Google Maps / Google +
Start by googling your own business name and make sure you’ve been found by Google. Make sure that your business listing is actually on Google’s map system, not just a standard website listing. Spend the time and fill out all of the information: hours, contact information… you can even move the pointer on the map if Google’s got your listing at the wrong intersection.
Any current iPhone or iPad using Apple’s built-in Map software will tap into Yelp’s database for hour & location information.
Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, etc.
If you’ve still got time, look into creating pages on Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare. Again, these are all free sites that even if all you have time to do is set up a page and enter your contact information, that’s better than nothing. It’ll give people the chance to find you on any of these sites, plus it keeps a competitor from creating a page using the same name. These pages show up in search results (in addition to your actual website).
You’re saying: "I don’t want to do this: can’t people post negative reviews about my business?"
Yes, they can. Even if you don’t create these pages yourself, they can still post reviews. By creating pages and establishing your presence online, you’re giving yourself the ability to react and respond.
Some businesses will have the opportunity to actually converse with their customers using these sites. A good example of how to “persuade” your customers to interact with your business online I’ve seen is a bar that extended happy hour if you “check in” on Foursquare or Facebook. You’re not allowed to bribe customers into writing positive reviews for you so clever ideas are essential.
I am a web developer / designer for hire, contact me today for a no-obligation consultation.
Tip: You can now hire us to manage your online presence.