By Matt McWilliam

A professionally designed web site can be the anchor for a small business. A web site is where the business will communicate their products and services to the potential customer viewing the site. A small business web site doesn’t need to be any more graphically designed or functional then a web site created for any large corporation. A small business web site just needs to follow the basics to be successful.

Sometimes it’s not enough to simply have a web site with just your small business’ basic contact information and general information about the products or services you’re offering. Your website will need a lot of thought, planning and attention to details like the following.

    1. Set a goal for your website
      What is the main purpose of your website? Is it to educate your customers about a product of service or is it for lead generation? If it’s to educate your visitors on a particular product for service, and you should focus on creating educational materials such as relevant blog posts, YouTube videos, PDF documents, etc. If it’s for lead generation, you should focus on creating call to action buttons and providing easily accessible contact information.
    2. Create a privacy policy
      Privacy policies on your website are important to help your visitors understand what you’re doing with their data. Although the privacy policy is not often read by your visitors, it shows a good faith effort towards being transparent with your potential customers. You should place of a link to your privacy policy and the footer of every page of your website.
    3. Study your competition
      You should know your competition is and how they’re presenting their products and services on their website. You are competing for the same customers, so you should do your best to one up them. You should know your competitions websites like the back of your hand. You should also pay attention to how and when they update their website. Knowing this information will be helpful when updating and maintaining your website.
    4. Provide contact information that is easy to find
      Providing contact information that is easy to find is an obvious factor to creating a successful small business web site. Your phone number should be located in the top right corner of every page of the website. Your address, phone number, fax number and maybe even Email address should be found on your Contact Us page.
    5. Plan out a simple navigation structure
      Your navigation structure should be simple and to the point. You should include standard pages such as an about us page, FAQ page, contact us page, privacy policy page, site map page, and of course the products or services page.
    6. Use a trusted web hosting provider
      Using interest and web hosting provider is important to ensure 100% uptime for your website and Email. I personally recommend using a trusted providers that offer 24/7 customer support and a high amount of positive customer reviews found online.
    7. Provide useful and educational materials for your customers
      If your web site’s main purpose is to educate will provide educational materials to your visitors you should focus on creating relevant blog posts with topics that revolve around the pains such as current news events, new developments in the industry, controversial topics in the industry and new products and services. Another way to provide useful content is to post YouTube videos to your website.

Establishing your small business web site as an authoritative source in your industry will not only helped send your website apart, but will also help rank higher in search engines such as Google. Following the seven tips will help you to establish a successful small business website online.