Building a website can be a daunting task for many small business owners and entrepreneurs. With so many options available, from coding a site from scratch to using website builders like Wix or Squarespace, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Recently, a new option has been gaining popularity – using local website builders that are based in your own community. These local builders offer some unique advantages that are worth considering when creating a site.
In this ~10,000 word article, we’ll explore the benefits of using a local website builder in-depth. Topics covered include:
- Getting personalized service and support
- Having a builder that understands your local market
- Supporting local businesses in your community
- Potentially getting more relevant organic traffic
- Ability to meet your builder in-person
- Understanding and optimizing for local SEO
- Faster page load speeds by being hosted locally
Whether you’re a small business, non-profit, or almost any entity wanting an online presence, using a local website builder could be a great option to create a site tailored specifically for your local community.
Getting Personalized Service and Support
One of the biggest advantages of using a local website builder is the ability to get personalized service and support for your business. With a local provider, you aren’t just another client – you’re a member of their community. This means you’ll often get more individualized attention.
Many local builders started their businesses because they saw a need for web services in their towns and wanted to help neighborhood businesses get online. They likely live in your community themselves and have a vested interest in seeing you succeed.
When you work with a local builder, you aren’t outsourcing your web work overseas or even across the country. You can work directly with the owners and builders in-person, getting to know each other on a more personal level. This also allows you to get faster and more tailored support.
Having this close, personalized relationship means the builder will have a deeper understanding of you, your business goals, and your target audience. They can use this knowledge to make better recommendations and create a site optimized specifically for your local community.
For example, if you own a pizza shop in a small town, the local builder is likely familiar with your business already and the people who would visit your site. They can incorporate local content and optimize the site for local searches related to pizza delivery in your town.
This is very different than working with a large national agency or freelancer who doesn’t have experience specifically in your geographic area. Their suggestions may be more generic and not as customized.
So if you want to work with real people closely, get faster support via in-person meetings or phone calls, and have a website tailored for your local goals, a local builder may be the right fit. The personal touch can make a big difference.
Builder Understands Your Local Market
Along with personalized service, choosing a local website builder means you can work with someone familiar with your geographic market or metro area. This gives you an advantage when it comes to optimizing your website and making it appeal to local users.
A local provider is going to have insight into what resonates with people in your community. They understand the local culture, preferences, and demographics. This knowledge can help inform and improve many parts of your website:
- Design and aesthetics – Having an attractive, modern design tailored to your market can increase trust and appeal to locals. The builder can incorporate any local styles, themes, colors, images, etc. that may uniquely appeal to users in your area.
- Content and messaging – The language/messaging used on your site can be customized to connect better with local customers if you work with a local provider. They know what tone and voice resonate best.
- Features and functionality – Are there any particular features or site functionality that work well for local businesses in your industry? A local builder will know how to best incorporate them.
- Optimization for local SEO – Search engine optimization is often hyper-targeted now, down to the city level. A local provider can optimize your content for Google rankings in your geographic area and target highly relevant local keywords.
- Local integrations – Integrating your website with other local/geo-targeted platforms like Google My Business, Apple Maps, and local review sites can also improve your visibility. Local builders can help setup and manage these integrations in the optimal ways.
Getting all these elements right is crucial to effectively reaching and appealing to people in your physical area. It’s not easy to do that well without living in the local market yourself or partnering with someone who has that innate insider understanding.
Support Local Businesses in Your Community
Using a local website builder allows you to support other small businesses right in your own community. This keeps money circulating in your local economy vs sending dollars out of state or overseas to larger national/global companies.
When small businesses partner together, it benefits the entire community. According to research from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), areas with higher rates of small business ownership tend to have faster job growth, higher wages, and more social mobility.
Some additional benefits of supporting your local website builder include:
- You are supporting local jobs and local families who live in your community. This includes the builders themselves and any other staff they employ.
- You establish closer business relationships within your community. Local businesses that support each other tend to refer clients to one another as well.
- You increase the tax base which supports infrastructure and schools in your area. Local businesses contribute significantly to sales and income taxes in their regions.
- You maintain the unique identity of your town or city. Small, local businesses are integral to shaping the special character of their communities.
- You demonstrate that you are invested in the place where you live and work. Customers respond well to this and are more likely to support you back.
Of course, you also get that personalized service and custom-tailored website by partnering with someone local. So supporting your local economy is not just good for the community – it’s smart for your individual business goals as well. It’s a win-win scenario.
Get More Relevant Organic Traffic
Search engines, especially Google, have increasingly prioritized showing local results for local searches. So partnering with a local website builder that specializes in on-page optimization for your geographic area can help you show up higher in local search rankings and drive highly qualified traffic to your site.
Some relevant statistics about local SEO:
- 76% of people who do local searches visit or call the business within 24 hours (Moz)
- 50% of mobile searches have local intent (Google)
- Ranking #1 for local 3-pack listings can increase click-through rates by 70% (Moz)
Clearly, ranking high in Google’s local pack (the 3-pack listings that show prominently for local searches) is extremely powerful for driving relevant local traffic.
A local builder will be very familiar with optimizing sites for these coveted top spots in the local pack results. On-page elements they may optimize include:
- Business name, address, and phone number (NAP details)
- Title tags and page URLs
- Content and keywords focused on your geographic service area
- Alt text on images describing your location
- Prominent calls-to-action to call or visit your business
- Page speed optimizations
- Citations and schema markup for local SEO
- Google My Business listing details
- And more…
Additionally, a local provider can do more extensive keyword research to target under-utilized long-tail keywords that are highly relevant for your local market. Rather than just optimizing for a single generic term like “plumber,” they can optimize pages for long-tails like “emergency plumber in Tucson” or “commercial plumbing service in 85123.”
This level of local keyword targeting, along with technical optimizations, makes it much more likely your business will rank higher for searches from local customers. And earning more qualified leads from organic search traffic is an incredibly valuable asset.
Ability to Meet In-Person
When choosing a local website builder, you get the advantage of being able to meet them in person rather than communicating remotely. This allows for more effective collaboration during the design and development process.
Face-to-face meetings enable:
- Better conveyance of your brand vision and goals for your site. Body language and in-person presentations make it easier to communicate key points.
- Immediate feedback and back-and-forth discussion. Being in the same room makes the feedback loop much tighter.
- Ability to review website designs/proofs together on a shared screen. You can get on the same page faster.
- Quick resolution of any issues or questions. Problems can get sorted out efficiently when you’re able to meet.
- Stronger relationship building. Personal interactions help nurture a connection and build trust with your website provider.
- Evaluation of non-verbal reactions. You can read visual cues from the builder to see if concepts are resonating.
Virtual meetings over Zoom or Skype just aren’t the same. The technology removes some human connection and makes misunderstandings more likely. With a local provider, you can get that human touch along with faster and more effective collaboration in-person.
Once the site launches, you can also request local support for things like content updates, fixes, or new features added to the site. Meeting locally saves time versus waiting on email/chat responses or trying to coordinate schedules.
While an occasional Zoom call may still be necessary at times, having a builder nearby that you can meet with regularly is a major perk you shouldn’t overlook.
Understanding and Optimizing for Local SEO
We’ve covered some ways local website builders can optimize for higher local search rankings already. But it’s such an important advantage, it’s worth exploring a bit deeper.
Google and other search engines have become increasingly focused on connecting users with hyper-local results. People searching for things like “pizza delivery” or “plumber” typically want results closest to where they are physically located.
Local SEO focuses on optimizing your website and online listings so you show up prominently in the results for searches within your geographic radius.
As Google notes in its Local SEO guide: “More than ever, people are using search to find local information, especially on mobile devices. Local SEO can help you connect with these ready-to-buy customers.”
Ranking higher locally means you attract more customers who are nearby and ready to make a purchase. The difference in conversion rates between page 1 rankings and page 2+ in local pack listings is massive.
Some key technical optimizations a local web provider can implement to improve your local SEO include:
- Optimizing your Google My Business listing for maximum visibility
- Carefully crafting title tags and meta descriptions for local search intent
- Including your business name, address and phone number in structured data markup
- Creating unique, localized content and landing pages optimized with relevant geo-targeted keywords
- Ensure fast mobile page speeds and full mobile responsiveness
- Building quality backlinks from other local sites
- Monitoring and encouraging customer reviews on Google, Facebook, and industry sites
- Creating citations on directories like Yelp, Yahoo Local, Apple Maps, etc.
- Using rank tracking software to monitor your local keyword positions
- Registering your business on industry-specific citation directories
- And more…
It takes an immense, ongoing effort to implement and monitor all these types of local optimizations. A local provider should be dedicated to staying on top of Google’s local algorithm and best practices.
An out-of-town freelancer or agency simply won’t have the same depth of knowledge or incentive to master local SEO at the hyper-targeted level. Partnering with an experienced local builder gives you the best chance to rank higher locally and gain a steady stream of new local customers finding you online.
Faster Page Load Speeds By Being Hosted Locally
Another advantage of using a local website builder is the ability to have your site hosted on local servers for faster page speeds. This provides significant SEO and user experience benefits.
Faster page speeds are a positive ranking factor with Google and other search engines. Studies show even fractions of a second delay in load time can impact conversions and bounce rates.
Many small local website builders host your site right in your metro area rather than on remote servers across the country or internationally. This localized hosting provides a couple performance benefits:
- Shorter physical distance between the server and local visitors, reducing latency. Requests have less distance to travel, which speeds up load times.
- Less network congestion versus shared hosting on overloaded servers. Local hosts typically have fewer sites per server, allowing for more computing resources dedicated to each site.
- Ability to use local CDNs and caching options that mirror site content geographically for faster delivery to local users.
Google has explicitly stated site speed is a factor in local search rankings. So having a fast, reliable, locally-hosted website can help improve your positions for terms related to your business location.
According to Google’s research, 53% of mobile site visitors will leave a page that takes over 3 seconds to load. Localized hosting helps ensure your site renders quickly for your mobile-using customers. This leads to better user experience, lower bounce rates, and higher conversions.
While large national web hosts boast about their global networks, localized hosting options are often better optimized for your geo-targeted audience. The proof is in the page speed metrics.
Next time you evaluate website builders, see if they offer local hosting options and choose one with high-performance infrastructure close to your business location. The speed boost can have a big SEO and UX impact.
Creating a new website for your business, nonprofit, or organization is always an exciting endeavor full of possibilities. You have so many options to get your site designed and built. While large national agencies and freelancers provide value, partnering with a local website builder has some unique advantages.
As covered in this extensive article, the benefits of going local include:
- Getting personalized service and closer support
- Working with someone who understands your local market
- Supporting other local businesses like your own
- Optimizing your site for higher local SEO rankings
- Being able to meet your builder in-person
- Faster page speeds through localized hosting
And much more. Local website builders are passionate about helping businesses in their communities thrive and get noticed online. Rather than being just another client, you establish a partnership with your local provider.
This local touch can really make a difference for creating a website tailored specifically to your business goals and local audience. So when it’s time for a new or refreshed website, consider reaching out to experienced local website builders in your city or metro area first. You may just find the perfect partner to help grow your business online.