If you want to be taken seriously, particularly in the online arena, your website must have a professional look and feel. A professional-looking website will lend you credibility and legitimacy, and it will make your visitor feel more confident in you, your products, and your services.
Whether you have a designer or you go the DIY route, you want to make sure that you add the following to make your website reflect the professionalism of your business.
1. Have a dedicated domain for your website and your email.
2. Have a wonderful logo.
This is important because it helps increase your credibility and makes you seem more real in the online world. It will also make you feel more legitimate to have a tangible object attached to your business.
3. Make your contact info prominent and include a physical location.
People want to know that they can contact you if they need to, and they don’t want to have to search for this information, so don’t hide it. Include your email, phone number, and physical location at the bottom of every page, and include an email address link at the top of every page as well (incorporating it into your logo can work nicely).
By law, any email marketing you do (e-zines or other broadcasts) must have a physical address displayed within it. Don’t use your home address or a PO Box if you can help it. Rent a mailbox from your local UPS store for about $12 a month and use “Suite” instead of PO Box.
4. KISS – Keep It Simply Sophisticated.
By this I mean, keep your site clean and elegant. No flashing things, no annoying animated graphics, please. Give people the information they came for with simple navigation and easy to read text.
5. Have an opt-in form for your freebie offering.
Whether you have this on your site or not really doesn’t make you look more or less professional, BUT – and this is a big BUT – you must capture people when they visit your site if you want to be able to SHOW them (through your e-zine or another freebie offering) that you are a professional and that you do know what you’re doing. Nothing will make your visitors come to know you faster and learn to like and trust you than you continuing to “speak” to them.
Create a simple opt-in script and add it ‘above the fold’ on your website. Most hosting companies have these scripts available to you, or you can search online for a free script to enter into the code on your website.
Are there sites that you visit often, just to see what that person or company is up to? Well, the same goes for your website. If your visitors like your site, they will come back over and over again to see what YOU are up to. And isn’t that what you want?