Website Design and Software Development

Credibility Checklist and Tips for a Small Business Website

When you are first starting your small business, it is hard to establish credibility. After all, you do not have years of experience and a long list of testimonials and referrals. One of the best ways you can establish instant credibility is to have a professional website built for your new small business.

If you want to establish the credibility of your business using a website, here are some things that your small business website should have.

Professional Design

One of the best ways to establish instant credibility with your small business website is for it have a professional design. This does not mean you must have an incredible, artistic design with a lot of fancy elements. A professional business web design is clean and simple. Modern standards call for use of white space, splashes of color, and a simple user interface.

Things to avoid in your design are animated graphics, too many conflicting colors, un-centered websites, and poor layout of content. Design has progressed in recent years, and many older business websites and business templates are out of style.

The good news is if you have a clean and simple website designed, you will not have to worry about it going out of style. Remember, your small business website's design is all about the presentation of your content and converting visits into sales.

Easy to Use Navigation

You should brainstorm your goals for your website before you have it built. Where do you want visitors to go once they get to your site? Ideally, site visitors should be able to find what they are looking for in one or two clicks. You site simply must be easy to navigate. Keep the main pages in the navigation menu to a minimum. You can always link out to further articles and information from within pertinent pages and via a blog. Run your website navigation past some test subjects. Watch as they navigate your site. Can they get around easily and find what they are looking for? If site visitors are frustrated and cannot get around on your small business website, they will leave. To build credibility and gain customers, make your site easy to navigate.

Write Informative Articles

Too often, small businesses put up information just because they think they should. It is good to have a bunch of information on your site, but it should all be there for a purpose. In some way, each piece of information should lead visitors closer to a sale.

Informative articles serve two purposes. First, they can be optimized to bring in search traffic for certain keywords. This is a great way to get more qualified traffic to your website. Secondly, they can be written in such a way to get users to want to buy from you.

When you have great information on your website, visitors will see that you are an expert in your field. This is a great credibility booster that will also build trust with your prospects. Educate to show your expertise, and you will gain both credibility and sales.

Professional Images and Graphics

Graphics are an important element of website design. Include pictures of your product, your employees, your customers, and more. Whenever you write an informative article for your website, add a related picture.

People are often visually oriented. High quality pictures help tell a story about your business. They show that you are professional and successful. If you have product pictures on your site that look great, you will find that people are more ready to buy from you.

Taking your own pictures or developing your own graphics is often the wrong move, unless photography is your business. Poor quality pictures and garish graphics will simply drive people away from your site. If you want credibility, and buyers, invest in a few high quality pictures and supplement them with graphics from sites like iStockPhoto or Fotolio.

Call to Action - Make It Clear What Visitors Should Do On Your Site

Nothing will wreck your credibility like a small business website that does not lead to anything. You can have a great design, good articles, and interesting graphics. But if visitors are not led to a sale, what is the point?

The thing is, site visitors need to go through a process. It starts by them finding your website, either through search engines or your own marketing efforts. Once they are there, you need to convince them as quickly as possible that your business is the right choice for them. When they are convinced, they will be looking for an easy way to buy from you.

What you need is a clear call to action, preferably on every page. Make it easy for site visitors to become buyers. Either walk them through a buying process or make it easy for them to get more information. Nothing says credibility like an easy to follow sales process on your small business website.