If you're a business owner, an online presence is crucial for your success. Online directories have been around for years, but they've become prevalent in recent years due to the rise of social media and search engines like Google. Nowadays, it's not enough to have a website--you need to be found on Google and other search engines so that people can find you when they need your services or products.
An online business directory helps businesses such as yours increase visibility by allowing you to claim their listing on the directory's website and verify it with your contact information so that consumers know you're a legitimate business. An online directory also helps you improve your website's SEO by providing backlinks to your website where potential customers can learn more about you or purchase your products/services directly from their site.
Online directories provide credibility and legitimacy because they require businesses to verify their listing before it goes live on their platform. If someone tries searching for your company on Google or another search engine, they'll see you're a legit business and not some fly-by-night operation. Plus, it's a great way to increase your online visibility, because when people search for businesses in your industry, your company will be right there, front and center. And the best part is that it's super easy to get listed, so there's no excuse not to do it!
Online Listing: A Definition
An online business directory is a website that lists local businesses, allowing your users to search for nearby services and products. These directories can be beneficial for local companies because they provide a way to reach potential customers looking for your type of service or product.
Online listing includes a collection of information about different businesses, such as their name, address, phone number, website, and other details. With the rise of digitalization, these directories have become essential to any business's online presence. They serve as an excellent reference for customers to find what they are looking for quickly and easily.
Get Seen, Get Found: How Online Business Directories can Help Your Business
Online presence for businesses is paramount in today's digital age. With most people checking out companies online before making a purchase, it's a no-brainer for businesses to ensure they're easily found on the internet. Trust us, it's crucial for reaching new customers and making sales.
Online business directories can help businesses increase their online presence in several ways:
- Increase Visibility
Online directories are like a one-stop-shop for all the details of your business, like where they're located, when they're open, and how to contact them. It's super easy for customers to find what they're looking for and reach out to a business. It's a win-win for everyone.
- Improve SEO
Being on an online business directory can give your search engine rankings a boost, making it easier for people to find you on Google and other search engines. It's like free advertising but better.
- Provide Credibility and Legitimacy
Having a presence in an online business directory is like a big stamp of approval. It shows potential customers that you're a legit business, like a virtual handshake, and people trust what they can see and verify online.
- Facilitate customer reviews and ratings
Online directories are like the Yelp of the business world. They let customers leave reviews and ratings, which can be super helpful for people trying to decide which business to go with. Plus, it's a great way for your business to get feedback and improve your services and customer experience.
Drawbacks: Cons of Using Online Business Directories
While online business directories can provide many benefits for businesses, there are also some potential downsides to consider:
Online business directory sites can be expensive
Some online business directories require a fee to list a business or to access certain features. This cost can add up over time and may not be worth it for some businesses, especially small businesses with a tight budget.
- You have limited control over information with online listing
Once your business has listed its information in an online listing, you may have limited control over how that information is presented or how it appears in search results.
- You can be a victim of fake or inaccurate reviews
Online directories let customers leave reviews, but not all of them will be the real deal. A fake bad review can tank your business' reputation, and it might be challenging to take it down or dispute it.
- You cannot depend on your exposure to online business directory sites
Listing your business in a directory is a good way to increase visibility, but it shouldn't be the only way your business is promoting itself online! Relying too heavily on one directory could limit the reach of your business.
- Online business directory sites lack flexibility
Most online listing platforms have very strict rules on how they present your business' information. They do not have the flexibility to present it in a way that is tailored to your business needs or brand values.
While online business directories can be an excellent tool to increase visibility and reach more customers, you should also be aware of the potential downsides and weigh the pros and cons before investing in a directory listing.
Examples of Online Business Directories
Okay, we've been talking about online listing, but what exactly are they? Here are some examples of online business directories to give you a better idea of what they are:
1. Google My Business
Google My Business is a free tool that lets you create a listing for your business on Google. It helps you show up on Google Maps and in search results when people look for businesses like yours in your area. It's a great way for businesses to get more customers.
Yelp is a popular online business directory that lets customers leave reviews and ratings of businesses. It can benefit your business by reaching more customers looking for the same business as yours. It's also one of the biggest review and rating platforms that customers check out before signing up or visiting a particular store, particularly, restaurants.
TripAdvisor is a travel directory that lists hotels, restaurants, and other travel-related businesses. If you're in the travel and hospitality industry,
TripAdvisor is perfect for you because you can reach more customers planning their trips and gain more insights about your customers' wants and needs.
4. Angi's List
Last on our list is Angi's List. This platform allows customers to find and review local service providers. Its focus is businesses that offer home improvement, healthcare, and automotive services.
Maximize: How to Effectively Use Online Business Directories
Online business directories are a great way to reach new customers and grow your business. But not all online directories are created equal, and knowing how to use them effectively can be tricky!
Let's walk you through the best ways to use online business directories to get the most out of your time and money spent on them.
1. Research the directory before you submit your listing
Are they more focused on local businesses or national ones? Do they accept submissions from companies with fewer than five employees? What's their response time? Make sure you know what kind of information they need from you before you begin filling out their form!
2. Claim and verify your business listing
You've probably heard you should claim and verify your online business listing, but what does that mean? And why is it so important?
Claiming your business listing means telling Google (and other search engines) that this is the official website for your business. Verifying it means notifying Google that you are who you say you are, so they can trust what information they see on your site. This part is crucial because if Google doesn't know who owns a site or what kind of business it is, then it can't show people the correct results when they search for things related to those topics--and that means fewer customers for you!
3. Complete your business profile and add photos
If you're looking to grow your business, you must complete your business profile and add photos on online business directories. This step will help potential customers find you and make an informed decision about whether or not they want to do business with you.
When people search for businesses like yours, they want to know what they're getting into before they commit. They need to see who the owner is, what services the company provides, and how long it has been in operation.
That's where adding photos come in handy! Photos help customers get a feel for what kind of environment they'll be working in if they choose this company over another one nearby (or across town).
In addition to helping potential clients find out more about your company--and whether or not you fit into their needs--having a professional-looking website also helps them feel confident about making an appointment or buying something from you online even if you haven't met face-to-face yet.
4. Respond to customer reviews
We've all been there--you go and check out a business directory where your business is listed, like Yelp or Google My Business, and someone has something negative to say about your company. Maybe they think your prices are too high or that their order was messed up. Whatever it is, though, they took the time out of their day to write something about how they feel about your business.
And that's important! It means they care enough about what happens in your store or office space that they want everyone else who might walk through those doors someday to know what kind of experience they had with you specifically! Don't let those reviews go unanswered--take advantage of this opportunity!
5. Utilize directory-specific features such as coupons or special offers
If you want to increase your sales, it's time to get creative. One way to do this is by using directory-specific features like coupons and special offers. Coupons are a great way to attract new customers and keep old ones coming back for more. They can be used in a variety of ways:
- Printed on paper and distributed in person
- Printed on paper and distributed online
- Placed on your website (either manually or automatically)
Special offers are another great way to attract new customers and create returning customers. Special offers can be anything from discounts on products or services, free shipping, free gift with purchases, etc.
6. Check back often
Should you be checking your online business directory listing regularly?
It's important to do so because if you don't, you might miss out on a new customer. Or worse, one who's already been looking for your services for weeks and finally found your listing!
It's easy to get distracted by the day-to-day tasks of running your business--but if you want to stay ahead of the game, you must take time out of each day (or week) to make sure that your business is represented well in all of the places where people are looking for it.
Selection: Choosing the Right Online Business Directories
When you're just starting out, it can be hard to know which directories to use. You want an online listing directory that will help you reach new customers, but you also don't want one that will waste your time and money. Here are some tips for choosing the right online business directories:
1. Look at their audience
Are they targeting your niche? Do they have a large following in your industry? If not, then this is probably not the right directory for you at this stage of your business development.
For example, if your business specializes in selling organic produce, it would make sense for you to list your business in a directory that specializes in organic and sustainable products.
2. Check out their reviews
Check out what other people have said about them on social media or review sites like Yelp! If people say good things about them, they might be worth checking out further. If there are lots of negative reviews, then skip this directory altogether--it's probably not worth your time or money!
3. Consider the cost
Some directories charge fees upfront, while others only charge fees if someone clicks through from their site (i.e., pay per click). Consider what kind of budget you have set aside for marketing before deciding which type would work best for you
4. Choose the right categories
Once you have a list of potential directories, narrow down your search by category. For example, if you are looking for an online listing directory with local listings, start by looking at sites that focus specifically on businesses in your area or state. From there, narrow it down even further by searching for "directory" or "business directory" as keywords on Google and seeing which ones show up first.
5. Choose a directory that has a high domain authority
The domain authority of a site is an indicator of how important it is online. In other words, the higher its DA, the more likely your website will show up when people search for similar keywords on Google.
6. Make sure that your chosen online business directory sites have plenty of traffic
A website's traffic shows how many people visit it every month and helps indicate whether or not your business will be able to get noticed there.
7. Choose a directory that has a user-friendly interface
The best directories are easy to navigate and use, so it's easier to manage your online business listings. Be sure to take a look at the site before you sign up.
Integrate: Use Strikingly for Your Website and Increase Your Visibility
If you're looking to increase your business' online visibility, Strikingly is the way to go.
Strikingly is an easy-to-use website builder that makes it easy for anyone to create a beautiful website in minutes. It's perfect for people who want to create a site but don't have the time or skills to do so--or for those who have tried other tools and just haven't been able to get the results they want.
Strikingly offers a range of features that make it stand out from its competitors:
1. The ability to add custom domains (like yourname.com) instead of using subdomains like yourbusiness.mystrikingly.com.
2. A beautiful design that looks great on any device, including phones and tablets, and even desktops!
Image taken from Strikingly
3. A mobile-friendly version so you can view your site on any device without losing functionality or quality (you know how much we love responsive design here at Strikingly).
A website builder like Strikingly can help your business create an online presence, improve your search engine rankings, and include your business's listing information, which can all help increase visibility and reach potential customers.
What are you waiting for? Sign up today.