Think of your business website as your living room, where you greet visitors and make them feel welcome. It’s where first impressions are made. Treat visitors right, and they’ll come back again and again.
Every small business needs a website. Done well, a website helps customers find you, gives your business a sense of legitimacy and persuades visitors to use your services or buy your products. Whether you create your own website using a template service or go to a professional, there are some fundamental elements you should keep in mind for your site.
1. Be clear about who you are and what you do.
When visitors come to your site they shouldn’t have to hunt down just exactly what it is you’re offering. Make sure that, at a glance, a potential customer knows who you are, what you do or sell. Include a statement or tagline that makes all of this crystal clear.
2. Make it easy for people to contact you.
Be sure your phone number and, if you have a physical location or storefront, your address easy to find. Besides a contact page, put contact information on your home page. If you’re a plumber, for instance, put your phone number at the top of the page where it can’t be missed. Give visitors options so they can reach you via phone, email or a built-in contact form.
3. Tell visitors to contact you or to buy what you’re selling.
Include a call to action, making it clear what it is you want them to do. Using graphic elements to help it stand out, tell visitors to call for more information or a free quote, sign up for your newsletter or email notices, or take advantage of a special offer.
4. Design your site so it’s easy for visitors to navigate.
Navigation should be simple, logical and easy. If your site features a lot of pages, consider including a site map to help visitors find what they’re looking for. Include drop-downs where appropriate in the navigation menu.
5. Include customer testimonials.
Whether you devote an entire page or pepper them throughout your site, customer testimonials help validate your authenticity and quality. Statements from satisfied customers build credibility and trust.
6. Educate yourself.
Even if you decide to hire a professional web, learn the basics. Understand the fundamentals of SEO (search engine optimization) and hosting programs. Identify the current best practices for content development. Find out how to develop an effective URL and where to license it.
These days, an effective website is essential to doing business. Although it’s possible to make your own website through services and template providers like WordPress and Squarespace, you may decide to get help from someone experienced in web development, especially if you want to include e-commerce.