If you want to be taken seriously online, then your website must have a professional look and feel.

A professional-looking website will lend you credibility and legitimacy, and it will make your visitor feel more confident in you, your products and your services.

Whether or not you have a designer or you go the DIY route, you want to make sure that you add the following to make your website reflect the professionalism of your business.

1. Have a dedicated domain for your website and your email.

First and foremost, have a domain name that reflects the name of your business. For example, if your company is “Your Life, Only Better” but that’s taken, you will avoid any conflicts down the road if you rework your business name now.

With registering a domain comes a dedicated email address that you can set up to work with your current email software, such as Outl Nothing looks less professional than a Yahoo or Hotmail email address as your business email.

2. Have a really good logo.

This is important because it helps increase your credibility and makes you seem more real in the online world. It will also make you feel more legitimate to have a tangible object attached to your business.

LogoYes is a do-it-yourself site and it’s cheap. If you can spend a little more, hire a designer to create it for you. If you’re new in business, don’t spend a ton of money here, though, as it’s likely you’ll go through some transitions before settling on a design and message that feels uniquely you.

3. Make your contact info prominent, and include a physical location.

People want to know that they can contact you if they need to, and they don’t want to have to search for this information, so don’t hide it. Include your email, phone number and physical location at the bottom of every page.

By law, any email marketing you do (ezines or other broadcasts) must have a physical address displayed within it. Don’t use your home address. Rent a mailbox from your local USPS or UPS store instead.

4. KISS – Keep It Simply Sophisticated.

By this I mean, keep your site clean and elegant. No flashing things, no annoying animated graphics, please. Give people the information they came for with simple navigation and easy to read text.

5. Have an opt-in form for your freebie offering.

You must capture people when they visit your site if you want to be able to SHOW them (through your ezine or other freebie offering) that you are a professional and that you do know what you’re doing. Nothing will make your visitors come to know you faster and learn to like and trust you than your continuing to “speak” to them.