There was an era when introducing my small business to someone for the first time, I was always asked for my business card. Times have changed and now, when I mention my company, the question inevitably posed is, “Do you have a website?” Nowadays, I find it’s quite rare for a small business owner to not have a website.
There is no need to feel overwhelmed if you don’t have one. Technology has also adapted to the times, and it’s no longer a huge expense to own a piece of real estate in virtual space.
The first step is to decide the purpose for your website. For example, it can start out as a glorified online business card with your contact information and a little about your company. Add on a few more pages, and you’ll have site that provides valuable information for your customers.
Now you can begin to promote and sell your products. You’ll need marketing language, product descriptions and a way for people to buy the products from the website. It’s really that simple.
Choose a design for your website that represents the message you wish to convey. Templates are inexpensive to purchase and can be customized with your own photographs and graphics. Don’t confuse your visitors by making it look crowded.
The navigation tabs that allow them to move around the site should be obvious and identical on each page. The most important information should be available from every point. For example, if you have an online store, your visitors should be able to immediately link to the store regardless of where they are on the site. Include a Site Map that allows them to see everything available.
Be very generous on your “About Us” page. Provide plenty of friendly information and pictures that help your visitors begin to develop a sense of knowing you. Remember that “people buy from people they know, like and trust.”
It’s a good idea to add an email capture field and/or a “Contact Us” form where visitors give their contact information. This is how you create a “warm” list for leads. You can follow up by contacting them by phone or by including them in your email updates.
Search engine optimize your website to make it show up in the search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo for keywords specific to your business. Potentially, there are thousands of other companies selling similar products to yours, and you want your website to show up on the first page for a keyword search.
The beauty of a website for a small business is it puts you on a level playing field with the “big dogs.” Your company can be very small, but your web presence can be enormous. It gives you the opportunity to do business around the globe without ever having to leave home!