You need to have a strong online presence for your dog walking business if you want potential clients to contact you. Otherwise, your competitors will get the clients and you won’t be in business for long. Whether it is a website, a strategic business name, or a Facebook page, you have to employ every method possible for people to find your pet sitting and dog walking business.
Online presence for your dog walking business
The most important thing you can do is create a great business name. I’ll cover the importance of that below. Then you need to get your business name on the internet in various ways. And the best thing you can do is create a website, but that is easier said than done.
Here is my breakdown of what you can do to optimize your online presence for your dog walking business:
- Choose a strategic dog walking business name
- Create a Google My Business account
- List your dog walking business on Yelp and other relevant review sites
- Create a Facebook business page
- Create other social media accounts for your business
Hard and/or expensive methods
- Create a website for your dog walking business
- Upload relevant videos to YouTube
- Create a blog section for your website
- Learn and implement Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
You want to start with the easy online methods first since a lot of them require little maintenance once you are done. I’m going to touch on all the online methods but I’ll be creating separate articles for some of the methods. I want to focus on the most important first step: your business name.
1. Create a search-friendly dog walking business name
Totally reject any cute or clever play on words as a business name. No one is going to hire you because they find your business name “cute”. Don’t put the following words in your pet sitting or dog walking business name:
Bark, Bow Wow, Paws, Fetch, Tails, Claws, Pant, Ruff, Butler, Nanny, Woof, …
Just Google any type of pet service in your area and you’ll see what I mean. This is your business – be smart with your business name, not cute and clever.
Your business isn’t a game where you win a prize for a cute pet-related name. You want your reviews, testimonials, and professionalism to win you, clients. A good name helps people find your business. Let me go into detail.
Those words above that I listed NOT to use are words in pet-related businesses in Philadelphia, where I am based. Here is what I did. I used a Google tool to research the search volume for the services I offer: dog walking, pet sitting, and boarding.
There are other tools you can use, but the point is to pick the best term that covers your services. In hindsight, I should have chosen “Dog Walking” as part of my name. If I would have known that the majority of my money comes from dog walking, then my business name would have been Fairmount Dog Walking.
I chose “pet service” as part of my name because it covered all my services and I was worried that people needing pet sitting or boarding may not contact me.
Keep it simple. Put either “dog walking”, “pet sitting” or “pet service” in your business name.
Smart & strategic business name: add your city name!
Now for the real power in my name. I chose to add the neighborhood I live in as part of my name.
How do you do a search for something on Google? Don’t you add either “near me”, “in my area”, or an actual city or neighborhood name in your search? I do.
No matter what put the name of your city or neighborhood into your business name!
The main reason to put the city in your name is for a better chance of getting “clicks” from organic search results. This is mostly for people with websites, but review sites like Yelp come up in search results. And speaking of Yelp, the business name that you pick will be the name in your Yelp profile, in your Google My Business listing, and in every other site where you list your business.
Don’t be a dope and pick a name like “Waggy tails walking”! Your dog walking business name should be:
City + main service(s)
Feel free to let me know if you disagree with that strategy, but make sure to tell me what is better.
2. Google my business listing
This is just as important as your Facebook business page. Local businesses that have a Google business listing are featured immediately below the top few results (see image below).
You have to provide a phone number and an address to actually set up a Google My Business listing. If you are not willing to put that information on the internet, then this is not an option for you.
My business comes up in the featured businesses snippet for a number of different search terms: dog walker, dog walking, pet sitting, pet sitter, etc.
3. List your dog walking business on Yelp and other review sites
Yelp is by far the best review site when it comes to where people actually search. Listing your dog walking business on Yelp is one of the first things you should do. In my opinion, Yelp, Google My Business, and Facebook are the top 3 sites to list your dog business.
I’ll be writing a post that goes into more depth on Yelp and other review sites, but here are some sites where my dog walking business is listed:
Merchant Circle, Brownbook, Super Pages, Bing Local, Localdatabase, ShowMeLocal, Tupalo, Hotfrog, Angie’s List, Foursquare, Bring Fido, Judy’s Book, Alexa, Dogster, Citysquare, Ezlocal, and Mapquest.
I’m sure I missed some, but you get the idea. I set up accounts for those sites over a decade ago. Some of those sites may not even be that popular anymore. Put your dog walking or pet sitting business name EVERYWHERE!
4. Social Media: Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, …
Until you actually build a website, or hire someone to build it, then having a Facebook business page is absolutely essential. Some people will not even use Google to search for local services but will search on Facebook instead.
Make sure you create a separate page for your business, do not use your personal Facebook page. You’ll be able to list a couple of your services and your rates. Another thing you can do is add images, such as a Google map of your service area, You can also create posts relating to your business. I’m sure you are familiar with Facebook.
Here are some other obvious, and not so obvious sites:
Instagram – post photos and videos of you and your dogs.
Pinterest– look into Rich Pins, a paid account, and using Tailwind
Twitter – not the best but why not create an account
Tumblr – same as for Twitter
The next two are not technically social media sites, but you can post and reply with links to your Facebook page or website:
Quora – subscribe to pet-related sections and answer any questions with a relevant link to your site.
Reddit – you can post articles or reply to threads on pet-related subreddits here as well.
I’ll cover the ins and outs and pros and cons of all of these sites in a separate article. But for now, create your Facebook page.
5. Dog walking business website!
After creating a great business name, this should be your next goal. This is a huge topic so I’ll be writing an article on suggestions on how to build your site as well as touching on the two topics below.
You also want to get your clients to write testimonials for you. Once you get them to do that, ask them to add reviews on social media pages and review site listings. You can add the testimonials on your site and link to the reviews as well. That is huge. When potential clients see 5-star reviews on external sites, it adds to your credibility and reliability.
Your website name should be the same as your business name. Here is another reason why the first step of creating a strategic business name is so crucial. It becomes your brand.
6. Pet Related Blog
Google tends not to promote static websites. And static means websites that rarely, if ever, change. This is where a blog comes in. By posting a pet-related article on a regular basis, it shows that your site has fresh content.
The problem is that researching, writing and publishing a blog post every week takes a lot of time, unless you hire copywriters to write the content for you. I was posting a new article every week, but I have since switched to every two weeks. Keep that in mind.
7. YouTube videos
Quick videos you shoot with your phone will also help your website. You can add the videos as support of your blog articles, as well as post them on YouTube. You want to also add links to your website and blog articles in your video descriptions if you do post on Youtube.
I have not made any videos myself, but I would like to start the process. But I understand that it is also very time-consuming. You are paying either money or time to increase your online presence.
8. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
SEO is an advanced method of getting onto page 1 of Google search results. There are a lot of do’s and don’ts and it will take you a long time to handle everything that you need to do. I have a good deal of knowledge on the subject, but I am far from an expert. You should do some research on your own.
I’ll be adding links to important topics in my next article on building a website for your dog walking business.
You need an online presence for your dog walking business. My suggestions are to do all the easy things right away and take your time with the more advanced methods. Do not pick a cutesy name for your business.
Be serious and do your research and pick the best name for your geographic area. Take a look at my article How to Start a Dog Walking Business for additional ideas.