Home » Small Business

Category: Small Business


How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing Page

Every single business, whether with a physical storefront or not, should have a Google My Business (GMB) listing. One of the first aspects of search engine optimization (SEO) is to claim your business on Google.

If you haven’t claimed your GMB profile, you could be missing out on the opportunity to organically connect with thousands of local customers searching for your goods or services.

Google handles 3.8 million searches per minute on average across the globe. That comes out to 228 million searches per hour, 5.6 billion searches per day, or 2 trillion searches per year! What does this mean for small business? Claiming and optimizing the GMB profile can help attract customers that have searched for a product or service specific to the business.

A few easy tweaks can improve your Google My Business rankings and ensure that, when your potential customers perform a discovery search, your business is among the first they see.

Claim & Verify Your Business

First things first, if you haven’t claimed your GMB listing, now’s the time to do so. Head to Google Business to get started on claiming or creating a new profile for your business. You will need to log in with a Google email account and claim the business. You may be in luck and someone may have already created a portion of the listing. For instance, if your website is found a lot on online, chances are Google has some of the business information stored on their search engine.

Google van depiction ready for a business to open

If that’s the case, claim the half listed business and fill out all pertinent business information. If none of the business’ information can be found, go ahead and start a new listing. Get the company logo ready, a cover photo to upload to the Photos section, and fill in all hours, services, and business description in the listing.

The last step is to ensure all business information is accurate and added to the GMB profile. The more completed the profile, the better the chance your listing will appear to the right in the search results.

Optimize Your Google My Business Description

There are multiple GMB options that a business listing should consider utilizing to help rank the search listing. For instance, optimizing the GMB description for the profile is a great start. The business’ description displays below customers reviews. This is an excellent opportunity share additional information about the business as well as adding specific keywords related to the business.

Google reveals the first 250 characters underneath the Google reviews. Make sure to include the most important information about the business in the first one to two sentences. Don’t forget to include relevant keywords for the business. Similarly you’re able to showcase your company reviews which can help entice potential customers to do business with you.


Display example of Google reviews and business description for Google My Business


Add High-Quality Photos

To maximize your GMB adding high quality and up-to-date photos are crucial to the business listing. In fact, businesses that upload photos on a regular basis earn more clicks than businesses who do not share any photos. According to Google, listings who incorporate photos receive 35% more clicks than listings without photos. Including photos on the listing is a no-brainer, notably adding photos to the listing will help with:

  1. Establishing the business as trustworthy and credible – for example, a business that is transparent is seen as trustworthy. Displaying multiple photos of customers, projects, and real photos will help create credibility for the business.
  2. Identifies what the business looks like from an outside perspective – customers love to see how the business performs. Providing an insiders look to the outside world provides full transparency.
  3. Share visual references for your products & services – a marketing opportunity to display what products or services your business provides. Shine through and display professional photos to out compete your competitors.

Professional photos can be from using a DLSR camera or good lighting with a smartphone. Start with a few basic photos and build upon the catalog. A word of warning do not overly promote or market these services / products. Simply provide a story for these items, everyone loves a good story.

Engage With Searchers

Google is a big fan of businesses who interact with their customer base and rewards business’ GMB listings. There are three methods to engage with searchers via GMB and we’ll review these below.

Engage & Respond to Reviews

Responding to reviews communicates to potential leads you care about your business and customers. You’re investing in the customer’s experience by demonstrating patience and engagement. For instance, adding a personal comment to all reviews on Google affects customers in a positive way.

Graphic of a diverse team responding to Google Reviews


When positive review comes in, thank the customer for their time. The customer went out of the way to add a review on your business’ behalf. On the other hand, if a customer leaves a negative review, attempt to engage with them online and move the conversation offline. Once the situation becomes resolved, add a follow up comment to show what happen to resolve the issue. Nothing better than a happy ending to a terrible situation.

Create Google My Business Posts

GMB posts are an underrated tool to stay in contact with local searchers. For example, you can use GMB posts to highlight events, new products, or even the company’s latest blog post. Add images to help grab the searcher’s attention, links to relevant landing pages, and a strong call-to-action. Posts expire after seven days, so make sure to add posts regularly. We recommend adding a post once a week. The extra effort could very well mean a leg up over your competition’s GMB ranking.

Google My Business Messaging

Customers can get in touch with your business in real-time through your Business Profile on Google. While this feature is geared  towards mobile users, every listing should enable the feature. The feature will need to be enabled manually. As a business owner or manager of the GMB listing, you can answer questions, attract more customers, or tell a story about your business.

Turning on the messaging option is as simple as logging into the GMB listing and heading to Customers – Messages – Turn on, it’s that simple. Enabling the feature will allow customers to interact with you and your business.


Google My Business Page will need to be apart of any SEO marketing strategy. In an ultra competitive world that is local SEO, optimizing the GMB listing may help with standing out from competitors and attract more customers.

Email Marketing Tips

How To Perform Email Marketing

Email marketing may seem archaic, but is one of the most effective inbound marketing channels and number one conversion avenue.

Email marketing should be a top priority for any business. Over the years, we have noticed a lot of small businesses do not take advantage of email marketing. For instance, all website owners should have an email marketing strategy. Why you ask? Because having the ability to reach hundreds or thousands of potential customers with one click is great! We will provide helpful tips on assisting small businesses with an email marketing campaign and how to convert leads into customers.


Begin With Coming Up With A Strategy

Now that you know email marketing is an effective marketing tool, let’s come up with a strategy. Depending on what type of website and business you have, your strategy will vary. For example, an eCommerce website will focus on selling products. Another example, a website that provides services can create an email marketing campaign focused on the services the company provides. Let’s focus on a company that provides a service, more specifically, a chiropractor.

First things first, how can a chiropractor use email as a marketing tool? For starters, what does her patients desire when visiting her office? If her patients want more tips on less back pain, the doctor can write a blog post and provide tips on how to prevent back pain. The doctor can send out the blog post via an email campaign to all her patients. Here’s an example of the doctor coming up with continuous content to promote through an email campaign. The main purpose is to determine what type of strategy will help a business with generating leads.


How To Collect Emails From Your Website

Next up is composing an email strategy for the business to collect emails. How do you plan on collecting emails? Businesses can implement numerous ways in collecting emails. For example, an email can be collected on a website, through a contest, or the good ole fashion way of putting out a sign up sheet. An incentive should be provided in exchange for an email. Let’s take a contest as an example. Run a contest on social media, say Facebook. A user provides an email in exchange for an opportunity to win an Amazon gift card. To collect email addresses from a website requires an exchange of some sorts. What can a business provide in exchange for an email address?

For example, a business can provide free samples of the services. We don’t mean giving away the service for free, rather providing tidbits of helpful information the target audience can use. Kinda like this blog post! We’re providing helpful tips on how to implement an email marketing campaign, without giving away the secret sauce. Provide a sample of information in exchange for an email address; businesses want to learn how to be self-sufficient, while you collect email addresses for marketing purposes.


Time To Implement An Email Marketing Strategy

Examples have been provided of how you can implement an email marketing campaign. The next step is to implement the strategy. A word to the wise. The beginning stages will be tough. Remember that collecting emails is a marathon, not a sprint. Experiment with different methods of collecting emails. First, try running a contest with a gift card for first place. Second, add an email signup field on the website, provide an exchange of sorts. If an individual signs up give them 10% off a service or product. Lastly, put out a sign up sheet for customers. Inform the customer the sign up sheet is for sending out occasional emails.

We’ve provided a variety examples and helpful tips for you. Now is time for you as a business owner to implement these tips and start generating leads and turning them into customers. Let’s us know what you think about the blog post in the comments section. We love chatting with other like minded entrepreneurs!

google review – girl inputting a review on a laptop for a small business

How To Add A Google Review

A Google Review is capable of amplifying a business’ search listing on Google Search & Google Maps. Let’s discuss the benefits of Google Reviews and how your business can benefit.

Google Reviews, defined by Google, provide valuable information about your business to both you and your customers. Business reviews appear next to your listing in Maps and Search, and can help your business stand out on Google. For example, a Google Review can help a business rank higher on Google Maps and Search. Google Reviews help a business with potential leads by real customers writing reviews. Since reviews help a business with ranking on Google Search & Maps, let’s discuss how to add a Google Review.

WP By Hand – Google Search Result


Add A Google Review

For the purpose of this example, let’s say you worked with a graphic designer and wanted to leave her a review on Google. First, determine you have a Google account. Second, log into the Google account. Lastly, head to Google.com and search for the graphic designer’s business. That’s it!

Let us show you how to add a review on Google with a tutorial.

First head over to Google.com or the Google Maps app, if on mobile device, and search for the company. The best method is to write the review on a laptop or desktop.

Google Search Bar - Google Review Step 1

Second, click on the write a review button on the search results page. The Write a review button is located on the right hand side under the business’ information. Refer to the image at the beginning of the post.

Third, determine how many stars the business deserves. For instance, if a business provided a superior end product, give them 5 stars. On the other hand, if a business performed sub par, give them the stars the business deserves and provide constructive feedback.

Lastly, if you didn’t sign into Google, you will be prompted to do so. Fill in username and password. If you do not have a Google account, you’ll have an opportunity to create one. Follow the steps for creating a Google account and then you’ll be able to publish your review.

The vitals of seo for your website

Website Done, Now What? – Optimize Your Website!

Now that you have a great website, now what? Know, there is a difference between having an search engine friendly website and one that is actually optimized. So, the now-what is basically that you need to continue to work on your website, it is not a one-and-done kind of thing. What I mean by work on is ….search engine optimization (SEO) and continuing to provide value to your consumers via something like a blog.

The value of a blogAfter the website is built, time to optimize your website

First of all a blog provides valuable content to your consumer on a regular basis, or as often as you decide to write one. It also provides your knowledge and expertise and shares that with your consumers so they can begin to know like and trust you based on your experience and knowledge in your industry. Blogs are a win-win-win all the way around. Not only does it (1) allow you to continue to provide value to your consumers and (2) shows your experience and knowledge in your industry but it also (3) provides you something to share on social media.  The sharing on social media in turn repeats #1 and #2 in that it allows you to continue to build your relationship with your consumers and customers on social media by providing value to them and sharing your experience.

What is search engine optimization?

Search engine optimization is simply optimizing your website to make it search engine friendly. A search engine friendly website is one that the search engines like and continue to come back to which further gives you the opportunity to be found in search engines by consumers when they search for your keywords or industry.

The main points of SEO

Search engine optimization has several main components that I will break down for you briefly so that you can get an idea of what you can do as a business owner to optimize your website for the search engines.  Search engine optimization is about keyword rich content, linking and title and meta tags.

  • Keyword rich content is the content on your website such as the blogs aforementioned The vitals of SEO for your websitewhich provide value to the consumers. If the consumers find that it’s valuable, the search engines will know this and you have a better chance of being found in search. Also the better your content is and the more content you have that is keyword rich, the better chances you have to show up in search for those keywords, therefore being found on search.
  • Link building is important in search engine optimization in that it shows that that website has additional importance. You’ll definitely want to make sure that you use internal links, which are links from one page or blog to another, as well as external links, which link off of your website to other informative website. Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily want to link to anything and everything and that the linking website isn’t crap.  You want to link to things that have value and that are relative to your consumers.
  • Title tags and meta tags as well as some other tags such as alt tags and heading tags provide SEO value to your website in that it tells Google or other search engines that this keyword within this tag has value. For example, if you have a heading tag which explains with the next paragraph is about that has a keyword in it, you are telling the search engine that this next paragraph is about this topic or keyword which usually means that it is of importance.
  • Your title tag and description meta tag are usually behind the scenes however it shows up in the Google search snippet when people do searches for your keywords or industry. It is something that you do on the back end of your website but is not usually seen in your on-page content. However it is ever so important that you use a title tag and a description tag that uniquely describes the page or blog that you are using it on. Again this gives the search engine an idea that this is what the page is about, using keywords and without being spammy.

So these are the basics of what you need to do after your website is built on a continuous and ever-growing manner. You should be blogging on your website at least monthly, ideally 2 – 4 times a month, and then be sure you are optimizing your website on a regular basis. This isn’t something that you want to go and spend hours fixing on your website right now, but something that each time you are on your website you work on a few pages at a time.

Should you have any questions about blogging, about what search engine optimization is, how you can improve your search engine optimization on your website, or any of those services, I am happy to assist you in that endeavor. Contact me, Kristen with A Visual Business, with any questions or feel free to check out my website for more information.

Should you need to update your website, feel free to contact WP by Hand to work on that.


WordPress Website Goes Down? We're Here To Rescue You

What To Do When Your Website Goes Down

The first thing to do when a website goes down is not panic!

All website owners have experienced this one way or another. The website will be working fine one minute. The next minute, the website is down. Not an ideal scenario. What is a website owner to do? We put together a list of troubleshooting steps you can perform. These steps will help you find the actual problem and resolve the issue. No one likes when a website goes down, especially during peak browsing times. Note these steps are for a WordPress based website.


#1 Is Your Web Host Experiencing Issues?

When a website goes down, there are numerous factors that could’ve happen. One of the main culprits is to check with your web hosting provider. Most of the time, the web host is experiencing technical issues. These can range from data centers experiencing power issues to a natural disaster hitting the data center.

These are a bit on the extreme side, but we have experienced these issues in the past. What is a website owner to do in this situation? One solution is to have a backup host ready in the wings. We’ll use a basketball analogy for the backup server. The backup web host can act as a sixth man on a basketball team. The sixth man is typically a player who can be a starter in the lineup. However, he’s more valuable coming off the bench providing his much needed skill set. In this instance, the backup host is waiting on the bench ready to play. You simply switch web host and point the website to the cloned website. Instead of waiting and wondering when the web host will be back up and functioning, you have another web host waiting on the bench.


Pro Tip: Make sure when you pick a backup web host you pick a different provider. For example, you can use SiteGround as your main host and BlueHost as a backup. Having the website on different web hosts helps prevent using the same host should issues arise.


#2 Did You Update A Plugin Recently?

Plugins are what make the WordPress platform unique to its competitors. Plugins are components that add custom functionality to a WordPress website. Once installed the administrator activates the plugin to begin using it on the website. The idea of WordPress plugins are to add components that a non-developer would not know how to program. In certain instances plugins can be extremely useful. For example, adding a contact form to a contact page. Sometimes plugins are not programmed properly, don’t play nice with a newer version of WordPress, or the source code in the plugin conflicts with other plugins.

If a WordPress admin were to update or add a plugin. There may be a chance you receive the white screen of death (WSOD). In this case you’re pretty much on an island. Not too worry! There are a couple of troubleshooting steps you can take in order to resolve the issue. First, determine if an update caused the crash. Did you update or install a plugin and all of a sudden the WSOD appeared? Below are some basic troubleshooting steps you can take.


  1. Determine which plugin you updated (or installed) and find the version before hand. Depending on where the plugin was downloaded, you may be able to revert back to the previous version.
  2. Once you have the old plugin, head to Cpanel or FTP into the website.
  3. Navigate to the wp-content (folders) – plugins (folder) – find the plugin and rename the culprit plugin folder by adding .disable to the plugin
  4. Install or upload the previous version plugin – wait for upload to complete
  5. Refresh the web page and all should be back to normal


This is an extremely simplified version of troubleshooting with basic steps. We want you as the administrator of the website to understand that not all plugins are programmed equally. Always perform your due diligence when deciding to install a plugin on the website. Be sure to put emotion aside when troubleshooting. Keep your poise throughout the entire process.


Pro Tip: Choosing plugins should be a smart decision. Research each plugin before installing the component on the website. Making sure the developer is consistently updating the plugin is a good sign. Plugins that have not been updated in years should be ignored.


#3 Did A WordPress Update Kill My Website?

Updating WordPress core files is a must when maintaining a WordPress based website. There are some instances when a WordPress update made the website goes down. In these situations there are a couple of options you have to remedy the situation. Before we provide the solution, be sure to take a backup of the existing website. First, if you haven’t updated your WordPress website in quite some time, chances the update may break the website increase. Let’s take this scenario and run with it. Let’s say you run a WordPress core update and notice the site becomes inaccessible. Rule number one is to not panic. We determine the core update broke the website. What do we do in this situation?

If you are familiar with the version of WordPress you had previously. Head to the WordPress.org core files release archive and download the version your website was previously on. From here you have two options. One is to upload the old WordPress core files through an FTP client. The only folder you do not replace is the wp-content folder. If you are unfamiliar with FTP, then the second option is to upload all the files, minus wp-content, through cPanel. The cPanel has a specific area called File Management where an admin can upload, edit, and erase files and folders. Once you upload the WordPress core files, head back to the website and refresh. If all is working, success! If not, you’ll need to head to the WordPress release archive to download the version your WordPress website was previously on.


Pro Tip: If the website is still functioning odd try disabling plugins by renaming each one .disable. Try each plugin one at a time to see if a plugin is the culprit. If all else fails time to hire a WordPress pro to assist! 😉


Let’s Recap!

We provided a list of basic troubleshooting steps for the average user to perform when a WordPress website goes down. Web hosts can be the main culprit at times. Having a backup server in the wings can be the star bench player you need during crunch time. Keeping a website updated means having plugins, themes, and WordPress core files updated to the latest version. Even though some updates may implode a website. We provided a list of steps you can take in order to resolve any of the issues mentioned above. For all the DiYers give these steps a shot. If you run into any issues, holler at us in the comments section to collaborate. If you’re afraid of breaking more of the website we can chat in the comments as well. Good luck and may the WordPress force be with you!

small biz for wordpress rocks!

Small Business Embrace WordPress

More and more small business websites are jumping on the WordPress bandwagon. We’re hear to explain why.

WordPress is becoming a behemoth of a platform. Of all the content management systems. WordPress accounts for 68% of the market share. To break it down, two out of three websites are using WordPress software. For a platform that is criticized for being insecure. The statistic is telling a different story. We’ll explain why small business owners are choosing WordPress for their website.

So Why WordPress?

WordPress accounts for nearly 25% of all websites on the internet. Yes you read that statistic correctly. The platform started out mostly for blogging. Over the years, WordPress has built a powerful content management system. Oh and the system itself is open source. Meaning the system is free for anybody to use. Let’s discuss why WordPress has become the website platform choice for small business.

Besides the fact that WordPress is a free platform, why are small business owners using WordPress? One of the main reasons is the simplicity of the website’s back end. WordPress provides website owners the ability to control content on the website. The owner can edit text, add imagery, or publish a blog post in a matter of clicks. Empowering small business owners with the ability to control specific aspects of the website is an invaluable feature. The platform is scalable for any size business. WordPress sites range from mom and pop shops to corporate sites like the Walt Disney company. If a conglomerate the size of the Walt Disney company is using WordPress, we’d say it is more than acceptable for small businesses.

There are numerous features that can help a WordPress website grow. Features like plugins add enhancements to the existing website. Plugins range from contact forms, security, website backups, and so much more. We discussed WordPress plugins in another blog post. Highly recommend reading the blog post to obtain a better understanding of how WordPress plugins work.

WordPress is undeniably one of the top website platforms. We highly recommend the system for any size business. Small business can enhance the company’s digital footprint by being on WordPress.

Search Engine Friendliness

Search engine optimization (SEO) is important for any business. Being found on the first page of any search engine results page provides a competitive advantage. We won’t dive too deep into SEO, but the short version goes like this. The WordPress platform comes optimized for search engines right out of the box. All links, the platforms code, and website URLs are optimized for search engines. If you really want to take the website to the next level. You can find a plugin that can help enhance the website’s search optimization. One of the most famous plugins for optimizing a WordPress website is Yoast SEO. The plugin can be configured to optimize numerous aspects of the site. For starters, a web page can be targeted with a specified keyword. The keyword is then scored with a specific color. The color red indicates the page is not optimized, while green translates to being perfectly optimized. The plugin is robust with numerous features. Even with the plugin not being installed, WordPress itself is optimized for the initial stages.

A lot of the SEO technical aspects of the website are already taken care of. The source code on the back end is optimized. WordPress themes are programmed to be search friendly. Good plugins are programmed to integrate nicely with WordPress and search engines. The point we are communicating is WordPress itself is a search friendly platform. The platform allows a small business to enhance the current website.

The WordPress Community

The community that powers WordPress is absolutely amazing. Most, if not all, members of the community are always willing to help. The WordPress community comprise of individuals who are passionate about the WordPress product. If you’ve ever come across the WordPress support forum on WordPress.org. You’ll see there are lots of individuals who try to help one another. No matter how big or small the issue, the community is willing to sacrifice their free time. We’ve adopted customers in the past and have converted customers over to WordPress. Why is this relevant? All WordPress developers, managers, and content coordinators are able to pick up where another company has left off. There are no shortage of individuals, entities, and organizations who work within WordPress.

The community extends beyond the forums. WordPress camps or WordCamps are organized throughout the world for WordPress community members to meet. These WordCamps consist of meetups discussing the future of WordPress. Discussions can consist of new features being implemented. What the future of WordPress holds. Simply a meet and greet with other WordPress advocates. The events take place throughout the year. The community is that large. If a WordPress developer were to leave you. There’s a good chance someone local to the business will be able to assist. Small business owners do not need to worry about finding a replacement.


We discussed why WordPress is such an awesome platform small businesses. How a WordPress website comes equipped with SEO best practices. The WordPress community are a loyal bunch of individuals. If you are not convinced by the article of why WordPress isn’t right for you. Let’s chat in the comments section to discuss your concerns. We have a strong feeling we can turn you into a WordPress advocate like us!