We all DO judge a book by its cover, and same saying goes for Web sites. I’ve seen many entrepreneurs offer great information on their Web pages, but compromise their image dramatically with a few amateur mistakes that can be VERY unforgiving.
If you want to attract high quality clients and customers, and convey that you’re a legitimate, credible, and sought-after business, these five points are a great launching pad to give your site that “big company” look and feel.
<< 1. Start with a high-quality LOGO. >>
The one your kid created for you doesn’t count! I’m talking about paying a designer to do one for you, and it doesn’t have to cost in thousands. If you don’t have much of a budget, consider following options:
For my E-zine Queen site, I used an online logo service called “1800MyLogo” (http://www.1800mylogo.com). At time they charged only $199 to design a professional logo based on my business, style, and personal preferences. The whole process only took about two weeks and was conducted entirely over Web. (To see final result, take a quick peek at http://www.ezine-queen.com)
I’ve also heard good things about http://www.gotlogos.com, where you can get a quick Web site logo for only $25!
<< 2. Get your own business DOMAIN NAME. >>
It’s just a fact that folks will feel safer shopping at a site with its own domain name.
For example, if you were shopping online for a circular saw, would you be more likely to purchase from a hardware site called “www.bobshardware.com” or one whose URL is “www.geocities.com/3339/bobshardware?” (This is a fictional example, by way.)
Having your own domain name implies you’re a “real” company, and not Uncle Bob working in his kitchen at night (even though you my very well be ; )).
There are several “bargain basement” places to buy domain names, but two most popular and credible are still: http://www.register.com http://www.networksolutions.com
<< 3. Get (and USE) a business E-MAIL ADDRESS. >>
Nothing screams “amateur” like sending out professional e-mail from a handle like “firstname.lastname@example.org.” Once you get a domain name for your Web site, have your hosting company set up a professional e-mail *alias* for you.
Let’s go back to Bob, for example. Suppose Bob’s e-mail has always been “BobSmith0002@earthlink.net.” Now that he has his own domain name, he can instead use “email@example.com”. He still KEEPS his Earthlink address, because that’s where he’ll actually receive his mail. But he should only GIVE OUT new one on his Web site, business cards, etc.