You Are Your Website Part 1: Being Useful

What does your website say about you? If your site isn't well organized, easy to deal with, and useful, neither is your business.

What does your website say about you? If your site isn't well organized, easy to deal with, and useful, neither is your business.

you are your web siteThat's a harsh statement; but it's the risk that you take by not putting your best face forward on the web. More and more individuals and businesses are conducting their research for partners and providers exclusively online. Forget the yellow pages, a phone call or an actual trip to your office. This is the age of fast information and today, the quickest way to find a product or service provider is using the internet. A few keystrokes into your favorite search engine, and a world of possibilities are provided.

So, what do you do to separate your website for the over 8 billion indexed by Google? It's simple: Provide useful information in a straightforward manner.

Here are three tips to making your website more useful:
1. Update your content regularly.
Nothing says more about your business than showing activity. Keep market statistics current, write an industry weblog, or a running list of your achievements.

2. Incorporate site-wide search.
Make it easy to find your content. For millions of users, typing into a search box is the de facto way to navigate a website. Many small sites don't think they need search functionality; but they are limiting their usefulness for a large section of the public.

3. Offer exclusive content.
Write about your products, ideas, or services in depth and publish it exclusively on your website. Relying on 3rd party statistics and information will get you a head start; but to become the authority on your subject, publish unique articles and page content.

* Bonus Tip: Don't forget the basics!
Make contact information easy to find. Include the name of an individual contact person as well as phone, email, fax, and physical address. Better yet, include an easy to use, web based contact form as well. Giving contact information priority on your site creates an air of openness to your business.

I'm sure you've noticed the heavy focus on writing. Don't be discouraged. While not everyone is an English major or master of the press release, freelance writers and marketing specialists are available to help. Or, maybe the talent is already inside your business, with an assistant or sales representative. Offer incentives for publishing web site content that receives the most visitors. Encourage creativity and the opportunity to increase the visibility and success of your company. The rest will follow.