Do you find yourself wondering if you need a business address? Do you expect to see one on a business website in the contact section? Does the lack of a physical address on a website indicate that the business is not credible? And does it vary depending on the business? How much contact information do you provide on your website?
That is a lot of questions to ask yourself when you are thinking about creating your own business or a website for your business. I find that the answers to those questions often overlap and are not as clearly defined as you may want or think that they should be. For example I have business address, but I don’t currently list that on my website, and in my opinion the lack of one doesn’t necessarily mean that the business is any less credible than another, depending on the type of business.
Did you know that your contact information filed with your LLC or Corporation is actually publicly available on the Internet? Anyone can go to your state’s Secretary of State website to search and pull up all the filed information for your LLC/Corporation. If you happen to use your home address for your business address, you have just publicly published where you live to everyone online
There are different types of business addresses as outlined in this article, they cover a home address, PO Box, and a Commercial Office, and discuss the pros and cons of each. Office Shares, virtual offices, co-working spaces, can be a cost-effective way to obtain a business address and have a place to meet clients. One option that they do not cover and that is the option I went with and that is using the services of a Registered Agent and that is the address that is on my LLC filing with the Secretary of State.
When I evaluate a business’ website I don’t necessarily feel that a physical address is relevant and would not put me off as a potential customer. The types of businesses that I feel would fall into this category would be online services and a website that was built for a plumber, electrician, or contractor for example. For these types of businesses, in my opinion because they come to me their address is irrelevant, what I want to see on those sites are their professional license numbers.
If I was evaluating an online business that sells digital goods (such as building a web site and delivering HTML and CSS files, consulting work that involves passing documents and spreadsheets etc, graphic design files) the physical address is less relevant, if it is available great but if it isn’t then it is not a big deal. If the online business sells physical goods then yes I would expect to see a physical address.
For the sake of this post let us all agree that listing a business address on a website is subjective based on the type of business and your own personal definition of what you feel makes a credible business. The next question you may ask yourself especially if you work from home, is what should your business address be? Should it be your home address or something else? My answer was I did not want it to be my home address, therefore I needed to find an address that I could use on my LLC filing for the state of Massachusetts.
I must stress that when you decide on a business address for your LLC or Corporation filing, regardless of if you list the address on your website, you need to make sure you follow the requirements of the state you are filing in. If you want to use a PO box for your filings, and are not sure if that will meet your filing requirements call your Secretary of State’s office, speak with a lawyer, contact your local Small Business Administration Office, or find a local SCORE Office and ask your questions.
When I ask my clients for the contact information they would like to be displayed on their site I do provide them with prompts (see list below) by walking them through my new client sheet if we meet in person or by reviewing what they filled out an emailed to me. The prompts are there because I don’t want my clients to face the blank page writer’s block syndrome, of course, they know all the answers but they know them so well that they may forget to mention them because to them they are just common sense to them.
- Business Name
- Alternate Names (do you want to list owner(s) names?)
- Emaill Address
- Phone Number
- Address (?)
- Social Media (?)
There are three items that have a ? mark to them. The first one is do they want to list the owner or owner’s names. Perhaps the names are mentioned in the about section and they feel that is sufficient, and that is reasonable. The next one is address because I don’t always feel it is necessary to publish it but you probably should have one and maybe required to have one. And finally social medial, some businesses use them some don’t.
DISCLAIMER: This advice is general in nature and not to be taken as personal professional advice. This blog does not provide legal advice if you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.
If you have any comments please share them on my Facebook page.