What should a small business website look like?

Here's a small sign on a country road.  Your website needs to be much more than this

A small business website should be more than a small sandwich board hung near an out-of-the-way country road. There are a few features that will surely enliven your web site and allow your customers to interact with you in an efficient manner:

  • Your telephone number. Make sure that your business telephone number is prominently displayed. Don’t make visitors look for it, because they won’t; they’ll just move on to the next website – your competitors.
  • A contact form. Use a contact form instead of an email address. Email addresses on websites draw email spammers, and you don’t need any more spam email. Instead use a contact form. Collect only the information you really need such as an email address and their name. Don’t collect physical addresses unless you’re going to snail mail them something.
  • Your privacy statement. Let people know exactly what you will and won’t do with any personal information you collect. If you’re committed to not selling this info, say so. If you may use their email address yourself, to follow-up or send regular newsletters, say so.
  • Thee security of your site. If you have an ecommerce site, you should use SSL, and you may have the security of your site audited. If so display the security badge you pay for, it reassures your customers that you consider their security, and take precautions to safeguard it.
  • Testimonials. If you’re in business I hope there is someone who says nice things about you. If so, use them on your website. If not get out of business
  • An “About Us” page. Let your customers know who you are, where you are, and even what you believe. It reassures them that you’re not a fly-by-night operation.