Two Must Haves for Business Websites

September 1, 2006

I’m going to give you two tips. These tips are mandatory for business websites – at least in my opinion.

1. You need an “About” page.
2. You need a “Contact” page

Each of these pages need to convey certain things which I’ll get into. Why? To this day, I won’t do business with websites that:

– Hide their contact information, or make it difficult to find.
– Don’t tell me their story.

Basically, I expect to find an “About” page and a “Contact” page (which includes accurate contact information) at any business website I visit. I don’t trust a website if I can’t find these details.

Trust is a huge factor if you want people to interact with you online. By not helping people learn more about your organization, or by making it hard to reach you, you are fostering mistrust – and it will cost you.

Let me give you an example. When we first designed our 2ndSite Inc website we did not include an “About” tab. One day we added it. It was the only change we made to our website and that change increased the number of people who trialed our product by over 10%. So let’s talk about how to build these pages.

How to Build a Good “About” Page
Building a good “About” page is relatively straight forward. Write a paragraph or two that describes what you are “all about” and “what makes you different”. Once you have done that, you can go one step further and explain why you started the business in the first place, and if you do, it will be very easy for your visitors to relate to you. That’s important. Besides that, stories are easy to remember, and that will help your organization stick in your visitor’s mind when they are trying to remember your company later on. Another good idea is to include a list of quick facts like: number of employees, years in operation and bios of the management team. It’s easy to do this, and it helps people get a feel for your company at a glance.

How to Build a Solid “Contact” Page
I have read that visitors who view your contact page are 30% more likely to do business with you than those who do not. These are important visitors, so don’t miss your opportunity. Here are some key rules/guidelines for designing contact pages:

1. A “contact form” alone is not enough.
2. Make it easy to find your telephone number, your mailing address, your email address and fax number. Offer all four methods of contact as choices and let your visitors decide how they want to contact you.
3. If you do use a contact form, make the form short. Ask for only name, email address and body of the message where “email addresses” is the only field required.
4. If people need to visit your office in person (for example a law office), put a link to directions and/or map of your location on your contact page.
5. Next to your contact information, strategically place awards, positive customer feedback, and other assurances of creditability on this page.

So there you have it. Do you need to update your site? If you do, comment here and let me know how it goes.

about the author

Co-Founder & CEO, FreshBooks Mike is the co-founder and CEO of FreshBooks, the world’s #1 cloud accounting software for self-employed professionals. Built in 2003 after he accidentally saved over an invoice, Mike spent 3.5 years growing FreshBooks from his parents’ basement. Since then, over 10 million people have used FreshBooks to save time billing, and collect billions of dollars. A lover of the outdoors, Mike has been bitten so many times it’s rumored he’s the first human to have developed immunity to mosquitoes.