October 13, 2010
Your website is your online ambassador which provides an information portal to all of your prospective customers. As with anything, there is always a right and a wrong way to do things, and doing the wrong things when it comes to the design of your website can mean online suicide! Here are some of the key mistakes to avoid:
When flash first hit the scene, it was hugely popular, and to be honest, it looked really good. But, as with many new inventions, it became overused. Whilst flash is still acceptable on a website, try to refrain your use to purely graphical elements (slideshows, product images, etc). Flash is unreadable by Google, and so the impact on your search rankings could be devastating if you’re placing all your beloved content into a flash element. Approach with caution and use in moderation…
Pop Ups / New Windows
One of the favorite marketing tools of “adult” sites are those annoying little things called pop ups. Whilst most browsers have now eradicated this problem in terms of unprompted pop ups, some websites still insist on opening new content in new windows (pop ups), generally with good intentions. This is a bad idea for two reasons:
1. It’s annoying – no one likes them because they cause clutter and remind us of spam
2. It breaks the “back button chain” – think of how many times a day you use the back button on your browser. Quite often I’m sure. Using pop ups or new windows makes using the back button impossible, and will most likely result in the visitor leaving your site. No good.
Introductions & Music
I’ve grouped these two together because they generally appear together, but they are just as “evil” in isolation. Introductions are generally just plain annoying. In today’s fast paced life, users want to get to the most relevant information as quickly as possible. Don’t annoy them with delay tactics for the purpose of looking “cool.” If you absolutely must use an introduction page, be sure to include a visible “Skip Intro” button.
Music on your website is simply a no-no. Not only does it slow down your website and provide no real benefit to the user, but it is also quite likely to annoy them. Browsers often have their own music playing in the background, which will simply be interrupted by your website’s music. Once again, if you absolutely must use this feature, be sure to offer a “Music Off” button.
No Display of Price
This is always a tricky one, but very important nonetheless. Whilst displaying pricing online is completely normal (and required) for consumer type websites, business to business (B2B) websites seem to avoid it, and cover up by mentioning something along the lines of “customized solutions.” Whilst this may be true for some business, you should always aim for the greatest level of transparency possible.
The benefits of listing pricing on your website (even if only in the form of “From $ X.99″) include, but are not limited to:
• Increased trustworthiness (you obviously have nothing to hide, and charge all customers equally)
• Fewer inquiries from unqualified prospects (bargain seekers, etc.)
• The ability to create an online ordering process (such as a checkout cart)
• Differentiation from your competitors (if they’re hiding their pricing)
As you can see, having a website is much more than just uploading an online brochure to the web. To really get the most out of your site, you need to follow the “rules.” Marketing online has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, but implementing the best practices and avoiding the “suicidal” mistakes will ensure that you get the most out of your website.
Do you need a helping hand when it comes to marketing online? Derek Jansen is an www.internet marketing and SEO consultant who has helped numerous businesses get their websites into tip-top shape, ranking well and generating profits. Contact Derek today for a free consultation!