What goes on a small business website? I’ve seen some hair-curling examples. From the attorney who told his life story on his bio page to the restaurant that only included a PDF file of the menu, there are elements that are essential and elements that are completely unnecessary. As a small business owner, you need to make sure your customers and prospective customers can find the information they need. The best way to do this is to include it on your small business website. Here is what a basic site needs to have.

The homepage

This page is most likely the first page your visitors will see. It needs to clearly state what you do. Avoid flash intros and too much text, and use plain language:

  • South Shore Harbor Boat Rentals
  • Miami-Area Personal Trainer
  • San Francisco Bay Area Florist
  • Boston Managed IT Services

These headers are much more effective than “Best-in-class luxury yachts” or “Florida’s fitness expert.”

Services/products

What do you offer? The services and products portion of your website doesn’t need to have full descriptions of everything, but your prospective customers need to know what you can do for them (or sell them). Make sure that you remove anything you don’t offer as well. For example, I visited a stable’s website that listed trail rides as a service. When I called to book a trail ride, the stable informed me that they no longer offered trail rides.

If you have a menu of services or products (like a restaurant or a salon menu), do not publish it only in PDF format. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is for a potential customer to visit a small business website and be forced to download a PDF when all she wanted to do was find out if the restaurant served fish or if the hair salon offered Brazilian blowouts.

On your services/products page, if you hold scheduled classes, make sure that schedule is up to date.

About

Remember that attorney who published his life story on his bio page? Don’t be that guy. The “About” section of your small business website can be a single page or multiple pages, but it should ultimately be an extension of your home page. Here are some things to include in it:

  • More about what you do
  • Locations you serve
  • A brief history, especially if you have a fun story about how your company started
  • Staff bios. Keep these short and to the point, and relevant to the position. Ideally, you can throw in a fun fact or two, like, “When Karen isn’t wrangling lines of code, she’s teaching yoga and mentoring high school girls through the district’s STEM program.”

Contact

Make this as easy as possible. Include a contact form, a phone number, and a physical address (if applicable). Embed a Google map on the page so customers know how to get to your location. This is also a good place to include your hours of operation. HubSpot has some great examples of contact pages here.