Get yourself noticed by all the right people by choosing online listings that get the word out about your awesome business in all the right ways.
While word-of-mouth might keep you busy for awhile, if you want a steady stream of high-quality clients, you absolutely need your own website. When you consider that 81% of consumers look online before buying, having an online presence is not optional. If you don’t have a huge budget, your website doesn’t have to be completely custom—a simple WordPress or SquareSpace template will do just fine. The most important elements are:
If you want to make the most of the online business listings below, you’ll want to point potential clients directly to your website where they can easily access information about you.
Helpful Resource Alert! Check out our Step-By-Step Guide to Building a Website For Your Small Business ebook for gentle guidance on how to get it done.
According to Google research, when searching for a business online, most consumers want preliminary information like company hours, product or service information, location and directions. If there’s an opportunity to include customer reviews, be sure to do that. Consumers are infamous for taking the word of other users of a service over advertising any day.
A free Google My Business account is the quickest and easiest way to increase your chances of coming up in local search engine results. Be sure to include all the information they require and link back to your website to further boost your SEO rankings. This one is a no-brainer.
A free Google My Business account is the quickest and easiest way to increase your chances of coming up in local search engine results.
While Bing is certainly a lesser search engine, it still has its share of users. Signing up is free and easy and you can use the same information you did for Google My Business. A smart and efficient move!
Don’t neglect the third most popular search engine! Yahoo also has a robust number of searches every day. A basic listing is free, but if you want to add photos and a description of your business, you’ll need to pay a $9.95/month fee. Up your monthly payment to $29.99 and you’ll get listings in more than 40 other online directories. It’s worth checking out to see if it’s a good fit for your business.
If you’ve ever searched for a restaurant online, you’re probably familiar with Yelp. Known as a place where one can get honest customer reviews (both of the rave and scathing variety!), Yelp is a good site to be profiled on if you’re in the service business. You can claim your business the same way you would with the search engine listings above, respond to reviews as the business owner and measure visitor activity on your page to get good consumer insights.
If you run a B2B operation, a robust listing on LinkedIn is essential. If you’re a solopreneur offering writing, web development, IT, PR or business services to other professionals, you’ll especially want to highlight your marquis clients and projects and write a comprehensive profile. If you cater to consumers, be sure to add a business profile in addition to your personal one. It’s another great way to validate your shop.
The good news is that you’ve chosen a profession with an almost infinite number of third-party sites designed to promote your services to potential clients. The challenging part? Deciding which ones are worth investing in. Here are some of our faves.
If you’re looking to expand your reach, Upwork will help connect you with big clients who are looking for your services. Complete a profile and they’ll highlight ideal jobs for you. Yes, there’s a service fee (20% for your first $500 per client; 10% for $501-$10,000 in billings and 5% for client billings that exceed $10,000), but they may be worth gaining access to clients you may not land on your own—and to broaden your portfolio.
If you’re a graphic or visual artist, consider showcasing some of your work on Behance. Companies from all over the world regularly visit the platform to check out both emerging and established talent. While you’re uploading your work, check out the job postings that stream in every day.
Many professionals—from writers to PR pros to graphic designers to photographers and more—regularly tap in to MediaBistro to see the multitude of jobs available. Though some are full-time, there’s plenty of opportunity for freelancers too. A $55/year membership gets you a lot of inside-journalism intel, including “how to pitch” guides and access to the editorial calendars for many consumer magazines, plus a professional listing so clients can find you.
Homeowners are notorious for spending countless hours combing the internet for inspiration for home renovations or projects. Meet them where they live by listing your business on some of the most popular home sites around. The key? Photos. Plenty of them.
Meet homeowners where they live by listing your business on some of the most popular home sites around. The key? Photos. Plenty of them.
Want an audience of more than 40 million homeowners? Create a professional Houzz profile for free and enhance it with customer reviews, photos of your work, information about your working style and more. It’s a great place to showcase your work and demonstrate your excellent service through testimonials.
HomeAdvisor claims to be the largest online home improvement marketplace in the U.S. and it does indeed provide a huge network of pre-screened home service professionals for consumers. If you have a profile on the platform, you’ll be notified when a homeowner in your area is looking for someone with your credentials (a service fee applies, which depends on each job). You can also track jobs, create invoices and collect payments on the platform.
If you’re in Canada, you’ll want to check out TrustedPros. On this website, consumers post a description of their project on the site and tradespeople are invited to offer a quote. For an advertising fee to participate in TrustedPros’s network, you’ll get a listing in the directory and customer rating and reviews displayed prominently on your profile.
Setting up a Pinterest account is free, easy and as much fun as you’re going to have drumming up new business. This social media platform is a completely visual way to showcase your work and create inspiration boards that potential clients might enjoy. If you have a vibrant profile, you’re well positioned to be top-of-mind when one of your followers is looking for a professional with your skills.
However you choose where to list your business online, be thoughtful about the information you include. It’s a marketing exercise that deserves a thorough review to ensure the right messages are being communicating and there are no grammatical errors. Slapping up a semi-finished profile may do more harm than good!