Web-Site Savvy for Small Business Owners
17 Rules for Helping Your Web-Site Bring in More Clients
Home-based business owners don’t have an inordinate amount of time or money to dedicate to hosting, building or maintaining a website. But you should note that the internet plays a part in the daily routine of 88% of Americans, and of those, 92% indicate that it’s a good place for information.
As a home-based business owner, you know that the majority of the decision-makers regarding your product or service are women, and a March 2004 Nielson/NetRanking & Washintonpost.com survey found that “60% of working women using the internet at work do so because they feel that there is not enough time for personal activities and issues in their lives. 63% of those women would definitely include the internet in a marketing campaign geared toward their demographic.”
On-line usage is not just for city-dwellers either, 52% of the residents of rural areas are on-line too! (PewInternet, American Life Project, February 2004).
As a home-based business owner, you must not overlook the power of your web-page as a key part of your marketing plan.
You can build your web-site yourself (there are lots of ‘turn-key’ options available by searching the internet) or hire a professional (again, searching the web will provide thousands of options for high-quality and cost-attractive designers).
No matter what you decide to do, here are 17 rules for making sure your home-based business web-site stands out, provides your customers what they need to know and makes it easy for them to do business with you.
1.Define and target your particular audience. Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Write each page for your ‘perfect reader’ and don’t sway from that target.
2.Forget the bells and whistles. Internet users have all kinds of browsers and many are not impressed by the fancy animations and sounds you may think are cute. Keep to the facts and pertinent information about the particular service you provide.
3. Use one page for one topic. Don’t try to cram everything you know about your industry on the same page as your rates and billing policies.
4.On the web, remember the mantra, “Less is More.” Ask yourself constantly can you say what you need to with fewer words and pictures?
5. Check your spelling and grammar. If this is not your strong suit, hire someone to provide this service. If your spelling and grammar are not up-to-par, visitors to your site will either think your business is a ‘fake’ or they will believe that you do not pay attention to detail.
6.Make sure your website is easy to read. Use headings and sub-headings. Keep your sentences short. Use bullets and lists to make important points. Set apart important text by bolding or using a different color.
7. Make it easy for your potential clients to reach you. Have a link on every page to your e-mail address and include your phone number on every page.
8. Ensure that you home page makes it abundantly clear who you are and what you do. Don’t make them guess.
9.Use terms like YOU and YOUR rather than terms like WE and US. Your potential clients want to know what benefits you can provide to them. Make them feel how you can solve their unique problems.
10.Do your potential clients know what to do next in order to buy from you? Give them all the information they need to take the next step.
11.Check all your links. Dead links can turn off a client fast. If you are providing links to useful information, make sure they can get there! If in doubt, leave it out.
12.Choose your graphics wisely. Too many graphics distract from your message. Most clip-art graphics look tacky and take away from your business message. If you’ve seen the graphic before, they have too, likely several hundred times and they won’t remember if it was your company or someone else’s.
13. Write conversationally. Make sure the tone of your web-site sounds like you. This is especially important for a sole-proprietor who is selling their unique brand of personal care and attention to the customer.
14. Choose your colors wisely. Bright vibrant colors are terrific, but use them sparingly in borders or to highlight sections. Don’t use busy patterns behind your main text and don’t use background colors that clash with your text color. In most instances simple black text on white background for your key pages is usually easiest to read.
15. Maintain consistency. Make sure your website look likes it belongs together. Have similar fonts and layouts on every page.
16. Avoid using all caps.
17. Keep it vibrant. Don’t just build your site and leave it. In order to keep people coming back your site must provide useful information that is not stagnant. Schedule an appointment with yourself at least once a month to update your site.
Successful home-based business owners have identified their web-site as one of their top marketing tools. Make sure that you are getting the most out of your web-presence to ensure continued business success.