Website Tips for Small Businesses
No matter the size of your business, you will need a website to effectively advertise and market your products or services. Your website will most often be a potential client’s first impression of your business. The tips below will help you ensure that first impression is a good one.
Keep the design simple (but make it unique!). Your design should draw people’s attention to the page, but should not be overwhelming or confusing. Avoid including too much information, long paragraphs, and a cluttered design. People’s attention spans are short, so get to the point of your business and your vision.
Search Engine Optimization (“SEO”)
Speak with a website developer to ensure your website shows up first in search engines. Clear content and relevant keywords will allow search engines to find your website easily. This will boost the traffic to your website, which will hopefully lead to more customers.
Own Your Domain
Buy a straightforward, easy to remember domain name. Along with the landing page of your website, your domain name will be the first thing your potential customers see. You can get creative with a domain name, or simply make it the name of your company.
Once you decide on a domain name, you’ll need to register it. GoDaddy.com is the most popular domain registrar, but you can also use NameCheap.com. BlueHost and HostGator offer free domain names but charge for hosting services. If you already have hosting services, you can use GoDaddy or NameCheap for domain name services.
Keep It Updated!
An outdated website can give off the impression that you don’t care about your business or that you are too lazy to maintain a current website. If you list employees on your website, make sure to update it when someone joins (or leaves) your team. Keep bios of employees updated based on their achievements. Another way to update your website, and boost SEO, is with blog posts. Add a new blog post every month about a relevant topic, or interesting idea.
What’s the point of a website if your potential customers can’t easily reach you? The most effective way to do this is to create a separate “Contact” page or tab. This page will list the contact phone, email, and address, and maybe even a form for potential customers to fill out. Having a form will make it easier for someone to reach you; it takes the middle step out of the person having to send an email. All they have to do is put in their information, and it’s sent to you!
Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policies
If your website offers services and allows the customer to directly interact with your business, it’s likely you will need a set of terms and conditions. These are rules and statements that your customers must agree to before purchasing your product or service. These conditions don’t have to be complicated; they are there to ensure that everyone is on the same page, to prevent abuse within the business-customer relationship, and protect against theft of content. Make sure to include information regarding the privacy of the user’s information, as well as age restrictions and other such requirements for accounts or subscriptions.
The privacy statement should make clear how you store user’s information and your intentions for any collected data. This section must be thorough to protect yourself from any liabilities or potential lawsuits. Include a statement that reduces liability for errors in information provided with an “informational purposes only” clause. Clearly outline accepted methods of payment and your refund policy and specify your role in the return process (are shipping costs covered by you or the client?). If your business is retail-focused, include a clause stating your company’s policy late deliveries or damaged goods. If you change the provisions of the agreements, you must notify users of these changes in a clear and timely manner- failure to do so may leave you vulnerable to complaints and lawsuits.