I was born and grew up in New Castle. I went to Croton Elementary, and George Washington, then to Ben Franklin and onto the New Castle High School. I’ve lived on Milton Street (long before the new county jail), the East Side near Nickel’s Bakery, up the road from TicToc on East Washington and on the South Side.
And I started doing business here.
Likely, you have a fairly similar history. You might have grown up on the North Hill closer to Neshannock Township. Or, maybe you grew up in Shenango and you would rather go to K-Mart (when it was open) than Walmart.
Either way, you are more than likely a small business owner in and / or serving New Castle, Pennsylvania.
Operating a business in 2020 means using the internet. This not-so-new piece of technology allows your brand to reach people in ways that were not present when I was born in the 70’s. Size of business doesn’t matter. Neither does your individual industry.
The change to pro-internet in every business industry allows us to connect and contact and communicate faster than ever.
And, it all starts with your business’s website.
How to have a successful business website in New Castle
Make it fast, make it clear, make it simple.
Easy, annnnnnd…. DONE!
There are many parts and pieces of a great business website. However, for this discussion, I’ve focused things down to 5 specific parts that will make your New Castle business’s website just hum.
I’m not going to focus a lot on tools and specific elements in this article. We could talk for days about the whole copywriting process, how local SEO is vital to your business’s awareness, or the best uses of email marketing.
Instead we’re going to look at a few views from the visitor and from a marketing perspective. We’re going to look at what your website is named, where your website is hosted, the website overall and your website’s content. We’ll then wrap things up with a huge tip about contacts and customers.
Ready to get started?
Good, but before we do, I should mention as a ‘thank you’ for checking this article out, I’d like to offer your business a freebie. Check it out at the bottom of this article.
Finding a good domain name
Building a website is actually fairly simple. However, naming it correctly is always a small part of the bigger overall marketing push for your brand.
Matching a domain for your brand is easy.
Well, not always.
A few things that will dictate the actual name of the domain name that you will select are:
- Your brand name
- It’s availability
- If it can easily be remembered
- It being a normal .COM or some more obscure TLD
Let’s look at a few various scenarios so that you can see why a similar domain name might work in one instance, but not in another for your company. These will all be examples that focus on better marketing of your business, so understanding each nuance can help.
Let’s start with “Simple Sanitation Company”. It would make sense to grab simplesanitationcompany.com, or something in that realm (simplesantition.com, simplesanitationco.com, etc).
But what if those names are not available? Hey, it happens!
After all, across the USA, there are going to be similar businesses, with similar names. Heck, there are over 500,000 new business opening in the US each year. There are going to be duplicates and similar names in there.
So, what do you do if your domain name is taken?
First, no worries. Google is actually named Alphabet, IT Scrap has a domain name that looks like It’s Crap(.com), and Pen Island’s domain name is, well, interesting…
Here is one opportunity to use your region. New Castle, newcastle, PA, newcastlepa, etc., all work for adding to your name. If your name is already long, consider using “the” or “real” or “best”.
If push comes to shove, use a different TLD. A TLD is a top-level domain. This is a .COM, or a .NET. And, there are hundreds that you can choose from. So use a .US, or a .ORG, or a .INFO, a .MARKETING, or a .DESIGN, and it goes on.
Using a web host that is reliable
A web hosting account will give you the ability to show web pages for your domain name. Finding an affordable host is easy. Finding a secure host is as well. But finding a web host to fit all of your needs can be a problem at times.
What are you looking for in a web host?
- Affordable ($5.00 – $12.00 per month)
- Secure (does backups and intrusion monitoring)
- 99.5% uptime, if not even more
- Ability to upgrade and downgrade service as needed
- No linking between your domain name and web hosting service
- Easy backups and site move capabilities (if you outgrow your web host)
Currently, my two favorite web hosts for clients is Dream Host and Digital Ocean.
Dream Host gives you a ton of features. The pricing is flexible and very cost-effective. I’ve experienced nearly zero downtime, and when there was, everything was fixed about as fast as I have seen.
Digital Ocean is a cloud-based web host. This can be for more experienced business owners. Because of the backend being cloud-based, upgrading and downgrading your hosting resources is based on use, not on calling and emailing to go up and down in your monthly or yearly spending.
One thing to note…
There is zero evidence that hosting a website closer geographically to your business can rank you higher in Google. So, it doesn’t matter where the website’s host is located compared to your brand’s location.
Your web host matters. However it can bite you if it is problematic in speed, shared host content and previous blacklisting strikes against the web hosts. These are all things that main-stream hosts avoid as it costs customers in the end.
Creating the correct pages for your website
You’ve bought your web domain for the next five years. You’ve found a web host and started a yearly account (or prepaid for the same 5 year term).
Now you have to build pages that serve two purposes:
- Allows customers to ‘use’ your website to call, write or visit you
- Allows Google and other search engines to find you
We build websites for humans and for search engines. That makes sense when you think about what websites are and what web pages are. They are just digital points of information. Humans read them. Search engines use spiders and bots to record what the pages and websites are for content to better serve those pages as results to humans. Who, once again, go to the websites and learn more.
What are Google and Bing looking for on websites? What do humans need or want on websites and web pages?
The web pages that make your business website great
First, your business website’s home page is the single most important page for your digital marketing efforts. Yes, it seems like an overstatement, but I can assure you, it’s important. Without a solid home page, people are lost, Google is lost and your website cannot “work”.
Next, your New Castle business website needs a solid services page. This page describes your services and products, in a general sense, giving direction to deeper discussions and links. You are trying to show and highlight your services and products and what it means to them. For bonus points, you should focus on 3 to 6 specific services and make separate pages for these as well.
One very important page to have on your website is an About Us page for your small business. This page tells a story of you, your brand, your employees and how you’ve served the community. You can, and should, have a solid CTA (call to action) on this page as well.
Next, a super-important page, is your business’s Contact Us page on your website. This page will have every conceivable method of contacting you for business, including:
- Contact form
- Email (clickable)
- Phone number(s)
- Social media page links
- Review sites like Yelp, Yahoo! Local, Google Business, etc
- All citations and honor pages on external websites
- Your business’s address (physical or PO Box)
- A Google Map of your New Castle business and service area
The final item that is a requirement for any and all New Castle business websites is a blog. Now, blogs are not what they used to be in 2002 and 2005. They are a hub of new articles, information, enlightenment and SEO fodder. The amount of new content and copy can help you to drive your brand to #1 on Google, and create business opportunities with the real humans that come to your website.
How about a ‘secret sauce’ bonus tip for your New Castle website?
So, check this out…
You have all of these great pages. They literally are 24/7 highlights of your business and passive salespeople for you. But now what?
Now, you need to focus on using the right CTAs in the right places. Each pages should have a separate CTA button based on the content. Your footer should have a ‘click to call’ and ‘click to email’ button on each page. And if your header doesn’t have an ‘emergency, call now’ button, well, then you are doing it wrong!
Directing a visitor’s acton will create sales. People aren’t visiting your HVAC company website, or your car repair website simply to browse – they are looking to buy something. Direct them to the how, and they never have to make that choice!
Images, video, copy and more – how content works
Now let’s talk about one of my favorite parts of digital marketing – creating content for business websites.
Ya, it sounds stale, but I honestly love writing, and image design, and editing video, and all of that.
I get to create the story of businesses, and relate that to possible customers. I make content that relates businesses to the general community. And, a very nice part of all of this content creation is that I make connections for the robotic legs of Google bots and Google spiders.
Let’s start by making one thing clear…
You can ALWAYS make a video, take an image or write a blurb in less than 5 minutes, each and every day!
Maybe it would be good to show you a general example of what I mean.
You’re a business owner in New Castle. You’re a baker, or a car mechanic, or maybe a hair dresser – whatever your industry is. You start the day, you do a video. You are in the midst of a project, you take a pic with a snappy caption. You finish the project, you take a pic, and take some video. You end your work day by taking a video, or an image of the region.
What you thought might be a boring industry, and a boring job turned into a half dozen pieces of content!
To add to these basic pieces of content, you can add text, create “how to” articles, make guides, reviews, previews and more written articles and blurbs for social media. You can even write a nice article for your blog, attach and embed Youtube and Facebook videos, and make these really in-depth, evergreen pieces of content that rank.
The above example isn’t rare. And, it’s probably the most fun part of making content for me. Everyday is new, and every piece of content that you put out can be a great way to connect. Your new customers see you, your potential customers trust you, and for the general public they spread your message.
What can your business do with this information?
First, know that you do not have to go crazy and record your entire life. You can start off with a simple video or image each morning, or at the end of the day. Give a tip or give an example of “how to” do something.
Next know that all you need is your phone. Everyone has this little personal computer in their pocket with 12Megapixels or more of life-capturing fun. Take pictures, take video and give value.
And, that leads to the secret sauce of all of the content-generating strategies that you will ever read…
Make your content worthy of your best customer by providing value and your expertise – for free!
Seriously, you are selling yourself simply by being what people need. In some cases, you are what they need before they even know it. If those possible customers see you expressing your knowledge of your industry, and helping them be better, your brand will grow.
Make your website mobile-friendly
We’ve talked about the biggest aspects of running a successful website for your New Castle business, with a sprinkle of this 5th and final piece – mobile.
Mobile devices are everywhere. If you are not mobile-friendly, you will not exist in the next five years online.
Yep, it’s that ‘real’.
In 2017, mobile phone sales outweighed PC (and laptop) sales. Each year since has widened that number.
People use their phones. People are using their phones more and more and more.
To give you a practical example of this change, I want you to close your eyes. Ok, maybe that’s no good while you are reading!
I want you to see yourself at home. It is 9 o’clock at night. You might be watching TV with your wife or husband. You might be reading. The heat starts to kick-on, you hear a weird sound – and a clunk.
Your furnace just went to poop!
What do you do?
999 times out of 1000, you will likely scoop up your cell, and run a search for furnace repair.
Your search results pop up, on your phone. You then click a phone number to call that person. There is no calling Aunt Sallie to find a recommendation. There’s no phone book… a what?
We no longer use phone books. We do not start calling everyone we know for recommendations. We just don’t contact service people and local businesses the same way anymore.
We use our cell phones
Look, what I’m trying to say is that we all use cell phones. A successful investor living in Pittsburgh and Cleveland and Youngstown uses the same device to find a bakery as a waitress that works at King’s might find the same bakery. The device is the key, and Google wants businesses to use the key to unlock more traffic.
Because of this, it makes sense to make your business website mobile-friendly. In fact, if you don’t think mobile-friendly, Google will remind you with lower search engine rankings.
Google is approaching the internet as mobile-first. This means build for a user on mobile, and then scale up for users on laptops and PCs. The history of users being on mobile more and PC less has led to this change, and you need to change with it.
You can test your New Castle business’s website – easily!
You can always test your website to see if it’s mobile-friendly.
Go to Mobile Friendly Tester. Enter your business website. Then, simply click ‘Test URL’.
The results of this test will show you not only a mobile score, but issues on mobile that your website can fix. As you alter these from problems into proper fixes, your website will score higher on the mobile test, and rank higher.
Here’s the cool part, the behind-the-scenes info…
The Mobile-Friendly Test is from Google itself. You are getting feedback directly from the horse’s mouth.
Now what can your New Castle website do?
We’ve talked a lot about the most successful elements of your website for your New Castle business. We looked at naming the website, where its hosted and what content is there. We even looked at the method of how people see it.
But now what?
Now you need some more guidance!
As a way of saying thank you for reading this article, I’d love to offer you something for free.
If you give me a call at (724)510-7201 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, I can give you a free business audit. This includes looking at your business, what your website should be, how your competitors look, and an actionable plan for this next year.
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