The Easiest Way to Be a Paid Local Hero for Freelance Web Clients

4 minute read

There’s a very strange phenomenon out there when it comes to local business websites… and it’s something SO EASY for you to fix as a web copywriter. You can even build your entire freelance web-copywriting career on this single phenomenon. That’s because local clients will eagerly pay you well to spot the problem, fix it, and bring them more business. Want to know what it is? Drum roll…

Most local business websites hide their business location from visitors.

I’m not kidding! Many, many local business websites seem to hide their location, forcing visitors to scroll, click around to different pages, waste time hunting, or just give up. “That’s crazy!” you might be thinking. Well, it’s true, and it’s quite baffling. And, it’s not even a recent issue. This has been going on for as long as the Internet has been around. To see it for yourself, check out some local business sites in your town. Try this exercise right now on your smartphone or laptop:

  1. Search for a local business (dentist, hair salon, accounting firm, plumber, bridal shop, bakery, fitness studio… anything local).

  2. See what shows up on the Google local map listing.

  3. Pick any result and then see if they even have a website. (Many only use Facebook, which can be a major bummer for potential customers!)

  4. IF the business has a website, click on the link, and look at the very first screen you see on your phone or laptop.

  5. Answer this question for yourself: Is the address or town name instantly visible?

You may find some websites that actually DO have the local address or town name on that first screen… but many, MANY, do not.

The other day, I looked at five different local business sites near me. All of them are for local food or drink establishments (wine bars, breweries, and restaurants), and none of them indicated where they’re located.

Here’s just one example, which I call the “no idea” approach. 🙂

This looks like a wonderful place for people who love small-craft beer, but I can’t tell where it’s located.

No address, no town name. No indication at all.

It’s a true mystery.

Why is this a major problem for local businesses?

By hiding their location or service area/town name… they’re forcing visitors to do the following…

  • Hunt and scroll around the site, searching for the address, or…

  • Click the back button to find the address on the Google search page.

Both scenarios are incredibly aggravating to site visitors.

Recent eye-tracking studies show that more than 57% of the viewing time is what we call “above the fold” — on that first screen on a laptop or phone.*

The website usability experts at NN/g Nielsen Norman Group, who conducted the research, strongly recommend you, “Reserve the top of the page for high-priority content:  key business and user goals.” 

In the case of local companies, a high priority is trying to attract more people to hire their local services, visit their venues, buy their products… you get the idea.

For them, high-priority content includes THE ADDRESS above the fold.

That’s the key business goal:  attract nearby customers to their location.

And, it’s the key user goal:  find a local resource for their needs.

By NOT including their address above the fold, local businesses are missing a boatload of potential customers!

Why, oh why, do so many businesses do this? Honestly? They’re not aware of the problem. They don’t know the best practices of local website content that works. They’re super busy running their businesses and staying afloat. Which leads to an awesome opportunity for you…

You can become a local hero and fix this problem for hundreds of websites.

You can help hundreds of local businesses in your town by offering to do a “site content audit” for them. How does that work?

  • You’ll look at the client’s local-business website to pinpoint content gaps, as well as opportunities to improve results.

  • For local businesses, one of the first things you’ll look for is LOCAL information.

  • Search engine optimization (SEO) experts know that one of the most important factors in local website success is the N.A.P. (Name, Address, and Phone Number).

  • The N.A.P. is the #1 thing searchers look for on websites, when trying to find local resources:
    • What is this business?
    • Where is it located?
    • How can I reach you/call you?

But, most local business owners or managers don’t know this.

That’s where you come in as a major hero!

The next time you’re about to visit a local business where you’re a regular customer, look up their website first and see if the N.A.P. is obvious above the fold. If not, this may open the door to a conversation you can have with the business owner, especially if you already know them.

You might say, “I’m not sure if you know, but I’m a freelance web-content specialist, and my job is to make websites work MUCH better for local businesses.”

This might spark a conversation, where the business owner says, “Really? I could use that! Tell me more!” Then you’re off and running.

Explain how their missing N.A.P. might be costing them traffic and sales, and you can audit the website to fix that issue and more.

Propose to audit their website’s primary pages for a fee, such as $1,000-$2,000, or maybe even more, since this will bring them more business and pay for itself.

And then, provide your findings and open their eyes to this major issue.

Ultimately, the client will understand what needs to be fixed, but may not know HOW to fix it throughout their content. If they find they need someone to write the web-content changes and make the improvements, they’ll ask YOU to do this.

That’s when you get paid again.

See how that works? I hope you’ll give it a try. Take it from me — hundreds of websites in your area need your help.