September 1, 2010
Although business owners and marketer’s are coming to recognize the importance of having a website for their business, how those websites are being designed and built is still very much a problem. In most cases, a website that replicates an online brochure is what most businesses have. The result thereof is ultimately a poor return on investment for the (often large amounts of) money they have spent on the site. Here are five essential elements that every business website should have.
Having hundreds or thousands of visitors to your website every month is no use if you are only capturing the details of a small percentage of them from people who actually inquire. What you need is a sign-up form that offers a freebie (a free report of interest to your visitors), a newsletter or something similar. This way, you are able to capture the details (name and email address) of the visitors to your site, as well as build your list of prospects.
Highly Visible Contact Details
The purpose of your a small business website is generally to encourage inquiries, which will ultimately lead to sales. It is therefore essential that your website has your company’s contact details clearly displayed on every page. Ideally, you should place the contact details in the header, or in the top right area of the page. Also, try to provide as many contact formats (telephone, fax, email, Skype) as possible.
Dedicated Sales Pages
This one is a little tricky, depending on your business. Ideally, you should try to have a separate page for each product/service, or group of products/services. This allows you to focus on marketing each product or service’s benefits, features, and so forth to its specific target market. It also gives you the freedom to provide extensive information on each product or service, as opposed to merely providing a product name or model number. Furthermore, this additional content assists in terms of search engine optimization (SEO).
Why should anyone who visits your website trust what you have to say about yourself? You are, after all, trying to sell yourself online. It is therefore always wise to feature testimonials on each sales or product page. Ideally, you want to place testimonials about each product or service on their respective page. I usually recommend placing them down the right-hand side column of your page, but it all depends on your layout.
You may think that blogging is some weird, new age concept that only the “arty” and creative people of this world indulge in – you’re wrong. Setting up a blog allows you to write about anything related to your business, for example: new products or services, events, how-to’s, insights and opinions. Be sure to feature a “subscribe” option on your blog, so that you can build that database of prospects as well. Blogging also assists from an SEO perspective, by continuously adding fresh, original content to your website, which Google loves.
As an added bonus to these five essentials, I always recommend using an analytics or tracking program, such as Google Analytics (which is free), to track the goings-on of your website and assess how much and where your traffic (visitors) is coming from. As with anything, commit to learning about the topic, in this case, internet marketing, and keep an eye out for new trends that may benefit your business’ website.
Derek Jansen is an SEO consultant and educator – Sign up for the Free SEO Course @ www.SEOBasicsCourse.com today.