Avoid These Common Web Site Mistakes

By: Leva Duell

Let's look at some common web design and marketing mistakes that will reduce your web sales.

Web Design Mistakes

Faulty links.
Poor navigation and faulty links that make it hard for visitors to find the information they are looking for.
Missing images.
Low-quality images.
Slow-loading pages. Prospective buyers won't wait for your pages to load.
Dark, multi-colored and distracting backgrounds that make text hard to read.
Error messages. Visitors won't come back if their system crashes or they're getting JavaScripts error messages when visiting your site.
Underlined words/sentences that can be confused with links.
Special characters such as curly quotes, curly apostrophes, en dashes, and em dashes. These characters are unique to different operating systems and fonts, and may convert into bogus characters on web sites.
Pages that are wider than your visitors' computer monitors force your visitors to scroll left to right. (Create the width of your web page to fit your typical audience's monitor to avoid horizontal scrolling).
Background music on your home page. Visitors will be tired of hearing your music when returning to your home page. Have a "Stop Music" button. If you are a musician and have music on your site, make listening to the music optional.
Flashing banners, animation, scrolling text, irritating blinking text, distracting messages in the browser status line, and other features that can annoy visitors.
Under construction pages. Put your pages up when they are ready.

Web Marketing Mistakes

Lack of marketing. You need to market your web site in order for visitors to find you.
Lack of unique content. Without valuable content, visitors and buyers don't have a reason to return to your web site.
Me-oriented content to satisfy the ego of the company CEO, Web designer, or programmer. Instead provide content that focuses on the customer.
Starting a page with "Welcome to my Home Page" instead of providing a benefit-oriented headline. For example, "Eight Ways to Boost Credibility and Online Sales."
Outdated content. You need to continually add new information and update old information to keep visitors coming back.
Lack of keywords in your web content, page titles, and description. This will result in poor search engine positioning.
Missing META tags. Some search engines can't index you without META tags and your prospects won't be able to find your web pages.
Missing or hard-to-find contact information. Mention your contact information on every page to build trust and make it easy to buy from you.
Trying to be everything to everyone instead of having a unique selling advantage.
Not providing an online order form. Make it easy to buy from you by providing several ordering options, including a secure online order form, an 800 number, and a fax number.
Not accepting credit cards. Offer several payment methods, including major credit cards. The majority of sales will come from online orders paid with credit cards. If you are not accepting credit cards online via a secured server, you will lose sales.
Typos. You'll loose credibility if you have typos.

Think like a prospective buyer who is visiting your web site for the first time. Your web site will be successful only if you provide what your customers need.

Ask for feedback from a professional web designer, customers, and business associates. Check your web design and content with these tips in mind. Correct the problems. It will pay off in sales and profits.

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