Small Business Website Design and Hosting Essentials

Everybody knows their small business needs a web presence today. But what are the essentials? What style site do you need? What about SEO and SMM and CMS and other acronyms? Here is a simple Top Ten list of website requirements for success today:

  1. A clear, concise description of your business: You need to grab your visitor in the first 2 or 3 seconds. Be Clear, Concise and Compelling.
  2. A simple, easy-to-remember and easy-to-type web domain: ideally, a .com URL omitting hyphens and unusual spellings if possible as these are stumbling blocks to potential visitors.
  3. Easy to follow navigation: an navigation scheme with top level sections and sub-sections as needed, typically a navigation bar at the top with your main sections and dropdowns for your sub-sections.
  4. Contact Info! Make it easy for folks to contact you with contact info in the footer and a contact us page with phone, email, physical address, and any other pertinent information. Set your email to your domain so potential customers can easily remember it and associate it with you (example: me@mydomain.com rather than me@gmail.com).
  5. Fresh, high quality content: keep your site updated regularly so it’s always fresh; a blog can help immensely in keeping fresh content on the homepage.
  6. Attention-grabbing design fitting your subject area: a tourism site, for instance, should feature photo galleries of key destinations, a photographer’s site a rich gallery of sample work, and a manufacturer’s site aiming at online sales product info, photos, and easy way to purchase
  7. Reliable, secure hosting: it’s easy to get web hosting for $10 or less per month these days, but how reliable is the host? how readily available to service your needs? how flexible in their offerings? I offer my clients a hosting plus support package tailored to their needs, so that they have guaranteed time each month for their special requirements at a reduced rate.
  8. SEO (Search Engine Optimization): website elements that help drive search engines to find your site, including keywords, alt and title tags, inbound links, and social media.
  9. SMM (Social Media Marketing) or just “Social”: your social media connections, from Facebook to Twitter and LinkedIn to Tumblr.
  10. CMS (Content Management System): you need a CMS that facilitates easy and flexible site maintenance, whether you edit the site yourself, have a webmaster or even team to manage the site, or a combination. There are many platforms available today, but the most versatile and simple to use for a small business is a WordPress site.

I will address these issues in more detail future posts.

This entry was posted in Blogging for Business, Branding, Business, Social Media for Business, Web, Web Design, Web Hosting, WordPress for Business by Ernie. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ernie

Ernie Black is a web developer, writer, photographer, and owner of Standing Stone Designs, Inc., a web design, production and hosting business located in Marlborough, MA and serving clients worldwide. Ernie has served as Webmaster for the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce since 2001, providing design, web maintenance, and support for the Chamber. Standing Stone Designs' other clients include Telefunken Elektroakustik, Downtown Chiropractic, ProSoundWeb.com, Charlie Zahm, the Law Offices of Barry R. Lewis, and Attleboro Dermatology. Prior to incorporating Standing Stone Designs, he served as Webmaster at Idiom Technology, Inc. and Applix, Inc.. Armed with an MA in English and Creative Writing, Ernest has taught English and Humanities at Fisher College, Suomi College, and Colorado State University. He has published articles on Web development and Web metrics as well as fiction, poetry, and articles on Eastern philosophy.

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