The best small business websites are easy to use, show your corporate personality, and allow your customers and clients to find you.
While this seems like such a basic statement, how many times have you gone to a company’s website and couldn’t find the telephone number or address of the business without a lot of searching, and sometimes never?
Where Are You?
The point of having a small business website is to get business. Don’t make a potential client or customer search for your contact information, you phone number and email should be highly visible on every page of your website. If your small business has a store front, or any physical location where you want customers to come in, then this address should also be posted along with the phone number and email.
Put the contact information in the header, footer, and on the sidebar of each web page. There is nothing more frustrating for a potential customer than trying to figure out how to get a hold of you. Having easily available contact information also helps the customer feel as if you are a real business.
Who Are You?
Provide a little personality to your website. Pictures and videos can help you do this. If you have a store front or office, take a picture of it and clearly label it as your business. If you have employees, do a good group photo and post that too. If it is just you, you may want to consider having a professional head-shot done, and get the digital rights to the picture so you can post it on line. Make sure the pictures are clear, and are good shots. You don’t want to project a sloppy, out of focus corporate personality!
Often a short video will allow your customers or clients to meet you before they buy something or hire you to do something. For instance, if you are a handy-man, do a short video on a home maintenance topic…say changing the furnace filter…then make sure to give the phone number or email if they have any questions.
If an instructional video won’t work for your business, why not try a video showcasing a few happy customers? The inexpensive digital video cameras available today make this an inexpensive tool for highlighting your personality, and your business.
What Are You Selling?
Your home page should not be your blog. Blogs are great, but they don’t often highlight exactly what it is you are trying to sell. Your main web page should be a static page or something like the WP-Sticky plugin offered by WordPress found here.
This takes your blog users first to a static page that you can use to describe the business, and or your product or services, with, of course, your phone number, email, and possibly your address. Then they can click on your latest blog post.
As a small business owner you want your homepage to let people know who you are and what you are selling or the service you are offering.
Less is Very Often More
Unless your small business is promoting other companies or people, you will find that putting up two high quality articles or posts per month will get you more than Tweeting or blogging every day. This can be sales or service reminders, or articles written about something that relates to your business that customers might enjoy or get knowledge from.
Do you want your tax account to Tweet you a couple times a day, or would you rather he worked on your taxes and published a few hints or guides each month on how to save receipts or what items might be tax deductible.
Predictable is Better
Don’t get cute or creative with your website navigation. Make it easy on your customers and put the navigation where they expect to find it, at the top of the page or in a left sidebar. And home means Home, and Contact or Contact Us is much better than some clever tab labeled Ravyn’s Nest that no one understands meant this is where your contact information is located.
Keep it predictable so that clients won’t have to search for information and get frustrated with your creative mind.
Links Are Important
You obviously don’t want to advertise the competition, but a small business you know and use or that compliment your offerings is a great tool. Ask these businesses to share links, which means that you put a link and description on your site for their business, and they put one on their website for your business.
Ask For Business
So you’ve got all this information about your business or product on your website, now you need to ask the customer to click here for more information, click for contact information and ask them to contact you, or to click here to buy. You have to be clear in your own mind on what you want each customer to do once they visit your website, and then include several “calls to action” inviting them to do just that.
If you are selling something, sell it. Ask the customer to buy and provide the means for them to do so. If you are providing a service, tell the customer to call or email now for a free quote, or to set up an appointment. Invite them to contact you and they will be more inclined to do so.