How to Design Your First Website for Small Business

What Questions to Consider for an Effective First Website

Local businesses, book authors and anyone with an idea or product for sale needs to have a website.

Nowadays more and more people tend to first look up information on the web. If you want your business, book or idea/product to stand out in the marketplace, you have to have an online place where potential customers can find you.

But the truth is, for people who have no website expertise, getting started having a website can be overwhelming:

  • Which website designer/programmer to hire?
  • How much will the project cost?
  • How long with the project take?
  • Does the website designer/programmer understand marketing principles?
  • Will he/she make the website effective for online marketing campaigns?
  • Will he/she make the website user-friendly?

While these questions can be paralyzing – it’s easier to do nothing than to tackle these unknowns, you’re risking losing your potential customers to local businesses, book authors, and others who do have an effective presence on the internet.

Where do you start?

First you need to get a domain name that effectively supports your business or project. Make sure that you get one that is memorable, can be spelled easily, and is a .com (people try .com first if they’re looking online for a specific website). If you get a domain name with .biz or .net, your online marketing efforts may send potential customers to your competition.

Second, you need to consider whether you want to capture the email addresses of people who come to your website and are interested in what you have to sell.

This “email opt-in box” can be a highly effective if you offer, in exchange for the person’s email address, something for free that has perceived value. This can be a report or a discount coupon or something else that is related to the reason the people came to your site in the first place.

And, yes, the placement of an email opt-in box is important. If should definitely be “above the fold” – as high up on the home page as possible. And for maximum effect the box should be on every additional page. This way, no matter on what website page people decide they want to join your email list, they can do so on that page.

The most important “real estate” of a website is the home page area first seen when a visitor comes to the site. This means that it is no longer considered effective to waste time with a cute flash intro that prevents a visitor from immediately getting to the heart of the site.

Another big negative is to waste real estate announcing in large letters “Welcome to my company site.” The most important real estate should answer the question what you are offering in information or products that makes sticking around on your website worth it.

An additional website goal is creating a relationship with potential customers. Nowadays people want to know the real people behind the website. Whose expertise or knowledge is being presented online? Thus home page pictures of company buildings are out; home page pictures of company personnel are in.

These are only some of the important considerations when starting your online presence. While even these elements may seem overwhelming, if you find a website designer/programmer who understands marketing and is willing to be guided by your website goals, you can make these elements work for you without paying a bundle for your first website.

And once that website is up, you can move on to your next project: utilizing your website as part of an ongoing marketing campaign to attract more potential customers and to convert more potential customers into buyers.

About the Author: Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller on Twitter) has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is an Internet business consultant whose company website has lots more useful advice like this. Download her free report on “The Top 3 Internet Marketing Elements” to enhance your own Internet marketing experience — download the report now from

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Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller on Twitter) has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is an Internet business consultant. She writes numerous articles and posts throughout the Internet, including for the blog at her company website . Grab her FREE report on ???How to Become a Twitter Marketing Expert??? at