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Website Content for Small Businesses: What Should Be on Your Website

Is your small business web site ineffective as it is? Or, are you taking the leap onto the world wide web for the first time? Either way, you're searching for the answer to the question, "what does an effective web site contain?" Well, there is no simple answer to this question, as I'm sure you already know. However, I can provide some steps to help you evaluate your site's purpose--knowing a web site's purpose is essential for developing effective content.

What is your site's purpose?
If you don't know what you want your web site's visitors to do once they're there, your site, more than likely, does not have a clear purpose. By answering the following questions, you should be able to narrow down your reasons for having a site:

Does or do you want your site to encourage potential customers to contact you (via e-mail, phone or contact us form)?

Does or do you want your site to offer tools or resources for visitors (calculators, forums, downloadable information, etc...)? And if so, why?

Does or do you want your site to provide information about your company? About your industry?

Does or do you want your site to sell products?

Does or do you want your site to collect information from visitors (e-mail addresses, mailing addresses)?

Once you answered each question, you can evaluate content needs.

Encouraging Contact
If you want potential customers to contact you, you must encourage them to do so. How, you ask?
-Tell them to and have your phone number on every page.
-Ask them to send you their address and phone number for more information via a sign up form. Have a link to this form on every page.
-List an e-mail address that they can send questions to. Have this information on every page.

You'll notice the "on every page" aspect of each of these options. If you want visitors to contact you, the way to do so needs to be easy to find. Your text on each page should also refer visitors to the contact option as well so they know exactly what you want them to do.

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Tools and Resources
If you have information or a forum or some other tools or resources you want your visitors to use, make sure they are aware of their existence and that people know how to use them. Different tools require different kind of promotion (for example, a forum needs to be monitored and questions and comments need to be responded to; where a tool for calculating the cost of building a deck just needs instructions and a "what to do with this information" description).

Make sure visitors know not only where these tools are, but also why they are there and how their use will benefit them. Don't just add functionality for functionality's sake...if it doesn't support your site's purpose, it shouldn't be there.

Providing Information
If you will be providing information to your visitors, make sure you have it indexed and easy to find. Adding a search form to your site is useful as well. It is also essential to not only keep adding articles to your "library" but to make sure visitors and customers are aware of the added content (perhaps via an RSS feed or an e-mail newsletter).

Selling Products
If you sell products on your site, obviously your purpose is to get people to buy the products. If a visitor goes to your site and doesn't see any products, well, obviously they won't know to buy them. Once someone arrives at your site, they should be presented with your products and be provided ample reason to buy (for example, a testimonial about the product on it's page, a quality guarantee, etc...). Your home page should also showcase different products on a regular basis and include the same incentives to buy.

Collecting Information
If the main goal of your site is to grow your mailing list (regular mail and/or e-mail) you have to provide visitors a very good reason to give you their information. Collecting information can be combined with other things, for instance, getting customers to contact you can require getting their information. Also, when you provide information, something like a special report, you may require they provide their e-mail address or other contact information. You can be a bit creative here, but remember, if what your giving isn't worth it, they won't give you their contact information.

Other Items to Include
There are a few items that I believe every small business web site should have no matter what its purpose. These are an "about us" area, a "contact us" page or information, a sitemap, a privacy policy and disclaimer page.

The "about us" page can share your small businesses story with visitors and provide a history. People generally feel more comfortable doing business with people they know, sharing your story is a way to let your visitors get to know you and your small business.

The "contact us" page should contain your company name, physical and mailing address, phone and fax numbers and at least a general e-mail address. Why, because people may want to contact you and it is frustrating if there is no way to do so. You can limit what items you provide, but I encourage you to share as much as possible.

A sitemap allows visitors an overall look at your site and its content. It is also helpful to search engines when they index your site. If your site is small, you may not need one, but they are useful.

Privacy policies and disclaimers are important for sites that collect personal information and provide informational resources. You want your visitors to know how their information is used once in your possession and you also want to make sure you are not legally liable for how people use the information you provide.

Go Forth and Fill Your Website
After all this, you may still feel like you're not sure what should be on your site--As I said, this is not a simple process. However, if you answer the questions provided and plan your site from there, you will be led to your desired outcome, an effective site for your small business. Take your time, evaluate your purpose and format your web site accordingly, your small business is worth it.

Related: Good Content - Employee Blogging

RSS Underground Featured Article Author Box

Kelly Biedny is the owner of Kleobell Creative Business (www.kleobell.com). Her areas of expertise include branding/image development, marketing communication, web development and project management.

For more valuable information on helping your small business become THE source of products or services for your customers, check out Kleobell's Resource Library.

How To Use Content To Drive 30,000 Eager Buyers To Your Site For Free

Writing article is one of the proven ways to promote your business and expertise. Whether you're just getting started or have long time experiences online it's something you must use.

Here's why, the main reason people come to internet is looking for information, if that what they want then simply give it to them.

The Main Benefit of Writing and Publishing Your Own Article

The main benefit of writing and publishing your own article is you can lift up your status as an expert in relatively small amount of times. And it's more likely for your prospect customers to buy your product since you've shown your expertise.

Not forget to mention of incoming links that will help boost your ranking up on search engine. If you do your job well, take confidence that there'll be 4 to 7 PR sites that will put your article on their site and thus drive more traffic to your actual site which means more money for you.

7 PR is the term that derives from google to measure the importance of ones web site, there's evidence that your site will be indexed around 72 hours when you get a link from relevant web site which have 6 to 7 PR. You can use google's toolbar which can be downloaded freely from google's main site to check the PR of certain web site.

The thing to remember here is make sure you write something that valuable and not just put blatant advertisement.

Where To Find Your Article Ideas

If you don't know what to write for, you can do some research through your favorite search engine just type in an appropriate terms.

Another way is you can do some research through many of "article directories" for your writing sources and write in your own words.

Or you can type in "ebook directories" and search for a topic that cater your industry. There're a lot of good stuff there.

And in recent there's a new trend called public domain name where you can use old material that has been ended the copyright. You can use it as a source for your article. Just type in "public domain" at your favorite search engine.

Paying for premium content or private label article can be the fastest solution to start your article marketing campaign. Private label article is a right to publish certain article with your name embedded as the author of the article. If you take this route just be sure to re-write the article in your own words. It'll not make sense if 1000 people publish the exactly same article with you.

The Secret to Write Your Own Article

The secret to write your own article is write in the same manner as you would talk with your best friend. Just visualize that your best friend is in front of you and she's asking you to explain some subject in your area of expertise.

What If I Don't Like To Write

Perhaps some of you just not feel comfortable writing, for that reason you can go to a place like http://elance.com and hire a ghostwriter to write for you.

Be careful when selected to whom you want to give this task. You don't want to spend hundreds of dollars just for knowing that you don't like the writer's works.

Ask them for their previous works and see whether you like their style or not. You can also ask for opinion of several people that have worked with them.

How To Expose Your Article In Front Of Thousands of People Overnight

Later after you've finished write, you can submit your article to "article directories" and "article announcement lists". This is 2 places where your article can get instant exposure to thousands of eager content searchers. Just do some research through search engine using 2 keywords above for some places you want to submit your article to.

Content searchers is the group of people that looking for useful content they can use at their web site, ezine, or weblog . Many of them do it in purpose of:

-getting income from google ad sense -getting high rank in search engine -for their newsletter's content -develop ongoing relationship through their weblog And more...

If you have some budget, to faster and exempt yourself from time-consuming tedious tasks you can use software or article submission service. Especially, because article submission service often have extended network of content publishers. Thus, assuming you use right service, you can expect to see some results in 1 week.

How To Tell People About Yourself and Your Business

Don't forget to write your signature column describing about you and your business. Signature column is column in the end of the article that the author of the article can write freely.

However from my personal experience submit article to content syndication web site ("article directories", and "article announcement lists") work only for certain topic that cater a lot of audiences, such as investment or fitness.

For more specialized topic you can search related web site and newsgroups and put the article directly to them, and use syndicated web site as an extra traffic to your site.

Related: Management Web Content - Article Content

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This article is authored by Andrew Heuw C.C.N (Certified Crazy Netrepreneur) If you want to learn more about basic to advanced internet marketing techniques that have been helped many people to become Internet Millionaire. Visit =>> http://www.emillionairesecretsexposed.com for more details

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