What Should Every Small-Biz Website Have?

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Clearly, or at least, hopefully, we’re at the point in our relationship with the Internet where everyone understands that your company’s website doesn’t need to be some sort of Swiss army knife-like Amazon.com clone. It doesn’t need to do everything, nor should it try to do everything. It should specialize and educate your audience about what you do and what they can reasonably expect from you guys — and maybe also glean a bit (at least) about you and your company’s personality.

Welp, according to Small Biz Trends, there’s at least five things your website should accomplish, and I’ll add a bit to it. That site recommends: telling your story, addressing core business goals, educating, showing off your assets and also creating an experience.

Some of these are vague, especially when just being described tersely in a refer post here, but lately a lot of my friends with their own businesses have been launching their own sites to preemptively tackle a 2013 goal and I can tell you they need this advice. Particularly the first and last attribute in the aforementioned list. Too many folks treat their website as glorified brochures, as if scanning lists of the products and services available to customers will somehow incentivize them to do anything other than click onto somewhere or someone else that’ll do a much better job of connecting with them.

Because, ultimately, it isn’t about whether your site has a ton of graphics on it or social media buttons everywhere. Those help, certainly, but the sum of all these parts are to built a rapport with your customer so they will keep coming back. Think of a hummingbird flutting about from flower to flower. Imagine a cluster of flowers being your website — that’s exactly the way your users will treat your website. Find reasons or ways to make your flowers more attractive, and, well, just like in that old Kevin Costner movie, “Dances with Wolves,” if you build it, they will come. Eventually. That’s another post for another time — how to make your website more well known — but I’ll invite you to read Small Biz Trend’s post and also add this: In the spirit of relationship-building, I’d make it clear how users can stay posted on your latest — be it via a newsletter, RSS feed or whatever. All relationships need maintenance and regular contact, and you can’t expect to accomplish all that on the first visit.

David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.

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