Attention Chambers of Commerce, tourism organizations, economic development groups, and other local organizations:
When your website provider offers to make a page for every local business on your website, say no.
I know you want to get more of your local businesses online. That makes perfect sense. Adding new pages to your organization website is not the right answer.
Making a new page for every business in your town on your website will:
- add to everyone’s overworked status,
- create more dead wood on your website, and
- waste valuable time that none of you have.
All for almost imperceptibly small results.
Right now, all your businesses already have a Google Local page. It has all their basic information, and they are allowed to sign up and make it into a robust business profile at no cost. They can post specials, updates, photos, videos, their hours, brands they carry, contact information and maps. Since this is Google’s own product, these pages are the first to show up in Google searches.
And that’s only one of dozens and dozens of web listings that already exist for your local businesses. Most of your businesses already have basic profiles that they can build upon at Yelp, TripAdvisor, Foursquare and dozens of other similar sites. Most are also profiled at BizRate, Merchant Circle, Yahoo and AOL local pages, and many, many more.
Where will local business owners find time to keep all of these updated? They won’t. And what will your site offer that those sites don’t?
You’ll end up wasting hours and hours of your own time trying to get businesses to do anything with those pages. Only a few will update theirs a few times before they forget about them. That’s wasting the business people’s time, too.
I suggest you put your organization’s credibility behind the one action that is the best place to start: Google Local Pages. That’s where most potential customers are already looking for your local business. (Here’s a guide to getting started.)
Once local business people get good at updating their Google Local page, then they can graduate to creating and maintaining a full website of their own.