Tips for Dog Walkers to Benefit Online

Dog Walkers onlineDespite the fact that the dog walking profession has very little to do with the Internet, it is critical for a dog walking company to maintain an online presence to drive new business and get dog walking jobs. Word of mouth referrals may be the lifeblood of a dog walker, but they are frequently difficult to get when starting a new dog walking business. In addition, more and more people are turning online to read dog walker reviews and recommendations on websites and forums.

Here are some important things dog walking companies need to take into consideration when building an Internet strategy:

1.) Domain Name
A dog walking company name is important, as it should be memorable, but it should also take Search Engine Optimization into account. When people look for a dog walker online, they tend to search geographically. A company name like “Cleveland Dog Walking” would be beneficial for geographic searches. Keep in mind the domain name should always match the name of the company. Above all else, the domain name should be memorable.

2.) Web Design
There are a number of companies that design websites specifically for pet companies and dog walkers. Check out the designer’s portfolio, and see if you like the way it looks. If you like it, the price is affordable, and the website can be built in an acceptable amount of time, hire the designer to build yours. Make note of the things you like and don’t like from his portfolio and others, and let him know. Be clear in what you want and need, and check in as the work progresses.

3.) Email Newsletter
One way to stay in touch with clients and potential clients is via email newsletter. Have a sign up form on your website so clients can subscribe. Send occasional emails out to provide updates about your business, but don’t send so many that people find them annoying! I think once a month is more than sufficient.

4.) Give Special Offers
I know many people don’t like to make special offers, but it can be a good way to get new clients and get referrals. Offer your current clients a free dog walk (or other special offer) if they refer a friend. It works for affiliate-based websites, so it should work for you. We all like to try something before we buy it and we like special deals, so make your potential clients feel special.

5.) Search Engine Optimization
This may sound tough, but there are plenty of websites that offer SEO tips and recommendations. Although dog walking is a competitive business, you shouldn’t have much trouble ranking well if you follow standard guidelines. Make sure your web developer considers SEO when building out your website, and download the Google SEO Guide to make sure you are doing the most obvious things. I think you should be okay if you are doing the basics, and you can hire a SEO expert to propel your site higher.

6.) Search Engine Advertising
Google, Yahoo, and Bing all offer advertising on the top of their search engines and on parked domain names where you pay per click. Sign up and do some testing to see what advertisements work best for you and how many clients you get. Use lots of keywords and test everything! Track your results to make sure you are spending money wisely. It’s not cheap but it can be worthwhile.

7.) Web Directories
Sign up for a directory listing on dog walking service directories such as DogWalker.com so that dog owners can easily find your listing and get in touch with you. DogWalker.com gets thousands of visitors per month, and some of those visitors could become your future clients. Local sites like Yelp.com and Local.com can also be good.

8.) Sign up for Google Local
When someone searches for a dog walker in your city, your business listing can be at the top of Google Local next to the map. Make sure you add photos, coupons, your phone number, email address and website link. These details are very important.

You may offer a good service to dog owners, but if they can’t find you, they won’t know you exist. Since many people search for a dog walker online, having a web presence is critical these days, and you won’t want to be without one.

Image credit: Flickr