By Andrea Rowland, GoDaddy
Let’s say you own a bakery and you’ve got website for your small business. To you, it might be most important to showcase your amazing triple chocolate cupcakes. After all, you worked hard to make them and stage them just so for a recent photo shoot. Why not fill your website’s home page with enough photos of chocolate cupcakes to satisfy a chocoholic’s craving just by looking at your site?
Your customers, on the other hand, might just want your phone number — which is now buried beneath all those delicious images.
To be successful online, your small business website must have these 10 things:
- A great domain name. You need a domain name that shows who you are and what you do at a glance. It’s got to be easy to remember and type into a browser. With the availability of hundreds of new domain extensions, it’s never been easier to get just the right domain. To learn more, check out some strategies for registering a domain.
- Your phone number. It should be highly visible on your front page and, if it’s a primary mode of contact for your business, you also should include it on interior web pages. If you don’t offer phone consultation or support, make sure people know how to reach you.
- Your address. If you have a physical address, list it right next to your phone number on the home page.
- Your hours of operation. Customers want to know when you’re open (if you have a brick-and-mortar store), so make sure you make it simple for them to find out by including your operating hours on your home page.
- An email address. Sometimes, people don’t want to pick up the phone. Make sure they can reach you via email. Using a free email address that doesn’t include your domain name? Perhaps you should reconsider.
- What you do. If you’re a bakery, this can be incredibly simple. If you work in a niche legal market, spell it out for visitors because if someone’s not sure, they could take their business elsewhere. Include a succinct description of what you do on your home page and more in-depth information on your products and services page.
- Who you are. People connect with people — that’s why social media is so popular (more on that to follow). Make sure your website says something about the people behind the website, preferably on a dedicated About Us page.
- Clear navigation. If visitors to your website can’t easily move from one page to another, they aren’t likely to stick around for long. Read more about navigation for your website here.
- Easy-to-read content. While it might seem like swapping links with other sites or creating a lot of advertising space is a good idea, if it makes your website hard to read or navigate, you’re working against yourself. You don’t need to be a professional writer to create strong website copy, but you should do a bit of planning in advance.
- Compelling visuals. Well-executed (i.e. sharp and well-lit) photos and videos can help turn browsers into buyers. They play an important role in telling your business’s story, and make a website more enjoyable to view. You can even create them yourself with your smartphone.
Just like owning a small business, creating and maintaining a successful website is an ongoing process of love and labor. But if you nail these 10 content basics, you’ll be well on your way to a website that’s as sweet as the icing on those triple chocolate cupcakes.
About the Author:
A former small business owner and newspaper journalist, and a published nonfiction author, Andrea Rowland helps craft compelling communications for today’s go-getters through her work as a copy editor at GoDaddy. Connect with Andrea on Google+. The world’s largest domain name registrar and Web hosting provider, GoDaddy gives small business owners the tools to name their idea, build a beautiful online presence, attract customers and manage their business. To get more tips for your small business—including articles, videos and webinars—check out the GoDaddy Training Hub.