How to create an effective notary website
Websites are a powerful way for a notary to make an impression and get jobs. An attractive website will make prospective clients more enthusiastic about doing business with you and will help you gain respect quickly. From start to finish, it might take one or two months to get a quality website "live" online. Don't be discouraged by the steps necessary or the waiting time. Creating a website is a tool that can help you in the long run -- or even change your destiny, so look at the investment and amount of hassle in perspective.
Web sites, domain names, and hosting
A website is a cyber "entity". You can think of a website as a virtual R.V. or mobile home of sorts. A site has to have a DOMAIN NAME which you need to purchase/register before you get any programming done. Then, the site has to have a place to park which would be a SERVER. Think of a server as a virtual R.V. park with all the hookups. A server is a data storage system that generally is packed with several dozen other servers in a box and livesin a temperature controlled environment in a large high security data facility that has redundant wires/cables coming in and out of the building to ensure that you are always connected. When you buy HOSTING, you are buying a place to put your site on a server. A typical small site just needs a limited amount of space on a server which might cost $10 to $50 per month. But, a larger site might need a server all to its self which costs more than $1000 per month. Additionally, a site needs to be designed, and in some cases programmed if you need to have a database or other sophisticated functions. Small notary sites generally consist of a handful of pages linked together, some practical information, and some catchy artwork. Below is a summary of steps necessary to create a "live" website. Steps two and three can be in the reverse order.
- Register/purchase domain name
- Purchase hosting on a server
- Get design / programming work done.
You can get started with a website for anywhere from $400-$3000 realistically. A domain name is anywhere from $10-$30 to purchase, hosting is $10-$50 per month, and design work would be in the hundreds or thousands. You have to have extra money sitting around in case the site needs extra work or maintenance. A website is like a vehicle in the sense that there is always something to fix now and again. Ideally you should pick a webdesigner who works in an established company so that they will be around in the future when you need maintenance or help. Fly-by-night programmers could cause you a lot of trouble if they disappear and you can't get your site modified, or fixed if there is a problem.
A website is something that always needs some amount of maintenance. Servers change their platforms and programming from time to time which means that your site may suddenly misfunction and need some quick reprogramming. Servers get old and sites need to be transfered to newer servers which requires progammers to do. Also, you need to renew your domain name every year. Its also possible to renew your domain name many years / decades in the future if you are sure you will be in business that long. New links and text need to be added to the site, and often people opt to include new pages. Its also common to change the webdesign from time to time.
What to include
A standard notary website should have the folowing pages: (1) Home page, (2) Contact us, (3) About us, (4) Services, (5) Pricing, (6) Links. The home page is for your general introduction. The contact us page is for your address, phone numbers, and email address although sometimes its good to put a phone number on the home page as well. Search engines will NOT rank you favorably if you don't have a contact us page or if you omit to put an address on the contact us page. The about us page tells the world about you, your work history, and anything else you think would be interesting for the prospetive clients to read about you. Your services page should describe all of the services that you are willing to perform. This might includes, mobile notary work, loan signings, reverse mortgage signings, hospital signings, jail signings, copies of powers of attorney, document deliver, etc. Your pricing page would itemize your prices for each type of service, including travel costs. You might include a mileage rate, or approximate costs based on time of travel which is smarter considering that during rush hour, you might be going three miles per hour which would not be very lucrative at 60 cents per mile. Your links page is to link to other sites that offer helpful notary resource information and to exchange links with other notary sites. You will be better ranking on google if you have incoming AND outgoing links. Outgoing links to highly relevent sites will help your search engine ranking ( I have tested this ). It is best not to have too many outgoing links, or you will gradually lose ranking for your page, so go for quality, not quantity. Exchanging links with many other notary sites is essential to your success on google.
SEO - optimization
To get good ranking on google, you need to be well optimized. This means that your pages need the right quality and quantity of links, keywords, and length as well as having a good domain name, good page names, and metatitles. This may sound complicated, and there is a lot to think about, but if you can master the basics, you will be in very good shape. Larger businesses can afford to hire a professional company to optimize their websites. But, smaller companies can not. So, here are a few easy lessons about the basics.
Keywords are words or terms that are relevent to your site. For example, the words: notary, notary public, mobile notary, traveling notary, california notary, notary california, notary public houston, etc., are keywords that might relate to a mobile notary. There are thousands of mobile notaries with websites, but they can not all be #1 on google under the the general notary keywords such as, "notary", or "notary public". You would be lucky to be on the 10th page under the term "notary", and hardly any customers will find you down there. Many notaries feel hopeless or discouraged due to this. However, there are solutions. Focus on SPECIFIC KEYWORDS. In the case of a mobile notary, the best specific keywords for you are geographic keywords.
On search engines, people typically look notaries up by city name or state -- NOT county or zip. Having a domain name that includes your city name and the term notary is a smart idea. www.eastsmallvillenotary.com would be a great domain name if you do notary work in East Smallville. www.notaryeastsmallville.com is just as good with google. The good names are often taken, but you can always do a ".net", or ".biz" and google will love you all the same if you have the right keywords. Putting keywords in your page names is important too. In addition to the standard pages i.e. about us, contact us, you could have a page for some of the cities you visit frequently. www.eastsmallvillenotary.com/fremont.htm would be a possible page name idea. That way, you might show up well on google for Fremont as well as in East Smallville. You should have the geographic terms in your page name, meta title, and in your text for the pages. Different pages can focus on different keywords.
A metatitle is what shows up on google on the search results. Each page on your site needs a different metatitle. Your home page might say, "East Smallville Mobile Notary Service" in the metatitle, while the Fremont page might say, "Eastsmallvillenotary - Fremont Mobile Notary Service" so that the browser can see who you are, and so that google can pick up your additional city keyword information as well. Ask your programmer how to add and change metatitles. It takes less than a minute and its only one line of text in the long scroll of source code that every page has. Exact keywords don't have to be in one piece in a metatitle. Just as long as all the parts are there in order its okay even if they are not sequential. You can list a bunch of cities, and then say notary at the end of the sequence. Keep in mind that metatitles have length maximums, and if you go beyond the maximum, the last several words might not show up.
Generally speaking, its ideal for pages to have 250-300 words of text, not including standardized text thats in navigation bars, etc. The closer you come to 250-300 words, the better you will do.
Exchange links with other notary sites and that will strengthen your placement on google for related terms or term combinations. If you have the term Fremont Notary, and you have an incoming link from a Nevada Notary site, that will help you on the term Fremont Notary because it strengthens the Notary component of the term. Obviously you would be far better off if you have an incoming link from another site with the terms Fremont Notary for an exact keyword match. Its good to advertise on directories and then get links from your profile on those directories to your site. That is worth paying for. Also, links from forums, blogs, and social media sites like facebook will enhance your placement.
Ideally, you should repeat your main keywords at least four to ten times in your text on a particular page depending on how important the keyword is and how long your text is. Pages emphasizing Fremont Notary Services should emphasize that term more, while your home page might emphasize Smallville Notary, Smallville Notary Public, and Smallville Notary Services more. Mix your keywords up with lots of variations for best results.
General page names for general pages would be names such as www.eastsmallvillenotary.com/contactus.htm, or www.eastsmallvillenotary.com/links.htm. Having geographically relevent pages for your major cities that you cover should be considered. Remember, that if you have too many city pages, each one won't get much traffic, and the lack of traffic will lower its placement. Sometimes its good to combine several cities on one page, or all of your additional cities on one page. This can only be decided on a case by case basis.
If you decide to discuss all of your main additional cities you cover on one page, make sure to have EXACT keywords such as: Notary Fremont, Notary in Fremont, Notary Public Fremont, Fremont Mobile Notary, etc., embeded in a user friendly text. If you make a LIST of cities that you cover, do this in addition to having text that includes exact keywords. Don't go overboard with keywords or the readers will find it awkward to read and it will come across as spam. Below is my sample of an optimized text. I am not a professional optimizer, so my work may come across as clunky. Notice how I mix up all many different popular search term variations.
GOOD - this page would ideally include more information than this, but here is a basic example of keyword optimization for a multi-city page.
Metatitle: Fremont, Santa Clara, Newport, Mountain View Notary Public
East Smallville Notary offers mobile notary services to many surrounding areas such as Fremont, Newark, Santa Clara and Mountain View. Call us at 333-333-3333 for an appointment.
Fremont Mobile Notary Services
If you need a notary in Fremont, we offer Fremont Notary services from 6am to midnight, seven days a week.
We charge a $35 travel fee for Fremont notary appointments plus $10 per notarized signature.
Newark Mobile Notary Services.
We offer Newark Notary service 24 hours per day, however we request that you schedule your appointment before midnight if you need a notary in Newark between 12am and 6am. We charge a $30 travel fee for Newark Notary appointments plus $10 per notarized signature.
Santa Clara Notary Public Services
If you need Santa Clara Notary work done, we need advanced notice as its a longer drive from our office. We charge a $40 travel free for Santa Clara Notary appointments plus $10 per notarized signature.
Mountain View Notary Services
We have a notary in Mountain View who can provide service 24 hours a day. No advanced scheduling is necessary. If you are calling after 12am, please call our Mountain View Notary express number at 444-444-4444.
We charge a $25 travel fee for Mountain View Notary appointments as well as $10 per notarized signature.
This example optimizes many keyword variations such as: mobile notary services, notaryin fremont, fremont notary, fremont notary services, newark mobile notary, newark notary, notary in newark, santa clara notary, mountain view notary, etc. However, this example only emphasizes each keyword variation once or twice. Whether to bunch all your geographical keywords on one page or to divide them into "weaker" separate pages is a decision only you can make. If you have time, try it both ways and see which way gives you better placement.
BAD - this example is short, but emphasizes what a page looks like with no exact keywords.
Metatitle: eastsmallvillenotary - additional cities
East Smallville Notary offers services to the following surrounding areas:
Fremont, Newark, Santa Clara, and Mountain View. Call us at 333-333-3333 for an appointment.
We charge $35 per visit in Fremont, and $30 per visit in Santa Clara. We charge $40 per visit in all other cities. Additionally, there is a $10 per signature charge for notarized signatures.
This example has city terms and notary terms on the same page. However, the terms are not in SEQUENTIAL order. Having the word Newark in one place and several words down the page having the word notary, helps very little with search engine placement. The word must be right next to each other in the correct order of whatever term you are trying to optimize.
Example of a single city optimized page.
This example is only part of the page, but this is how you could begin. The point is to find a way to have many keyword variations and keyword repetition without sounding "spammy". Please notice that some sentences don't have any keywords which is sometimes necessary for the text to be user-friendly. Exchanging links with other Newark notaries on this page may or may not be good for business, but will be good for optimizing.
Meta Title: East Smallville Notary - Newark Mobile Notary Services
East Smallville Notary offers Newark Mobile Notary Services 24 hours per day. If you need a notary in Newark, CA simply call us at 333-333-3333. We charge a $30 travel fee for Newark Notary appointments, plus $10 per notarized signature. Please have a current identification such as a drivers license, state identification card, or passport ready at the notarization.
We are located in East Smallville which is only seven miles from Newark, so we can easily provide you with Newark Notary Services any time of the day or night. We have three notaries on staff, so if the other two are on call, we can have a notary in Newark in minutes.
Here are some links to other Newark Notary companies.
Notarywillfly.com - notarynewark.com - notaryetc-in-newark.com - etc.
More Newark Notary information
Please visit the California Notary division's website to learn all of the rules applicable for notary work performed within the state of California.
Bilingual Newark Notary information
If you need a bilingual notary in Newark, eastsmallvillenotary has one Spanish speaking notary on staff who will be happy to assist you with all of your notary needs.
This example repeats main keywords such as: notary in newark, newark mobile notary, newark notary, newark notary services several times. Its hard to find ways to repeat these terms more than that. The main term Newark Notary is repeated five times which is reasonable for a main keyword on a page of this length.
How do I get started with my website?
Just hire a reliable web design company and have them handle the steps. Make sure the domain name is registered with your name for legal reasons.
Where do I turn for advice?
You can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need help with ideas for your website. I'm not an expert optimizer or designer, but I have many years of experience with notary websites.
Here is a website my customer hired someone to create. Its by far the best I've seen.