Small business owner/managers generally believe in the web even if they don't have their own website because they think building a site is a complicated, time-consuming project that they are afraid to outsource. Yet they don't have the time - or the knowledge - to do it themselves either.

If you fit this description, the answer may be a one-page ‘starter' website, which gives you an immediate web presence but doesn't require extensive planning, writing, or designing - or lots of cash. You can expand your site over time, as your business grows or you determine a need for more pages.

The expense is minimal if you sign up for a service such as Microsoft Office Live, which offers a free website and design tools, a free domain name, business e-mail, and hosting and storage. Even just a one-page site can:

  • Get your business on search engines and directories
  • Increase your company's legitimacy and credibility.
  • Increase brand recognition for your business.
  • Put your contact and location info in front of more people.
  • Get you started so that you can add new pages over time.

One-page sites won't work for every business. They are generally most suitable in industries where the product or service is easy to describe and the key content is the value proposition and contact information. Small professional services firms such as law and accounting, small veterinary or dental clinics, and niche retail businesses are examples of where a one-page site could work because most people already know what they want from these businesses.

Five things the experts say you should include in your one-page site include:

  • A high-resolution logo and other visual materials you use in your marketing.
  • Short descriptions of your product or service offerings.
  • Your contact and location information.
  • Testimonials from clients.
  • Links to any news articles and directories where your business is mentioned.

Related posts: How to write web content for a busy audience; Updating your website - tips for a tweak or a facelift;

Associated blog: True Business - real life for small business