July 4th, 2010 | Edwin Dearborn, Chief Brand Officer

This blog article is written for the small business owner or entrepreneur who has some idea of internet marketing and social media, but still needs some small business marketing help. While this is not a complete list of all that must be done to do online marketing, it is a list of the most basic elements that will allow you to move on to the next actions that you will need to initiate to be successful.

To keep this simple, I want to give you a checklist of how to build a web site that has the basics and is a great web site for what you need to get started. Future blog posts will expand upon and examine further actions to take to drive more traffic to your website.

1. You have a domain name that has possesses keywords and/or the company name. If you have not named your company as of yet, then taking keywords into account can be an advantage when making your final choice. In the old days, getting your company’s name to start with an “A” in its first word was an advantage, in terms of being found in the phone book. Now that the phone book has gone the way of the Dodo, you need to consider having key search terms within your company name. For instance, if you were starting a florist shop in Los Angeles, naming your shop “LA Florist” would not be a bad idea. Easy to remember and at the time of this post is searched for over 22,00 times per month. Just ensure that www.laflorist.com is available. (Which it is not)

2. Get your website built on a WordPress format. Why? You will want to blog and more and more big companies, like UPS and The Wall Street Journal Magazine are utilizing the WordPress format for their website, which allows you to blog and is highly SEO friendly.

3. Have your online legal in order. Have a “Terms of Use” and “Privacy Policy” pages that simple are links at the bottom of your web pages. If you cannot afford a lawyer, you should still consult one. If you will not take my advice to seek legal assistance, at least get these two pages linked within your website with basic terms and policies. Playing by the rules and showing that you do is good online business and is SEO friendly in the eyes of top search engines.

4. Put your phone number clearly at the top in large type. If you want more calls then make it easy to find it and see it. Again, top of the page and make it large enough. It still amazes me how often I have to search endlessly for their phone number so as to be able to contact the person.

5. Have an “About Us” page. This seems embarrassing to have to mention, but you have to tell people who you are, what your brand stands for and what functions it performs or products/services that it sells. Tell a story, but do not be boring or technical. Keep it interesting, informative, pithy and all on one page.

6. Call to action is a crucial element for your business web site. You have to tell people what to do. This can be done through video, through a free offer or simply telling them within the copy of the website itself. Remember those late night ads selling you knives and car wax? They told you how much to spend and how to order and then told you want to do. Those ads made millions. Tell people what to do and make it clear and simple.

7. Keep your design easy on the eye and avoid Flash at all costs. Flash slows down your site, can be a distraction and is not what you really want for a small business website.

There is much more to know, but here you have the basics for building an effective website for any small business or startup.

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