Looking for advice on designing the perfect business website? It is easy to find plenty of it online that walks entrepreneurs through the website creation process for a small amount of money. In fact, Forbes recently ran an article on creating a basic, professional website for approximately $100.
The low cost reflects the fact there now exists a plethora of software companies offering do-it-yourself website programs. The programs take the entrepreneur through the process step-by-step. Depending on the stage of business development, the website might be setup up before, during or after business plan development. However, it may be easy to create a website, but how does the business create an effective website that makes a good impression?
Take the Website Up a Few Notches
Following are some of the essentials for creating a professional business website. These are the not-so-obvious suggestions to take the website up a few notches.
• Domain Name – The domain name should be as close as possible to the business name so it is easy for people to recall. Making it easy for internet users to associate the domain name with the name of the business increases the likelihood the user will land on the right webpage. If the desired domain name is taken, try adding another word to the name of the business. Once again the word needs to be something customers would associate with the business. Any or all of the words in the website address should act like keywords for SEO optimization.
• Contact Us – Want to make and keep a connection open between the business and potential or current customers? Adding a “Contact Us” webpage on the website gives visitors a sense of confidence that your company wants to be available to answer questions, deal with issues that arise, or just chat about products and services. There needs to be multiple contact options that include a contact form, email, or phone. Make it easy for the customer to get in touch, and be sure to respond when anyone does.
• About Us – Add an “About Us” page. It is remarkable how this page, even if brief, conveys a sense of business pride. It shouts, “Hey! We are proud of our business, and want you to know all about us.” The page can discuss the company history (briefly), give an overview of its primary purpose, and/or describe its mission and success.”
• Network, Network, Network – There are so many ways to drive visitors to a website, but one of the most practical and successful ways is through social media. Networking is now mandatory for any business that plans on succeeding online. The social media sites will contain links to the website and the website will contact links to the social media sites. There are companies like Alexa (an Amazon.com company) tracking the most visited websites.
Browsing the top 500 websites reveals social media sites rule. In the top 10 are Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter. The next 10 most popular websites include Linkedin and Blogspot. Keep reading and there is Tumblr, Instagram, WordPress, and Pinterest.
Here is an essential piece of advice: Only join social media sites that your business can regularly maintain. Visitors who land on a social media site, including a blog site, and find the last entry was many months ago, is not going to be impressed. Blog sites are included with social media because most of them today give people the option of leaving a comment that others can read and the business can respond to, while also getting new contact information.
• Thoughtfulness – A website that is poorly designed or does not work properly will scare people away. If it is poorly arranged, is too difficult to maneuver through, or has links that don’t work is not going to have success. There are simply too many options today. The hosting company or website building software determines the Content Management System used to set up the website with webpages, images, and blog posts. The arrangement and flow of the website should be logical and seamless. When someone needs certain information, it should be there right before the visitor’s eyes.
• Don’t Be Annoying – Don’t create a website that satisfies the business owner but leaves the targeted webpage visitors out in the cold. For example, a video that auto-plays may seem like a great marketing strategy, but it is likely to annoy website visitors. Other annoying website characteristics include failure to develop a website that is compatible with mobile technology; pop-ups that interfere with what the visitor is reading; using font types, sizes, and colors that make reading difficult, and so on.
Just like the business plan development process, a website needs to pay attention to the process of design. This discussion mentions some of the essentials to keep in mind. It is easy today to slap up a website thanks to the available software. However, the formula is pretty simple. Put some thought and effort into the website, and the returns in the form of new and returning visitors is sure to be high.
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