Setting up your Wisconsin Buys Local profile is not hard at all - but as with anything worthwhile it takes just a little bit of effort. In this article we'll give you the best tips and tricks to get the most of our free business listing.
Help Us, Help You!
Remember that our goal at WisconsinBuysLocal.com is to help you promote your Wisconsin Owned Business! We aren't trying to replace Facebook, Google or other business listing sites, but your business profile page should work as simple extension of your other online presence. We need your help to tell Wisconsinites about www.WisconsinBuysLocal.com. We encourage you at every opportunity (in person, online, at the counter, on the phone, on social media) to tell people that you are listed on WisconsinBuysLocal.com and that it's a great resource to find other locally owned businesses in their own Wisconsin communities. The more traffic we can drive to WBL, the more traffic we can then drive to your business. Think about if we could get all of our 6,000+ businesses to tell just 100 people each about WBL. That's over a half a million people that could be reminded that shopping locally is important, fun and rewarding --- and most importantly we'll help direct those shoppers to your locally owned business when they need your product and/or services! Help Us, Help You!
Your Free Business Profile Page
- Sign Up - odds are you've already signed up, but if you haven't, it's easy. Simply click Sign Up at the top of the website and create a free shopper account first. Once you have your shopper account make sure you are logged in, click on Account at the top right, User Profile, and then see the option for creating a free business profile. Once your business profile is created, you can edit it at anytime by clicking on Account (at the top right of the site), and then Edit Business.
- Basic Information - Be sure to complete all the boxes so that Wisconsin Buys Local shoppers know your business' name and address. If you have a brick and mortar location, it's vital to complete your address correctly so that the map on your business profile page accurately shows where you are located as well as driving directions. Be sure not to abbreviate words in your address as this can affect automatic mapping and geo-location encoding of your business. For example, don't type your city as Wis Dells, type the full Wisconsin Dells as your city name.
- Contact Information - The information in these fields (phones, email, fax and website) appear publicly in your business listing, so again it's important to make sure you enter your most up to date contact information. To cut down on spam, you'll notice that your wisconsinbuyslocal.com business page does NOT actually show your email address. We do this so your email address is invisible to spam bots. Our site visitors (whether human or bot) don't ever see your email address (so they can't steal it), but instead we use it behind the scenes to support features such as review notifications and contact forms. For your website address make sure the address that gets entered includes the http:// or https:// AND after you have saved your profile be sure to open your WBL business profile page and test your website link to ensure that the address you provided is pointing to the right place.
- Company Information - This area gives you a chance to provide Wisconsin Buys Local shoppers with some basic information about your business such as your number of employees, the year you were established, your parking situation, and hours of operation. Be sure to set all these options where they apply to your business.
- Business Categories - They section of your business profile is very important. The business categories you select will help shoppers drill down to your business when they are searching for a particular kind of business on www.wisconsinbuyslocal.com. The way it works is very simple. There are two lists "My Categories" and "Available Categories To Choose From". Scroll through the available categories to find the productions and/or services that your business profiles. Check the box next to each category that your business falls into (you may select up to 60 business categories, but try to keep your categories as focused as possible). Once you've selected your categories, click the "Add Selected Categories" button near at the bottom of the section. You'll then see your selection appear in the My Categories box. If for some reason you'd like to remove a category from your business, simply check its checkbox and click "Remove Selected Categories". While our category list has MANY options to choose from, if you feel we are missing a category important to your business, please use our contact form to request a new category. Our team will review your request and either add it or point out an existing category that may fit your business.
- WBL Site Badge - Your business profile comes with a free Wisconsin Buys Local Site Badge. The site badge is a great way to show off your Wisconsin Buys Local pride, show that you are an official member, and provide an easy to follow link on your website back to your free business listing on wisconsinbuyslocal.com. Please note that you'll need access to edit your website to install the site badge. It's very simple to install, but we do not provide support for installation because there are so many different types of websites out there. If you are familiar with web editing or have a web administrator, it should literally take 2 minutes to install the WBL Site Badge. MAKE SURE you don't just take a screenshot of the badge and use that on your website - be sure to use the code snippet that is provided (specific to your business) when you click the "Get My WBL Badge Now!" button.
- Social Media Profiles - When editing your free business listing there is a section for entering your social media profiles. Entering links to your business' social media profile pages (like Facebook, Twitter, etc) enables icons for each of those social media sites to appear on your business profile page. This is important as it will help drive traffic to your social media pages. How do you make it work?? It's easy! Typically you can, just open another browser windows (or tab) and surf to your (for example) facebook business page. Go up to the address bar in your browser and you should see something like http://www.facebook.com/MyBusinessName. Copy and paste that address into your Wisconsin Buys Local social media profiles section. The only two tricks to this are, make sure the address that gets pasted into your profile includes the http:// or https:// AND after you have saved your profile be sure to open your WBL business profile page and test your social media icons to ensure that the address you provided is pointing to the right place.
- Profile Pictures - When you first create your free business profile page, you will not see the option for your profile and banner pictures. You must create and save your profile at least once before these options are available to you. Once you do see the Profile and Banner photo options, you can add these images. In this section you'll see the ideal sizes and file type for each of the images. Here are a couple important pointers:
- Your Profile Photo is the square shaped picture that will replace the "WBL coming soon" image on your profile, in searches and lists. Ideally use your logo for this image. Your source image/logo should be square to start with, or edited to provide padding so it is square.
- Your Banner Photo is the rectangular picture that appears at the top of your business profile page and replaces the blue/green waves picture. Most businesses will use a picture of their facilities, a picture of their store/shop interior or a picture of their products/services. The aspect ratio of your photo should be cropped to a 10 by 3 (10:3) ratio. In English, the picture should be 1,000px by 300px.
- Both images should be the .jpg file format.
- Your source images MUST be less than 4MB to be able to upload them. IDEALLY, you images should be well under 1MB in size. Larger images take longer to download to someone looking at your profile.
- If you don't have someone to help size, pad and/or crop your pictures, a quick google search for topics like "how to use Microsoft Paint to resize an image" or "online free picture resize" will teach even the most novice person to handle making your images perfect. YouTube is another great place to learn basic image sizing, cropping and padding if you prefer to see it instead of reading about it.
- Saving Your Profile - Don't forget to save your profile each time you edit it! There's a large blue button near the top of your free Wisconsin Buys Local business profile page that says "Save Profile". Yep, it's that simple!
Do you have other ideas, tips or tricks to help others get customers in the door? We'd love to hear from you! Send us an email or post to our facebook wall at https://www.facebook.com/wisconsinbuyslocal