Small Business Home Web Page Design and Content Tips

There is no magic formula for what amount and what type of content to place on your home page. Generally, minimize clutter – yet you want to communicate the benefits of your product(s) and/or service(s) quickly.

I’ve changed and tweaked the home pages for my small business websites many times (and continue testing).

The following are some guidelines I’ve found worked well for conversion – DEPENDING on the scope of your business.

What do I mean by scope of your business?

Your home page content will vary depending on how many products and/or services you offer. If you offer one service, then you can easily set out the key benefits of your service on the home page. If you offer many services and/or products, then your home page should communicate your business’ attributes with clear links to your various products and services pages.

Example 1:

Law firm with 6 practice areas (i.e. personal injury, family law, wills and estates, business, real estate, and corporate/commercial litigation).

Large law firms are a good example for a business that offers a diverse set of services. A firm with 6 diverse practice areas is serving a very diverse clientele. The personal injury client is much different than the corporate client. It’s not possible for a law firm to set out the benefits of each type of service on its home page without the home page being cluttered with too much information.

What should the firm do? They have 3 options:

  1. Create separate websites for each practice area (this is what I do for my small business where I offer 3 distinct services); or
  2. Set out clear navigation options for visitors to click into the legal service they are looking for, or
  3. Do both 1 and 2 (I don’t do both – I explain why below).

Option 1:

This is not for every business, but is a viable option. The key is determining whether you serve distinct customers. If you do, then you might consider separate websites for each service (or batch of services).

Option 2:

The firm’s home page should focus on the merits of the firm with accolades, media recognition, testimonials, number of years in business, and of course brief descriptions of the all the legal services offered with links to the individual legal services pages.

Then each individual legal service page must clearly explain how the firm serves the client. You want your business to always clearly explain how your services/products help your customer. Don’t assume they’ll figure it out. For instance, I offer a free consultation for one of my services.

I have a full page explaining this with a link in my main menu. Yet, many customers who call me ask if they have to pay for a consultation. Repeat your benefits throughout your site.

Another useful technique, especially if you offer services, is explaining the entire service process the customer can expect. This is a good way to communicate all the work you do and all the benefits your customer will enjoy.

Option 3:

You can create separate sites as well as one flagship site for all your products and services. I don’t do this because I don’t want to confuse my customers.

I offer 3 distinct services. I want my prospective customers to land on the sites that are designed specifically for them. I actually tested this. My second website set out all my services and the conversion was much lower than now. I also find when my sites are dedicated to each service, it’s easier to rank well for those sites in the search engines (due to domain name selection and focused content).

However, if you offer related services or products (or your company name is extremely well-branded), then a central flagship site may be the best approach.

How to decide: Test all options just as I did. Actually, I didn’t set out to test – I just built a flagship site, was disappointed with conversion, so decided dedicated websites by service area would be best. I was right.

Other small business home web page design and content ideas

1. Testimonials from past satisfied customers

Of course have a full testimonial page, but also place snippets of the testimonials throughout your home page (I place them in the sidebar which appears on every page of my websites).

2. Contact form

When I added a contact form to my home page (at the top in the sidebar), my number of contact inquiries at least tripled.

3. Your photo if applicable

Another feature that I believe improved my conversion was adding a small photograph of me on every page in the site, including the home page with a welcome message.

4. Easy-to-follow navigation

Make it very easy for your visitors to navigate your website. Check out other websites as a user and see what you find is a good navigation set up and what doesn’t work. I place links to my most important pages in the top horizontal navigation menu. I often provide more than one link to key pages.

5. Images

Images work – especially for home pages. This is why I like the slider / slideshow style home page. It’s visually pleasing. I like a mix of images and text. Too many images dilutes the effectiveness. I buy images at iStockPhoto. You can get great photos for $1 to $10.

6. Video

I haven’t gone big time into video, so I resorted to buying a professionally created set of videos that offer great information for my website visitors. I went against the tide and placed my videos toward the bottom of my home page. I know many high-converting websites place videos front-and-center at the top of the home page. Again, try both layouts and test.

Don’t put up lousy videos. If your videos look and sound bad, it could actually hurt your conversion. Either learn to create great videos or hire someone to do it.

7. Media coverage and accolades

If your business has had the good fortune of being featured in the media, be sure to feature that coverage on your home page. You could place the logos of the media outlets that featured you. Or simply set it out in regular text.

I’m talking about all media – newspapers, radio, TV, other websites. My partner was recently interviewed by a prominent radio station. I asked and received the audio of that interview. I got it transcribed and then uploaded the audio interview to my site with the transcription underneath. I place an image of my partner on the page to place a face to the voice.

The same goes for accolades and/or awards your company receives. Be sure to display it prominently.

8. Speaking engagements / presentations

If you’ve presented at industry seminars, be sure to feature this on your home page (and elsewhere in your sites). If you can, publish on your websites the information your presented.

9. Published Works

If you’ve been published anywhere, include that information on your websites.

How to beef up your authority?

In addition to the above-listed techniques, a super easy way to beef up your and/or your business’ credibility is to set up and teach a free seminar for your customers.

Try to arrange it at a local university or college. Once you teach the course, whether a one-night seminar or multi-day event, you can feature yourself as teacher of that course/seminar. Also, if you booked your seminar/course at a local school, then you can say you taught XYZ course at ABC school.

Other methods include getting published, doing interviews, and presenting at seminars.

Top 8 Home Based Business Opportunities For Women

As a woman there are more reasons for you than most men to start your own home-based business. A combination of corporate prejudice and the demands of raising a family are all key factors in most women’s decision to call it a day in the corporate rat race and try their entrepreneurial hand at working from home.

And because women are that bit more creative than guys you’ll find that you’re also far more suited to a wider variety of home based businesses than most men.

So what we’re going to take a look at here is a mix of both traditional home-based jobs and also the best home based businesses for women. At least that way you’re getting a balanced look at all the options that are available to you and will also help if you’re a tiny bit technophobic! And ideally at the end you’ll have made a choice from our selection of the best home based businesses for women.

1. Life Coaching

With such low overheads the option of Life Coaching is a great choice for women who are drawn to helping others improve their lives. There are many accredited coaching courses available and most are online distance learning courses with only limited face time required. The challenge, like most businesses is to find regular clients to keep the practice going strong which is why most coaches soon realise that marketing is a huge aspect to running a successful practice.

2. Home Baking

OK this might sound a little bit 1950s for your “taste”, but there’s a huge demand for home-baked cookies, cakes and muffins and I personally know women who have built a full-time business from just baking muffins from home. The reality is home baked cookies always; always taste better than the store bought ones. If you’re ever-so-handy in the kitchen then this is one might be worth considering.

3. Dog Walking or Dog Sitting

Again because most people are either busy going to or coming from work dogs aren’t getting walked nearly as often as they should be. And you have dog owners who hate the idea of their pooches being stuck at home on their own all day. A dog sitter can charge $80 or more to make house visits to a client’s dog or if you’re dog sitting at home around $25 per day is about average. You get 4 dogs per day that’s $500 per week – that’s better than no cash right?

4. Adult Novelty Toy Parties

Ok, before you get all hot and flustered, or perhaps a little offended it’s worth mentioning this option because there is a booming trade in house parties where adult novelty toys and costumes are sold. The idea here is that you create a party atmosphere by playing harmless games to set the stage for selling more risqué items later on. I won’t go into any more detail here – but I’m sure you get the idea.

5. CafePress

Now here’s one that most people have never considered. Have you got some cute or funny pet pictures that your friends love? Or how about some holiday snaps that people admire? Or are you just a natural for coming up with funny phrases? In that case you can take your skills and create a free CaféPress store and upload your digital images or funny catch phrases and have them printed onto t-shirts, mugs, beer coasters etc. that are then drop shipped to customers who like your designs and you get paid a share of the sale price!

6. Etsy.com

Are you an arty crafty type of person? Can you draw, sculpt, paint, stitch, sew, crochet, dye or make knitted goods or handmade jewelry? If you’re even remotely artistic then Etsy.com is the perfect place to sell your wares. Think of them like the EBay of arts and crafts and there are plenty of stay-at-home moms who are making a full time living from selling their arts and craft goods on Etsy.com

7. MLM

The multi-level marketing model has been around a long time and there are many companies to choose from that sell every product you can think of. It really comes down to choosing a company that has great integrity, loads of support and training and leadership that can help you and mentor you as you grow your business. People don’t buy product, they buy people so don’t fall for the line ‘our products are the best and sell them selves’ line. This is simply not true. When considering an MLM company look past the products and look for the quality and longevity of people involved in the opportunity and make your mind up from there.

8. Affiliate Marketing

And last, but by no means least, we have affiliate marketing. This is often referred to as the ideal business model for women if you want to start your own home based internet business and work from home because of the limitless earning potential and the fact that once the business is set up it can be set to autopilot after several months of work. Unlike mlm most affiliate marketing products are all sold online so you don’t need to stock product or have an inventory at all. This makes for a very ‘light’ business and extremely portable and can be highly profitable.

If you’re not familiar with affiliate marketing it’s a business opportunity where you sell goods for other companies through your blog or website and earn a commission for doing that. You never have to handle any goods or customer support calls so it’s proven to be very popular with thousands of women and who are having incredible success online while working from home or anywhere with just a phone and a laptop.

So it’s time for you to grab a cup of tea or coffee and a pen and paper and plan out how to start your own home-based business selling a product or service that you’re passionate about – we’ve given you some of the best home-based business opportunities for women you’ll find.