By Gail Seymour
Here is our list of the top 10 Web sites your contracting business needs to appear on:
1.Your own Web Site
People searching the Internet will often want to make initial contact with a contractor through a Web site. Make sure yours includes a form for visitors to contact you, along with offline contact details.
2. Google Local Business
It can be tough to get a new Web site to appear on Google. You need to add your business to the Google Local Business Centre. It's free to add a listing, and your business, including contact details and a link to your Web site will appear above the natural search results on a map for local searches. This is an effective shortcut to high visibility, and targeted visitors that can generate a substantial amount of motivated leads.
3. Business Pages
Internet versions of local business directories are a common starting point for traditional users of business directories. You don't need to pay for enhanced listings in these directories, standard free entries are usually provided. List yourself in local directories with online versions. Also add your site to www.allpages.com and submit to the dmoz.org business category, as it's used by Google for static business results.
4. Trade Specific Bodies
If you are a member of any trade specific bodies, make sure you're included in their online members directory, with a link to your Web site. Also include a graphic on your Web site linking back to your directory entry. This increases your credibility and generates trust for visitors to your Web site, and will bring in leads.
5. Better Business Bureau
You don't need to pay to become a member to get rated, and if you meet the accreditation criteria for a B rating or higher, you can get listed on your local BBB Web site. If you want to use links to your BBB listing on your Web site, though, you have to pay the membership fees.
6. Angie's List
Angie's List offers consumer reviews. You can't pay for inclusion or review yourself, but you can encourage satisfied customers to submit a report. Reviews are submitted by members and checked by staff before posting. Angie's List also offers consumers help in the event of disputes, and business who maintain a B rating or higher can offer member discounts.
7. Reliable Remodeler
Reliable Remodeler connects highly motivated customers and suitable contractors. Customers enter details of their project which are forwarded to four paying contractors. The company may call the consumer first to clarify details, meaning the leads provided are of the highest quality.
Another way to build your online reputation, LinkedIn.com allows you to connect with other members and request referrals. You can also answer questions to increase credibility and expose your profile to those outside your network.
9. Facebook Fan Pages
With over 250 million users, Facebook.com is a truly global site. However, you can create Fan Pages for your business, and advertise with local geographic targeting. Even without advertising, a Fan page can gain exposure if you invite your friends to join and post links on your profile.
About the Author
Gail Seymour has been a Web site designer for more than 10 years. During that time she has won three Sitesell design awards, and has provided the content and copy for dozens of Web sites and more than 50,000 Web pages.