Friday, 11 November 2011

Top 10 Business Web Site Mistakes

Today it takes more than just having a Web site to make the Internet work for your company. Sites are highly competitive, and proper site design has become an area of concern to businesses that want to use the Internet to the fullest. Below are 10 common Web site errors that occur. 

  1. Inappropriate domain name: Pick a domain name that is memorable and relates to your business. Since people are likely to forget very long names, shorter domain names are typically better, but not always. For example, a name like can be too vague and says nothing about the content of the Web site.
  2. Poor design and functionality: Why have a Web site with content if no one can access it? Good design is largely based on consistency. Menus should appear in the same place on every page, links should all be the same color/typeface, and a logo of some sort should be clearly visible at all times.
  3. Too complicated or too slow: Although flash animation may look amazing, it may be too complex for casual Internet users. Though aesthetics certainly matter, it must be in balance with functionality and ease of use for the typical user. Also, a more complex design takes longer to load on many computers.
  4. Stagnant site: Not only is content time-sensitive, so is format and design. There will always be new tools available to make Web sites better looking and better performing. It is not cost-effective to create a Web site and let it sit. Update content regularly and take advantage of (appropriate) new technologies to make the site look better.
  5. Broken links and 404 error messages: Make sure every link on your site works. You'll lose users quickly if they see a "404 file not found" error message or find broken or incorrectly labeled links. If you have a large site, consider adding a form so users can submit a broken link, which lets users know you are on top of any problems they discover.
  6. No contact info: Users need to be able to contact you with questions, complaints, and suggestions. A Contact Us page, like an Internet business card, should be available from any part of your site. Also, be sure to actually answer these messages either personally or through an auto-reply.
  7. Ignoring statistics: Detailed reports of visitor traffic are available for your Web site. This service may be offered by your hosting provider or obtained through a third party. By monitoring your statistics (such as visitors-turned-customers, users on broadband, etc.) you can tailor your marketing and design toward those who visit most or find weak spots based on who you are not attracting.
  8. Free or cheap hosting: As attractive as some of these services are, realize that the reliability of your business depends on the reliability of your hosting. A good host service should have minimal downtime, offer services such as shopping cart systems, and have good customer support. Be sure to read reviews and apply for free trials (if possible) before you commit to anything.
  9. Avoiding spiders: Spiders are what search engines use to find your page. You want to make sure your pages are designed so that you show up high on search engine rankings. This process is called search engine optimization. There are, however, ethics and strategies to SEO. Some practices (such as hidden text, redirects, etc.) will result in you being banned from search engines.
  10. Not hiring a professional: Search engine optimization is complex. To move up in the listings on Google and other search engines, you may want to hire a professional, especially if your business relies heavily on generating business from the Web.

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