*button11Finally, your website is online. Your web designer made it pretty for you. The colors and photos are just right. You have agonized over it. You have asked for last minute changes, then you asked to have the changes changed. Then, you asked for more changes. At last, you were happy, and now your website is live. Your work is done, right? No, not really. First, you must make sure that your website includes the following must haves:

1. Your phone number. Unless you don’t want the phone to ring, your phone number must be highly visible. I recommend placing the phone number on the top of the home page. Don’t hide it and don’t expect people to dig for it either. And, no, it is not enough to list your number on your “Contact” page. Make it easy to find. I mean less than 5 seconds easy. If it takes longer to find it, you are starting to annoy people. Place your phone number on the top of your home page, better yet, place it on the top of every page, is even better.

2. Customer testimonials. Yes, I know your business is great, and you know your business is great, but the only thing that really matters is what your customers say about your business. Yes, your prospects are more likely believe your customers than you. I don’t care if you bring your grandma as witness to how great your business is, there is no substitute for customer testimonials. It’s even better if you can get video or audio testimonials. They are easy to make and people love them. You can use your smart phone to make them and upload them to YouTube, then link them to your website.

3. Your credentials. People want to see your credentials. What makes you qualified to do what you do? Do you belong to groups or associations? Do you have any special training or certifications? Is there a rating system in your profession that you can show? Have you been in business for 25-years? Don’t assume people will know your qualifications. Explain and describe your credentials. Many people use your website to establish credibility.

4. Opportunity for interaction. Your home page must give an opportunity for interaction. An example is a call to action to get people to give you their email address, so you can start communicating with them. Remember, if you just ask for their emails, they won’t just give it to you. Give a really compelling reason to do so. Offer something valuable to them, not to you, but to them. For example, you might have a book and you could offer the first paragraph for free. Another option is to offer a free consultation, but there are many more. The key here is that whatever you offer has to be valuable enough, so people would actually pay for it.

5. Proper page title. Every page should have a unique page title, but the page title of your home page is even more important. Most home page titles are terrible. Many of them start with something stupid like “Welcome to our website” or “Welcome to name of the company.” Instead of something generic your home page should start with the most important keywords. For example, I own Webene, a San Diego based web design firm. Therefore, a very good home page title for my website would be something like “web designer” or “san diego web designer” or “web designer in san diego.” In other words, what keyword your prospects would most likely use to search for your service?

There are many things that make a great home page, but if you get the above five right, your website will be better than most.