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Friday, September 5, 2014

Is Your Website Turning Away Business?

Your website is your store. It isn't a brick-and-mortar business, but it's a business nonetheless.
Think of your favorite retail store with a physical presence. I think of #Nordstrom. Everything--from accessories to couture--is designed to entice the customer to browse and then buy. Your website must do the same thing. Unfortunately, many websites fall short in many areas. I've created my own list of the Seven Deadly Website Sins, based on researching dozens of websites for myself and my clients.
  1. Spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. I was reviewing a website for a virtual assistant I was interested in using and never got past the first two paragraphs of the home page because of the mistakes. I immediately questioned this person's credentials. How can anyone advertise administrative support services if they can't write an error-free paragraph that makes sense? If you don't know the rules and can't write clearly, hire an editor or copywriter. It's worth the investment to have someone take over that task if you're not up for it. (You can request a Quick Guide to Punctuation on my website on the Free Tips and Tools page under Resources.)
  2. Rambling. Don't make visitors scroll and scroll and scroll because most of us will quickly leave and go elsewhere. Keep it short, simple, and relevant.
  3. Irrelevant information. Focus on your customer and what you do that makes that customer happier, sexier, richer.... Relevance means that what you write has meaning and usefulness for the reader.
  4. Egocentric. It's not about you; it's about what your customers gain from your products and services. Write about benefits, not features.
  5. Disorganized. Clearly identify who your customer is. If you have more than one customer base, for example, I have both large organizations and entrepreneurs for clients, point each in the right direction. Move people where you want them to go with relevant headlines and clear signposts.
  6. Missing calls to action. While most websites have one call to action with an opt-in, I recommend more than one. I offer a free e-book, a free special report, a link for an on-demand video webinar, and the opportunity to ask a question--plus I have several opportunities to follow me on social media.
  7. Slow loading. People are impatient. If your website takes too long to load, people will click over to another site.
What can you add to this list of website sins? Share your comments!
Patricia Haddock has more than 20 years of experience as a successful entrepreneur and employee development consultant. She delivers practical, real-world solutions and answers to help you produce bottom-line results for your business. She is the author of 11 books and hundreds of information products. Visit her at www.phaddock.com.

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