So what are the key elements that should be included on home-based business website?
1. People like to know who they are dealing with so it makes sense to create a friendly atmosphere on your website, so include a photograph of yourself, your name, and some details about your business background or speciality. If you have a story to tell about yourself and your business, then by all means set up an “About Me” page and link to it from your homepage. The brief intro you place on your homepage can either be in a sidebar somewhere “above the fold” (i.e. in the top part of the webpage that the visitor will see as soon as the page opens, without having to scroll down the screen), or you could incorporate it into the first paragraph of your web copy (see point 3, below).
2. Be clear about what you are offering your visitors otherwise they will quickly leave your site. You can do that by writing a clear, strong headline and placing it right at the top of your website homepage. Guide the reader into the main body of your homepage with a call to action such as “Read On For Full Details” or “Here’s How…” or something similar that will encourage the visitor to read on.
3. Write your main copy in a friendly and informative “editorial” style. Do not try to sell your visitor on your product because it won’t work. At this stage in the relationship your visitor is seeking information not a sales pitch. So avoid sales jargon, hype, technical terminology and non-communicative bureaucratic language. For example, don’t waffle on about “implementing e-commerce solutions provision for online enterprises…” Instead, say something like “my company designs and builds website stores so that small business owners can sell their goods on the Internet”.
4. Turn every feature of your business into a benefit for your potential clients. Again, you don’t need to hype this up, simply offer the benefits as part of an editorial style review or overview of your business products or services.
5. Keep your paragraphs short and to the point, and don’t be afraid to use a lot of white space.
6. Add a couple of photos or screenshots of your product or service in action if at all possible. The Internet is essentially a visual medium so photographs always add strength to website editorial.
7. Conclude your editorial with a clear call to action. Tell your visitors how they can get more information by filling in a simple form with their name and e-mail address.
8. You will need some form of auto responder service so that you can collect the names and addresses of the people who fill in the form, and build a business relationship with them via an e-mail newsletter. As well is placing this form at the end of your editorial, it is also a good idea to have a signup form somewhere above the fold. Encourage people to sign up by offering a free report related to your business niche.
9. You might want to strengthen your message by posting a video on your homepage. Video offers a good opportunity for website owners to present themselves as friendly and helpful experts in their field and nowadays it is not difficult for anybody to make an upload a video. Also, videos can easily be imported to your website from YouTube or an equivalent video sharing site simply by copying a snippet of HTML code and inserting it into your web page.
10. Last, but not least, provide your visitors with a way to contact you if they have any questions or comments to make. The more open you are to dialogue with your visitors, the more likely it is that you will get their business. If you don’t want to post your e-mail address on your website, you can easily set up a web form. If you’re web hosting service does not provide Web forms, you can use a free service such as Bravenet.com
Above all, give your website a clear purpose, and make it easy for the visitor to navigate and use a font style and size that is easy to read. Don’t add too much clutter and definitely leave out high-tech Flash introductions or anything else which will slow down the visitors access to your main message. A home-based business website that includes all of these features will be streets ahead of about 90% of the opposition – an important consideration in a highly competitive and potentially rewarding market such as the Internet.