Making sure your website works for you! Business Matters
itemed by Administrator (admin) on Jun 28 2009 at 12:46 PM
RockRidge Financial Blog >> Business Matters

Here’s ten thoughts that can help you keep your focus and keep your website where it needs to be. Whether or not your business caters to online customers or not, your website should not be “brochure ware”—rather it needs to be vibrant, tell your story, and show your customers and prospective customers how your Company can scratch their “itch” and make them come to you!

 

1.  I Can't RememberThatSuperLongDomainName.com!
Despite common knowledge about the benefits of choosing a small and simple domain name, many small businesses can't refuse the temptation to make their domain a mouthful. You want a domain name that's short and easy to remember. While it may seem like a challenge when you begin checking for available domain names, you should spend the time to figure out a short and catchy domain name that your customers will remember.

2. Thinking small, looking small
You may be running your growing small business from a small office in your house, but your customers don't need to know that. You should constantly evaluate your website vs. larger competitors. With web tools and design services, there's no reason your site can't be as polished as your competitors.

3. Failure to hire a professional website designer
While it may be tempting to let your friend build your website (on the cheap), watch out!! When some people hear "professional designer," they automatically think they won't be able to afford it. Yet, there are reasonably priced web designers or web service companies who offer do-it-yourself or customized services to give your website a professional look and feel - from the very beginning -at an affordable price.

4. Out of Date E-commerce software
Many small businesses are relying on e-commerce software that is beginning to show its age. Today, there are many web-based ecommerce platforms available that will give small businesses a safe, secure and less time consuming option for selling products and services via the web.

5. Nothing new here
To increase your rankings in search engines, and more importantly, to give customers a reason to come back to your site, you need to keep the content on your site fresh and relevant. Consider integrating a blog into your website. You can plan to spend as little as 15-20 minutes a day writing your blog, and you'll continually be adding fresh content to your site that search engines can crawl and your customers can read.

6. Initiative of the week
This piece of advice goes for online and offline initiatives ... say your competitors are all launching weekly email newsletters, so you launch one too. But, after a month of writing a weekly newsletter, you skip a week, then you skip two weeks, the following month. That's not the image you want to send your customers. Before you launch a new initiative on your website (email newsletter, blog, etc.), give it a trial run behind the scenes. Write a newsletter per week for 4-5 weeks (not sending it out to anyone), just to see if it’s something that easily fits into your existing schedule. Inconsistency is not the image you want to give your customers and potential customers. There are folks out there who will “ghost write”, and can allow you to focus on your business and what you’re best at.

7. Coming Soon
Believe it or not, I still see small business websites with coming soon notes on various pages. If you haven't completely designed and written the content for your site, DON'T publish your website. "Coming Soon" notes will tarnish your reputation the very instant that someone visits your unfinished site.

8. Resource intense applications on your site
If you've designed an elaborate, animated website that uses the latest web technology, and customers will need a lightning-fast connection and a top-of-the-line computer to view your site, put your computer mouse down and back slowly away from the computer. Potential customers will be visiting your site using a multitude of different computers - both old and new - browsers, operating systems, and connection speeds. Unless you are looking to limit the amount of potential customers you reach, you should design a site that is accessible by everyone.

9. Getting personal
I can't tell you how many small businesses make the mistake of posting family photos on their websites. This is a huge no, no. By committing this grave Web sin, you have branded yourself as an amateur and you run the risk of swaying users to visit more professional looking competitor sites. Save the baby photo's and details of your favorite hot rod for a personal website and keep your business site - well, All Business! Again, with the right design and a little effort, there's no reason your small business website can't put you on the same level as your larger competitors. If you want to put up a picture of yourself or of your team, get it professionally done—it speaks volumes to the quality of your business and the professionalism of what you’re trying to show!

10. Retro Design
Let's imagine that your website is up and running, you have several customers, and your business is starting to grow. Now is a critical time to remember not to put your website on autopilot! On the web, design elements constantly change and mature, and you need to make sure the website that you launched last year still looks current and new. You should plan to seriously review, evaluate, and update your site design elements at least once, if not twice, a year. I’ve spoken before about keeping up with your business plan at least once a year—your website look and functionality to your customer should be no different!

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