What are some common mistakes with business web sites?
1. Poor design. It’s commendable that businesses are budget conscious, but just because your nephew can program HTML, doesn’t mean you should use him for your business site. In addition, leaving the site design up to “artists” can be a dangerous thing. Business communications and graphic design should not be confused with artistry. Interface issues are often overlooked when selecting a design firm. Pick the design firm that can translate your brand online in the most compelling manner for your customers. Substance over flash is good, and a clean interface will keep your customers coming back. Poor interface is the number one reason why visitors come to your site once and never return. Ever wonder why Flashy Intro pages have a “go to home page” or “skip intro” link on them? Because they’re a barrier between you and your customer!
2. Lack of fresh content. The nature of the internet demands up-to-date information. If you cannot keep your website current, find a partner who can supply your site with content to keep your customers updated on what is happening in your industry. Imagine if Marshall Field’s or Target never changed their inventory! We are proud to offer custom tools to enable our clients to keep their web sites current with NO HTML knowledge.
3. Creating a website that is marketing driven instead of marketplace driven. People want information and they want it as simply and quickly as possible. Forcing visitors to wade through company history, mission statements and pictures to get to what they want won’t work. Examples: MySpace, forums, AOL, newsgroups, mailing lists and chat rooms are all examples of marketplace driven efforts to give the people tools that they can use to access information. The power of the internet lies in creating a website that is a flow through channel for information, not an island from which visitors cannot leave.
4. Posting your own personal email address (example: email@example.com) as your main business email address. Its easy to set up your mail account to be firstname.lastname@example.org and have it forward to your email account. Its transparent to your customers, and you only need to check one mail account. Talk to us if you need to implement this feature.
5. Not having a phone number on the front page of your website. People still use the phone as a PRIMARY means of communication, so why create a barrier to potential new business? We can implement these simple, but effective changes for you.
6. Having a closed website with no links to competitors, vendors, partners, industry partners or industry publications. The web is an open channel and you’ll find more people bookmarking your pages if you provide them with relevant information and links. It has also been shown that traffic to sites comes from three top sources: search engines, links from other sites and offline marketing materials. UPDATE: Google now ranks ‘links from other sources’ as a major ranking device in determining a site’s relevancy. So, be sure to give and get links to maximize your presence.
7. Poor copy writing, grammatical errors, broken links and missing images.
8. Email contact forms that pop up a mail application. “Contact us” forms should remain entirely within the browser and your webmaster can configure this so that mail from your website comes directly to the person in charge of customer communications. See our “contact us” form for an example.
9. Related to Mistake #8, is the issue of having your e-mail address available for “spam harvesting.” By having a dynamic forms-driven contact page, you can eliminate spambots from collecting your email address. See an example of how to overwhelm spam robots.
10. CTA isn’t just a mode of transportation, its your budgetary bottom line for your website and it means “Cost To Acquire” (new business) and when you develop your site, you should estimate the costs to generate new business leads AND the costs to actually acquire new business. The web is an excellent tool for generating business leads, but too many companies stop there. Don’t let that be your end goal – go for the close. Use the web to acquire new business and treat it like a serious channel for your business. CDW is on track to sell $1 BILLION worth of computer equipment online because they’ve changed their focus from using their website to generate leads to acquiring business. You should too.
11. Finally, and most importantly, make sure you have a GOAL (concrete, realistic and attainable) driving your web presence. “More customers” is too vague, however “10 new business leads a month”, is an example of a concrete, realistic and attainable goal for some web sites. Another example goal: ” $5000 a month of online sales” is better than “more sales” or “more web traffic”. Contact Chicago Web Management to move your site to the front of the pack!