Is Your Small Business Web Site a Plus or a Bust?
T his article is provided by the NEPA SCORE chapter.
Today, the importance of business cards and brochures are just as important as having a company Web site. Web sites provide a simple and easily accessible source of information about your business’s products and services. In fact, they are commonly the centerfold of many companies’ marketing programs.But image is certainly not everything when it comes to setting up and maintaining a successful Web site for your business. As consumers have become more comfortable with online shopping, their expectations about a Web site’s informational value and functionality have increased as well. Small businesses that don’t deliver higher levels of Web sophistication risk being left behind.
A good starting point is avoiding errors that often doom Web sites to mediocrity. It’s not a matter of making your site complicated. Today, the “less is more” axiom applies and often spells the difference between a Web site that delivers for your small business, and one that doesn’t.
Don’t neglect your site. If you want the Internet to help build your business, make your Web site a top priority in your daily operations. If your products, services, prices, location, hours, contact information and marketing messages change, make the updates immediately. Outdated information frustrates customers. Place your contact information in a prominent location. Many potential customers visit Web sites merely for basic contact details.
Flashing images, scrolling text and blinking buttons may have seemed clever and high-tech when first introduced, but now they are simply annoying. Dump them in favor of graphics that enhance your site’s usability and professional image. Avoid the temptation of cute bells and whistles. Make a fast-loading site a top priority.
Don’t assume that is performing the way you want or expect it to. Usage and activity can help you make adjustments to meet your customers’ needs and expectations. Sources such as WebTrends.com and SiteCatalyst.com offer simple, inexpensive tools for tracking activity and identifying areas in need of improvement.
For additional planning help for your small business, contact SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business.” SCORE is a nonprofit organization of more than 10,500 volunteer business counselors who provide free, confidential business counseling and training workshops to small business owners. Call (570) 851.1608 or visit www.nepascore.org to contact the NEPA SCORE office.