Ottawa-Gatineau Communications: What makes a good/bad Website
Here are the "Top 10 ways" to create an ineffective website:
- Take the first offer
Compare features, creativity, reliability, quality and of course price, from several designers and providers.
- Make the web site visually bland
Few people are constrained with 14.4 modems on a 386 computer (and if they're that cheap are they your target audience?). People want pizzazz! Don't let 1,000 words take the place of a color picture.
- Don't promote your web page
Put the web address on your business cards, brochures, in your other media advertising. Use big lettering to direct people to your website.
- Ignore the search engines
Help people find your site on global search engines, like Yahoo, Excite, Lycos (and of course Found Locally!). Many require you to only fill out an on-screen form. Submit your site everywhere you surf.
- Spend your annual budget on design
Once the website is "live" your clients will make recommendations-lots of them. Budget for maintenance and updating. And EXPECT to do a re-build in 6-12 months. You'll be two years smarter (in Internet years).
- Don't let people get a hold of you
Include your phone number, address, and e-mail address on each of your web pages. Provide a marketing e-mail, not just the webmaster's. E-mail is the best way for clients to contact you (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) so check yours often, even on weekends.
- Don't surf your competitors' sites
Your customers are! You need to know what your competitors are up to, and recognize your competitive level. If they're doing something you're not, you need to decide to either follow, lead, or ignore their actions.
- Market only to your ISP's clients
Most Internet Service Providers have client "business listings". This is cheap marketing, but you will not be found by clients of another ISP. Use search engines and directories that are visited by other ISP's clients.
- Do "brochureware"
Converting your brochure to the web is like putting a radio commercial on TV without a picture. Don't force the limitations of other media onto the Internet. Use pictures, and as many pages as are needed to tell the story. Make your site interactive with forms, animation, video, audio...
- Don't give people a reason to come back
Your web site has to be linked your business: there always needs to be a reason for the client to drop back. Even if they don't think they need to buy anything. Update your web page often and keep it timely. Give away some important or valuable information.
If you can avoid all of these pitfalls, you'll increase your success of your Internet business dramatically!