Your business and website should have a visible personality. Given that fact, what more natural personality to have than your own?
Think of all the antiseptic business websites out there. You see the words on those sites but do you see who wrote them? Can you say anything about who they are, what motivates them, or if they are even a legitimate business? If your website is there to promote a small, relatively unknown business, you may have a problem reaching new customers.
As I mentioned before, the Web is absolutely saturated with people trying to make a quick buck. To be noticed among them, you need a well-established reputation. If you don’t have one yet, it’s time to get personal on your website.
Mentioning yourself by name is a good start. If your website represents a corporation, you may not feel comfortable talking about every employee by name. But it’s important to have a spokesperson of sorts. Who best represents your company and is the proverbial backbone? This could be just the person you need to act as your public face.
Pictures are good, too. Although it doesn’t really have much to do with business, people like to know there are human beings on the other side of the screen. Again, you may not want every employee or partner’s picture on your site, but there should be a few so that customers can match a face with the words. Do you have an office-front or even just a room devoted to your business? If you do (or even if you can fake it), pictures of your work area bring a subconscious air of credibility.
For an especially small or new business, you may want to get even more personal than that. Do you have a blog? If so, consider moving it to your business website. The more your website establishes you as a real human being with a family, ambitions, and character, the more comfortable people will feel contacting you for the first time. Not to mention, the less likely they will be to treat you with disrespect.
Even if your business exists solely on the Web, don’t be tempted to live and die by automated forms and email. You may not expect to do much business over the phone or via postal mail, but having a number and physical address will again make you seem more real and trustworthy. After all, if you don’t make all this public, customers might well think that you are hiding?