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Marketing mistakes that make us moan

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Developing Effective Vision and Mission Statements

Get prospects
to your site,
and keep them there

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1. Articles of Interest

Get prospects to your site, and keep them there

Many companies spend time and money to lead prospects to their Web sites. But then, they fail to keep viewers interested once they get there.

While Web site marketing and search engine optimization can get people to your site, good site planning and execution can keep them there.

Studies show that individuals exit Web sites in under two minutes if they can't find the information they want quickly. I personally leave a site after 30 seconds if I am bombarded by annoying, unpurposed animation, slow-loading graphics, or if the navigation is not intuitive and information hidden or buried.

So a Web developer's task is two-fold: Create a site that attracts visitors, and structure the site to communicate successfully once they get there.

Get prospects to your site

  • Avoid a site that uses graphics instead of text. A good combination of graphics and text is important, but a site totally built by graphics or Flash does not help your site's ranking on search engines. In addition to the key words in the HTML meta tags (hidden words within a site's homepage), many search engines index a site by the words used on the actual homepage itself.
  • When developing content, repeatedly use key words that relate to how people would search for your product or service. Avoid industry jargon; think like your customer.
  • Select a domain name or Web address that is easy to remember and not cumbersome to type into a browser.
  • Avoid using PDF files in place of information. Offering a PDF download is great, but providing the information in two formats—HTML for Web viewing and a PDF for saving to disk—is even better. Why? Many search engines can't scan the information in a PDF file, so those files can't contribute to a site's ranking.

Keep prospects interested:

  • The homepage is a first impression. It must instantly communicate who you are, what you do, and convey your company's visual image or brand.
  • A homepage must load quickly. It should not deter the viewer from getting information easily. A fancy Flash animation introduction that viewers cannot skip is a good example of a barrier to information.
  • Be sure buttons or menu titles are clear—in both wording and location. When I visit a business site, I want to know more information about the firm or that company's background. So if I cannot easily find a button or link that says "about us" or "about the company", it can be discouraging.
  • Make sure pages load quickly. Avoid extra graphics that slow site navigation. All graphics must serve a specific purpose relating to the overall goal or objective of the site. (Refer to the first bullet point.)
  • Include content your target audience would find most useful. Organize your site to how your customer would think, which may not necessarily be how your company is structured.
  • Avoid lifting text directly, as-is, from printed materials such as your company brochure. Instead, reformat the text in short paragraphs, making good use of headlines, subheads and bullet points when appropriate. Many Web readers scan for information, and won't read text in large paragraphs.

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