you provide: ex. “Smartphone Repairs”, “Tablet Repairs”, “iPhone Repairs”, “Android Repairs” etc. For added SEO benefit you could create separate pages for each type of repair service that you offer, then link to each of those pages from your homepage and the Our Services page.
- Areas We Serve: I recommend (for SEO reasons) that you create separate pages for each city that you serve. Then list these areas in a dropdown menu under the “Areas We Serve” link.
Once you have an outline of the pages in your site, then you can start looking at themes or choose a web designer.
Choose Your Theme or Template
Themes will be very different by platform. So it may be worth looking at the themes available for each platform before you move forward. A great place to start looking at high quality themes for each platform is on ThemeForest.net. You can sort themes by platform and best selling. Or you can look at themes provided by your platform.
TIP: Look for a theme that is “responsive”. A responsive theme will look good on any device (Desktop, Tablet and Mobile) and search engines actually prefer sites that are designed to be “responsive”.
Should you build the site on your own or hire a web designer?
Once you’ve chosen a theme that you like you will need to choose whether you will be building the site on your own or if you will hire a web designer instead. If you need help choosing a web designer, take a look at this post.
If you are interested in tinkering around by building your own website then I suggest you take this opportunity to learn first hand, any of the platforms listed above will be a good choice to get started with. Just keep in mind that doing it on your own could mean that it takes longer to actually launch the site.
If you don’t want to mess with the web stuff then I suggest you hire a web designer to help you customize the site to your liking. It will save you money if you buy a theme from one of the marketplaces listed above and then have your web designer customize it for you. I don’t usually recommend having your designer build the site from scratch when there are so many templates/themes out there that can provide you with an excellent starting point.
If you still aren’t sure whether you want to do it yourself or hire a designer then feel free to get in touch with me and I’ll help you figure out what’s right for you.
How to Measure What Visitors Do on Your Site
After your site has been designed and it’s live for all to see, there are a few critical things that must be done in order for the search engines to see your site properly. We’ll talk more about how to do this in Part 2 of our Online Marketing 101 series, but I’ll recommend one absolute necessity to you now.
Google Analytics – Google Analytics is the single most important technical feature that you must have installed on your site. It’s free, provided by Google and will allow you to actually measure the results on your site. Analytics will track what users do on your site and if configured properly can even give you insights as to where your best customers are coming from (Social Media, Organic Search, Paid Search, etc). The easiest way to install Google Analytics on your site is using CloudFlare. CloudFlare is a free service that adds additional security and speed to your website. They just happen to also have a simple app that installs Analytics on every page of your website in just seconds!
In Part 2 of our Online Marketing 101 series we will talk about how to actually get your site to start showing up in local search results for the search terms that matter to you!
What platforms or themes have you used and had success with? List your favorite in the COMMENTS below and include a link to your website if yours is already live!