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How This Business Owner in a Small Town Modernized His Website for Big-Time Success Every website needs these three elements to survive and thrive.

Paul Vincent Stills & Motion

Young people move away. Big competition moves in. A health crisis arises, causing lockdowns and uncertainty.

Businesses in small towns across the U.S. have been struggling to survive. But it's not all doom and gloom. Sometimes, all business owners in these small communities need is a spark of inspiration.

One person who knows this well is Matt Swank, owner of Lena's Pizza, Subs & Wings in Fredonia, N.Y. — a small village along the Lake Erie wine trail. Fredonia was struggling to regain traction and boost its economy since 2014 when a local food facility shuttered, resulting in 450 lost jobs. Swank purchased Lena's in 2018 but desperately needed to modernize the operation, not only to keep up with the times but prepare for future growth.

That's where Small Business Revolution, an original web series by Deluxe, comes in. Each season, co-hosts Amanda Brinkman (Deluxe's Chief Brand Officer) and renovation icon Ty Pennington, visit a new small town every season and spend $500,000 to help transform six small businesses. For Season 5 in Fredonia, Lena's was one of those lucky businesses.

Without a robust website or the ability to place an order online, Brinkman and Pennington enlisted the help of JJ Haywood, CEO of Minnesota-based Pizza Luce, to create more efficient operations while the team at Deluxe helped Lena's maximize its online presence and capabilities to propel this beloved pizza restaurant into a new era.

Here are three important changes that the Small Business Revolution team made to Lena's website to help the brand survive and thrive.

1. Build a website that represents your brand.

A website is often the first experience a potential customer has with your company. Your website needs to be easily discovered in search and clearly reflect your brand.

Before the Small Business Revolution team showed up, Lena's had a stripped-down website without photos, a company history, etc. In its place, a new website was designed that reflects the brand and customer experience, Lena's extensive menu, and the culture of its staff.

Lena's new website includes features such as professional, authentic photography of their actual food and employees; customer testimonials to increase trust and relatability; and an Instagram integration to provide a sense of culture and easily keep the website fresh and current. The new site also clearly presents both of Lena's locations with map links, making it easier for customers to find them and for search engines to understand. The team also optimized the website for local search by including keywords and metadata throughout the site's pages.

2. Include the appropriate bells and whistles.

It's one thing for your website to be branded and informational. It also needs to offer customers the services they need to do business with your company.

First and foremost, for Lena's, that meant adding website functionality like online ordering capabilities, knowing that many customers prefer this method over calling to place an order. For customers who do prefer to call, a clickable, easy-to-find phone number was added as well, simplifying the calling process for people viewing the site on their phones.

A "specials" section was added to the site to help drive sales for new food items. They also added gift card purchase capabilities to make it easier for customers to do business with Lena's, driving more revenue for the business.

3. Optimize listings on third-party sites.

Your site's SEO is critical for your business to be discovered in online search. Smart owners take this a step further by making sure their businesses are found on popular third-party sites, search engines, and listings, ideally creating opportunities to find new customers.

The first step for Lena's was to claim and optimize their business listings on sites like Yelp, Google My Business and TripAdvisor. From there, the Small Business Revolution team helped Lena's populate those listings with new branding and photos of food, the restaurant space, and their staff, as well as links to online ordering, making it easier for customers to do business with just one click.

In addition to photos, it was important for Lena's to incorporate the appropriate "categories" beyond pizza, including subs and wings, to capture more search traffic. Now, anyone finding Lena's on those third-party sites knows exactly what their offerings are and that, yes, they are very much open for business.

Click here to watch the full episode featuring Lena's Pizza, Subs & Wings. To watch the full fifth season of Small Business Revolution, click here.