The past few weeks, our blogs have been focused on tips for starting a new business, including posts on funding, leases, and zoning issues. Something else that is essential for new businesses is an attractive and functional website. This post, while by no means exhaustive, will give you a few tips for a website that will attract business and not headaches.
While most entrepreneurs do not question the need for a website these days, it is still helpful to keep in mind the importance of a quality site. The first thing that many young consumers do when they hear of a new business is “Google” the name of the business and scan the first few results. If there is no website for that business, some consumers will simply lose interest and move on to the next option. Another problem arises when the website is of poor quality. If your site looks like it’s from 1999 or contains typos or outdated information, that can be worse for business than not having a website at all. Your website is often the first chance you get to make an impression on a potential customer.
Another important consideration for your website is whether or not the site is mobile-friendly. This refers to how your site looks and functions on something like a smart phone or tablet. With more and more people doing online research on their mobile devices, having a mobile-friendly website is becoming more important by the day.
Starting on April 21, Google will begin factoring mobile-friendliness into its ranking formula. This means that if you have a mobile-friendly site, you will be more likely to be discovered by a person doing online research. If not, your site may drop in the results. Even a drop that only bumps you down one page in Google’s results can be very harmful to your business. You can learn more about the new changes here. That link also includes a link to a tool that will test whether your site is mobile-friendly. You should also consider contacting a professional to help you maximize your website’s positioning in search engine results.
As for what to include on your site, this is obviously very specific to your business, but since we are attorneys, there are a few legal considerations you should keep in mind for your website. First, and perhaps most obvious, be careful that all claims made on your website are actually true. For example, do not claim any certifications or make any guarantees that cannot be verified. Making false claims of that nature can put you at risk of legal action by disgruntled customers or competitors.
Next, consider the trademark and copyright implications of the content on your website. Do you own the information, images, and video on your site, or do you have the proper permission to use it? Have you checked to make sure you properly attributed any content you borrowed for any posts to your site? Have you checked to make sure you’re not committing trademark or copyright infringement? These things can all be checked rather quickly, but failure to comply with the law in these areas can lead to conflict with other companies and can occasionally escalate to legal action.
Finally, if you are operating an e-commerce site, be sure to carefully review any contracts with vendors and service providers. Be sure to know what will or will not cause a breach, and be sure to know what will happen in the event of a breach. For example, will you be forced into arbitration with an arbitrator that is friendly to your opponent? Are you agreeing to any large liquidated damages provisions? This is something you should consider consulting an attorney about.
The attorneys at Dalton & Tomich, PLC have experience representing many different kinds of businesses. If you need counsel at any stage of your business development, including help with your website, do not hesitate to contact us. We would be happy to speak with you to see how we can help your business.