Whipping Your Website Into Shape

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No more excuses: let’s get your small business Website whipped into shape. People who are moderately online use the Web as their first search source.

Phone books are dead trees; if your business is not online with an easy-to-find phone number, I’m clicking elsewhere.

What do your site visitors want most of all from your site?

I want a search box, plain and visible, preferably at the top of every page but definitely at the top of the homepage. If you don’t have a site search, you can get a great free search tool in phpDig but you’ll probably have to pay someone to make it work. It’s worth your money. Put it at the top of your list.

Company contact information belongs on every page, preferably in the footer. The footer area should also tell me a mailing address, a fax number and not merely supply a link to a contact page. Think: single-clicking! One click to get where you most want to go should be a navigation goal.

You can add online help to your site through volusion’s Live Chat (free edition) or through the Open Source PHP Lively at Sourceforge (the holy grail of Open Source apps to try). Of course, you have to make an employee available to respond, even if only a few visitors click the icon. Surely, someone sits at a desk during the day. Think how important they will feel!

I want to know what your company is up to and what new products you have that will benefit me. Send out an RSS feed of new information or products. If you’re not into coding, try one of several free Open Source apps to generate RSS from your Web site.

Photo by CraigPJ/duchesssa.

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