DC Web Design Tips for Small Businesses
If your business is in Washington, DC and relies on your website to attract customers, you may have noticed a few more competitors in your space. Well you’re not alone. More companies are beginning to invest significant dollars in web design projects to better compete in the metro area.
Why the Sudden Rush of Web Design Projects?
The local economy is hot. There are new construction projects all around the city, home prices are increasing, and contrary to what you hear in the media, government is continuing to increase their budgets. In fact, Washington, DC has been ranked as one of the best places to find a job in 2010, 2011, and 2012. Forbes recently wrote about DC, “flush with government and government-supporting jobs--has the healthiest labor market among major U.S. metro areas. By one estimate, there's roughly one advertised job opening for every unemployed worker in the D.C. region, which includes parts of Maryland and Virginia. The nation's capital has an unemployment rate of just 6%, according to the latest data. That's the lowest among the country's largest 50 metros, and 3.8 percentage points below the national average.” more here.
DC Web Design Tips
How do you separate your small business web design effort from other competitors? There’s no one answer, but here is a list of recommendations you can apply to boost your online visibility and convert visitors to prospects and sales leads:
1. Showcase Your Proximity to Local Landmarks
Washington, DC is full of great landmarks like the Whitehouse, Capitol, National Monument, and Smithsonian Museums. And while those that live here often take that for granted, regional, national, or international visitors to your website will find that proximity not only attractive, but it will also act to add additional credibility.
2. Provide Facts on Washington, DC on Your Website
Need additional content for your DC website? Want to improve the website rank for your website? Add basic facts about Washington, DC. By creating a simple page like “Where We Are” you can add visitors’ bureau links, government data, or information on the cherry blossom festival. It will make your small business website more informational and more engaging.
3. Feature Great Images on Your Website
The Washington, DC area is one of the most picturesque cities in the entire world. Take a bridge from Virginia and you’re treated with multiple skylines made up of classical government buildings, statues, and European inspired roads. For the price of one licensed image, you can hire a local DC photographer to take pictures of your building, office, and local landmarks in a single day (along with shots of your staff). If you have to purchase images, avoid cheap images -- utilize photos that capture the essence of the area and are highly memorable and emotional.
4. Highlight Your Washington, DC Address
Why do so many law firms work on K Street? It’s called the K street effect; the fact that you have an address on Washington, DC’s most prominent street means you value the area and, more importantly, you can afford to do business here. Small businesses with limited marketing budgets should especially highlight their DC website address. Also include your address on the bottom of your website. It will help search engines find and index your website.
5. Give Great Directions
Adding detailed directions to your website will help highlight your location, reduce repetitive questions, and highlight alternative routes. Make sure to include airport directions from Dulles, Washington-Reagan, and Baltimore-Washington International, as well as METRO stops that are nearby.
6. Showcase Prestigious Government Clients
Does your business work with local, District, or Federal agencies? Adding government logos to your website redesign can help highlight your relationship and work with those agencies. If you have enough material, add a full case study to your website. Before using any logos, make sure to use high quality images and request permission prior to use.
7. Highlight Local Washington, DC Events
As an active metropolitan city bordered by Virginia and Maryland, there are hundreds of activities in Washington, DC every day. On your new DC web design project, consider highlighting events that relate to your industry and that your visitors may find useful. Adding industry tradeshow events is one of the easiest ways to generate new content on your website and show your engagement and knowledge of what’s going on.
8. List Your Company Qualifications
Are you a section 8 company? Do you use NAIC codes to solicit business? Are you in an economically advantaged zone? Make sure to create a page on your website specifically addressing any certifications or distinctions that can help bolster your company’s qualifications.
9. List Yourself Locally on Local Directories and Maps
When individuals search for your company name, one of the first results often times is an internet directory. By listing your DC company website in a directory like Google Places or Google Maps, you’ll increase the likelihood of getting found immediately. Many businesses rely on directories as part of their search engine marketing process -- the more external links your DC website has to large popular directories, the greater the chances large search engines like Google will rank your company listing higher.
10. Expand Your Online Footprint with A Local Blog
No news is bad news. This is especially true when considering that company blogs often times attract 50% of all the traffic to a website. Another effective way to elevate your DC web design project to the next level is by incorporating a frequently updated blog. Whether you have the time to do daily or monthly updates, local blog pieces will help highlight your place in the DC business sphere and showcase your involvement in the community. A well-designed blog will also allow every new entry to show up as a new page online -- a great way to get search engines to notice your website.