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If you use Outlook Express or a similar e-mail program, you can set it up so that your e-mails ONLY show your e-mail alias and NOT your personal e-mail address. (To do this in Outlook Express, go under “Tools” menu. Then choose “Accounts.” Then select account you use, and click “Properties.” Enter your e-mail alias in both “e-mail address” and “reply address” fields.)
<< 4. Get a professional-looking Web site DESIGN. >>
This can mean either hiring a designer to do a custom site for you, OR designing it yourself. Unless you’re both trained extensively in HTML and have a background in design, it’s well worth money to hire someone.
Find prospective designers who work with small businesses, ask to see samples of their work, and be upfront about your budget. If their rates are higher than you can afford, ask them if they have any pre-designed Web site templates they can just insert your information in, cutting down tremendously on design time and cost.
If you do want to put together your own site, check out “corporate” section of http://www.freewebtemplates.com for several neat designs you can use at no charge. (TIP: Avoid ones with colored backgrounds; they’ll make it more complicated for you, and your text will be harder to read.)
Whatever design you choose, make it CONSISTENT on every page of your site, by using same design elements such as borders, fonts, and colors.
<< 5. Tell us WHO YOU ARE and HOW TO REACH YOU. >>
Most of us (and rightfully so) are leery of purchasing
online from a company we’ve never heard of before. To alleviate our fears, put contact information on every page if you can, with a physical mailing address, phone number, and e-mail address.
If you’re uncomfortable posting your home address, lease a box at a mailing and shipping center and use that address. Avoid using “P.O. box” in your address if possible, which can appear suspicious. Real companies have real addresses!
Also, get a *toll-free* number if you can — it really says “big company.” I got mine from my long distance provider, 1Com (http://www.1cominc.com), because they charge no setup fee or monthly fees — I only pay for incoming calls at my usual great long distance rates.
Copywriter and consultant Alexandria Brown's FREE biweekly e-zine, "AKB MarCom Tips," gives how-to tips on creating compelling Web sites, brochures, and e-zines. Learn easy ways to "write to sell" and attract new customers today! Subscribe now at http://www.akbwriting.com or via mailto:AKBMarCom-On@lists.webvalence.com