Am I the only person who gets a little irked when advice blogs, books or magazines say things like:

“If you want to have a successful business, you must have (name whatever outrageous thing it is this month)” ?

The stubborn, middle-finger-to-the-world part of me–the girl who learned her ways by growing up with equally stubborn siblings and parents, in a stubborn town that refused to be labeled as “small”– wants to say “Well, I’ll show them. I’ll be successful without (name whatever outrageous thing it is this month)!”

The stubborn part of me, HATES being one of those guys.

The business side in me–the part that cracks the whip on business plans and branding –is pushing to get the information out there, because she knows certain things increase the likelihood of your success in business, so why not try them?

That part of me reigns supreme here.

5 things every creative business website should have.

(with a Creativity Loft spin, of course. What were you expecting?)

1. Place to collect email addresses so you can be a spammer*!

As in, an OPT-IN email list sign-up form.

There are many email marketing services out there. Personally, I like MailChimp. They give away free accounts for life, if your email list isn’t large. I suggest it to clients.

I said this before, but it’s better to start building an opt-in email list now, even when you may not know what to do with it, than really need one later and not have one.

A few tips on the sign-up form: Make it noticeable, but unobtrusive and put at on as many pages of your site as possible (On the first draft of this post I wrote: “as pissable” – total accident, but I think the Freudian slip means: “As much as to almost piss off your website visitors”)

2. Ways to get money!

Who doesn’t want money?

What I mean is, you need to make it easy for people to convert on your site.

Convert is an annoying little business term that means “do what you want them to do,” which, in most cases, means, do something that earns you moolah.

Buy your crafts, buy your book, buy your artwork. Whatever you are selling.

If you’re a jewelry designer and people can’t find out how to buy your goods, guess what, they’re going to Target.

Make it easy for people.

Place information on your goods and services in a prominent position on your site and help visitors in their purchase process.

3. Information on how to stalk you.

People want information on the person they are trying to give their money to. Don’t leave them hanging.

You need a bio and direct line of communication, whether it be a contact form or email address.

Make your contact page easy to find.

4. Annoyingly long page URLs

Don’t you hate those annoyingly long URLs?

Well, search engines love them.

No matter how good of a marketer you are, you’ll never be able to reach everyone, but having a search engine optimized page will help you reach people you didn’t even know about.

Trust me.

Optimize your site, people!

5. Eye-friendly design

When you’re laying out your site, think about people’s eyes. In most cases, the eyes will reject or accept your website.

Do you have a navigation bar near the top of your page? Get one.

Chances are, if you’re reading this, you read from left to right. So make your content flow from left to right. Top to bottom.

Keep colors in mind. If someone goes to your site and sees hard to read fonts and colors, they will probably leave.

You have about 5 seconds to bait people into your site once they get there. Make it easy to pull them in.

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*Don’t be a spammer. We stone those kinds of people in my stubborn little town.