Global internet traffic is projected to quadruple by 2015 (1), so creating a website has never been more important for small business success. Yet surprisingly, 75% of U.S. businesses still lack a website (2). For those ready to go virtual, OfficeMax and Go Daddy have teamed up to share some tips for planning and launching a business website.
And, after a little inspiration, OfficeMax is offering a great deal on a Go Daddy website bundle to get you started. Through Feb. 16, OfficeMax stores nationwide are offering $20 OFF on a Go Daddy business website bundle that includes a domain name, Premium Website Builder, search engine visibility, 999 pages, online storage and five email addresses for $159.99, regularly priced at $179.99 (3).
Five Tips for Your First Company Website from OfficeMax & Go Daddy
- Name Wisely – Choosing a name for your web address is a critical element, as it is the foundation of your online presence. Select a short, easy to spell and memorable name that clearly reflects your business, products and/or services. If your ideal domain name is already taken, don’t panic. Try adding a transition or generic word like “the” or “company,” consider a different top level domain (e.g. .net, .org or .info) or backorder the domain name in case the current owner does not renew.
- Make a First Impression – Create your website with the end-user in mind. Make it visually pleasing and easy to find information and navigate the site, since most users only spend 10-20 seconds (4) on a page. Categorize your web pages by topic and provide clear and logical navigation with a toolbar that runs horizontally or vertically on each page. Use language that is direct and easy to understand and reinforces your company mission and values. While it may look creative or exciting, try not to go overboard with animation, videos or other special effects, as it can increase the load time of your site and be distracting, which may deter visitors. Your website may be the only interaction a customer has with your company, so make the visit useful and worthwhile.
- Be Accessible – Provide opportunities for potential customers to contact you without jumping through hoops by posting contact information on the main page of your site. Surprising, 60% (5) of small business websites do not include a phone number on their homepages. While there are likely multiple ways to reach you from email to fax or Twitter, focus on contact methods that you want people to use and ones you monitor regularly. When it comes to your email, share one that you use for public inquiries, as it’s possible spammers will find it, and keep your personal email addresses separate.
- Go Mobile – With more than 44% (6) of U.S. consumers using smartphones to shop and research, make sure your website is also configured and optimized for mobile use. A whopping 93% (7) of small business websites are not mobile friendly, which can result in lost business. If you find consumers visiting your site frequently from mobile devices, consider creating a mobile app for your business to better serve these customers.
- Optimize It – Drive traffic to your site through Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Search engines use algorithms to determine when and where your website comes up in search results. Major factors that improve SEO include the frequency and prevalence of keywords on your site and “tagging” select terms. SEO can be a rigorous process, so engage an expert or use a step-by-step website builder to help increase your website visibility.
1 Cisco Visual Networking Index Report, February 2012
2 US Census Bureau, May 2012
3 Website bundle pricing available in-store only in the continental U.S. After the initial purchase term, discounted products will renew at the then current renewal list price.
4 Nielsen Norman Group, Sept. 2011
5 SMB DigitalScape, April 2012
6 NielsenWire, January 2013
7 SMB DigitalScape, May 2012