Thursday, April 2, 2009

How to Create a Bad Website and Frustrate Your Visitors

If you want to have a terrible website that looks bad, works horribly and breaks fundamental marketing rules, read on.
One way to look at any website is to break it up into three equally important segments; design, technical and marketing. In other words, every site on the Web contains these three components.
They all have a design or look and feel (design), they all have to be on a server and coded properly to be live on the Internet (technical) and they all have ways in which they attract visitors and make sales (marketing).

In this month's newsletter, we will examine the design portion of your site.
The following is a list, defining exactly what NOT to do.

Top 10 Web Design Mistakes:

1. Not using Web conventions, instead use crazy and wacky formats that no one's ever seen and no one can understand.

2. Writing trite, predictable, boring or copied content only and not updating your site.

3. Creating totally different and unique navigation for every page so that your visitors need to waste time re-learning your navigation every time they go to a new page. Also creating totally different look & feels for every page so that your visitors don't know if they're on the same site or clicked away.

4. Using confusing, obfuscated and mysterious labels for all your links and buttons so that no one ever has any idea where they're going if they click. The more confusing, the better.

5. Making it impossible to search the site. Offering no search box, no site map and basically no possible way to find anything on your website.

6. Including content that only talks about you. Not mentioning anything about your visitors or how you can help them, just talk about you and your history and all your achievements. Including a big picture of you and your office building right on the home page.

7. Including only poorly-written copy with lots of grammar mistakes, and ubiquitous, curious and horrendous spelling and punctuation mistakes throughout your site.

8. Not including any text. Making every page on your site one big picture. So for instance, on your home page have one giant picture of you and your office building and have no text so search engines can't see your site at all.

9. Using buttons for your navigation only, or use complicated JavaScript drop down menus that complicate your site's navigation. Either way, if you do this and include no text links, the search engines won't be able to spider (navigate and record) your website.

10. Making your site as difficult to read as possible. Use teeny, tiny fonts that are hard to read against some funky-colored background. For instance, use blue fonts on a black background.

Follow this list perfectly and you'll be well on your way to having a bad and useless website and frustrating and angering everyone who visits.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

How to Spring Clean Your Website

How to Spring Clean Your Website

Spring is a wonderful time of year but it might not be so wonderful for our online business. The weather is getting nicer and people are spending more time outside, away from their computers. One way to get more people to come to your website is to do some spring cleaning and I don't mean your house! Our websites can get stale and outdated if we do not clean them up periodically.

There are lots of things you can do to freshen up your site and bring new life and new customers to your online business.

1. Add a new section filled with resources, information and maybe even some special deals for your customers. Use relevant keywords to improve your ranking. For example: if you own a home decor business, offer decorating tips and advice. Show people how to decorate on a budget or how to redecorate with things they already own. By providing information and resources along with your products, you are giving people a reason to keep coming back. This is how you build trust with your visitors and get more sales.

2. Remove all dead links, outdated information and products. Nothing is worse than going to a site and finding links that don't work or information and/or products that are no longer useable or helpful. Go through all the links on your site and freshen up the content to offer up to date information!

3. Give your homepage a facelift by adding new graphics, text, etc. Redo your banner and give it some new life. Take out the old graphics and add some fresh new images. Research your keywords and revamp your text with some effective keywords. Write a new introduction to your site detailing all your new additions.

4. If you haven't yet tried blogging, read up on blogging and zap some life into your site. Some free blogging sites are Blogger and WordPress. Blogging is a great way to improve your search engine ranking while expanding your network.

5. Update your product line. Add some fresh new products and offer the old products at clearance prices. Have a Spring Sale and liven up your sales! Keep those customers coming back for more!

6. Add a What's New page so you can let everyone know about all your updates now and in the future. This feature could get more people to return to your site to see What's New?

7. Research the colors used on your site. You may find changing the colors of your site can bring a whole new life to your business.

8. Put a small survey on your site. Ask your visitors what they would like to see and what type of products they are looking for. Getting the information straight from the horse's mouth could do your business a lot of good. Offer your visitors a small gift for answering the questions on the survey.

9. Renew your goals! Make new goals and write out a new business plan. Learn from your experiences, good and bad, and improve your plan for success.

Spring is a time of renewal, revitalization and reenergizing! Our online businesses are no exception!