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Small Business Website Basics

A nationwide survey of small business owners revealed the following:

  • 45% have websites.
  • 13% plan to get one.
  • 41% say they do not need a website.

A nationwide survey asking consumers about their shopping habits, especially pertaining to local business, revealed this:

  • 78% of consumers who use the internet research products and services online, prior to making a purchase
  • 66% of consumers strongly agreed with the following:

Businesses that have good websites are more credible, and a good website makes a business look more established.

The consumers interviewed said they are more likely to do business with a company that has a website. This means that if you are a small business owner, you need to get a website that makes your business look credible, accessible and contact worthy.

Sam Nelson, owner and founder of Website Muscle has a track record of success in coding and designing company websites.Small business owners seek him out to design and build a new site, or revamp an existing site that isn’t generating traffic or leads. He’ll work together with his clients to transform the look, feel and function of the site to make it more successful, and ultimately bring in more business. Nelson recommends laying a solid foundation for your site by including a clear, compelling call to action, intuitive navigation, and an attractive design, for starters.

Take a look at this before and after website Nelson designed for Dr Sam Armin in Orange County, CA.

before after

These basic elements are a must for all websites:

  • Quick loading
  • Good, clean design
  • A physical address (if you have one)
  • Colors that resonate with your target audience (and match your brand)
  • At least one clear and compelling call to action

If any of these are missing, a consumer will likely click off your site without ever contacting you. Nelson says its also critical to consider these three factors, when building your site: your specialty, what you want your prospects to do after they land on your site, and promoting your new site with direct mail.

You can drive traffic to your site by sending announcements or postcards that offer the first 100 visitors 25% off, or offer a free service to the first 25 people who make a purchase.

Pre-Website Thinking- 10 Areas to Consider

Before you build your website, know the following ten things about your business:

  • What your company does
  • Who your target market is (Specific age range, profession, interests, etc.) (this may require some simple market research).
  • What geographical areas you service or target
  • What contact info you want on your site
  • What problems your prospects have that your business solves
  • The benefits of your products and/or services
  • The features of your products and/or services
  • Why your business clearly beats the competition (Your differentiator)
  • Some website URLs of your competitors

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Pre Website Action Items

  • See if your business name is available as a domain for your website. Go to Go Daddy or one of the other free sites to check on name availability and options. Then choose a domain name.
  • Select about eight or so keywords. Think local. These should be terms that people use when searching for your product or service. You can research keywords for free with Google’s free keyword tool at
  • Decide on the number of pages (minimum should be home page, services/products, about, contact).
  • Develop an effective call to action. For example, “Shop TODAY to receive 30% off until midnight EST.”
  • Select authentic images (not stock ones), if possible. Studies have shown that people prefer authentic pictures over stock photos. In fact, when you have an important message to communicate, always include a compelling photo.

Seven Content Tips

If you decide to write your own content for your site, below are seven tips for developing good web content:

  • List benefits instead of features.
  • Discuss only one idea per sentence.
  • Writes short sentences (7 to 15 words) and short paragraphs (3 to 5 sentences).
  • Address the website to your customer or prospect. Write from the you viewpoint as much as possible instead of we, us or I.
  • Use bullet points, a lot of white space and under 250 words per page.
  • If ranking the page in Google is important, then most SEO experts recommend a minimum of 500 words on that page.
  • Place the most important messages at the top.

Good search engine optimization is also critical for your site. To learn more about the basics of proper SEO, read Beginners Guide to SEO.

By:Courtney Knapp
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