The other day, Stefanie wrote in asking:
I am in the process of starting my own small business, a big task where I sometimes feel that a can't see the forest due to all the trees. Could you help me to get focused? What are in your opinion the three or maybe four most important features that I should keep in mind when creating a website for my business?
Great question Stefanie,
When creating a business website, especially a service business such as yours, your top 4 components, in order of importance, should include:
- An email capture box. On the home page and close to the top, above the "fold." The most important thing you will be trying to do when going into business is to expand your reach. In order to expand your reach you need to be targeting and capturing folks who are visiting your site and are interested in what you are offering. If they hadn't stopped by they wouldn't be interested, correct? So make sure you offer some kind of incentive for them to join your "list"... something like a free consultation, a free report on the 'top secrets of great writers,' or 'titles that sell'... or a montly newsletter that offers great tips.
- Really simple navigation and compelling copy. Don't make it difficult for folks to get to the most important part of your site — how to get to know you and hire you. Make that part very obvious and simple to do. And make sure as they are scrolling around that you are using keywords — words that people would be plugging into a search engine if they were looking for your services, for you, or for your published material.
- In your case, since you are a writing consultant, you're going to need to strut your stuff, especially if you don't yet have happy clients to show off with testimonials, so a blog would be essential for your business. Show off some of your best work, and keep it coming, frequently (at least twice per week) and consistantly.
- Also in your case, as a writing consultant, I'm going to assume you have some published work yourself. Make sure to include references to and links to your work, as well as a shopping cart or link to Amazon.com so that folks can purchase whatever is still in print (if it is still in print). Voila — instant monetization of your website!
As you grow you'll want to start adding links, and getting your blog out into the social media sites and other authority sites who have big distribution, but this is all . The top 4 components above will get you launched in a big way.
Oh sorry — must add component No. 5 (!) which is huge and needs to be included from the get go, and that is some form of analytics software, like Google Analytics. You need to be able to track where your strongest (and weakest) traffic is coming from so that you can tweak as you grow.
Get Found, Get Heard, Get Crackin'!