Ten Website Mistakes to Avoid

This Summer, I've heard from a lot of business owners who paid way too much for really bad websites -- sites that are generating very little traffic, look unprofessional, and have copy that is poorly written and too salesy. If you are about to get a website developed for your own business and don't want to face the same financial headaches and disappointments these owners have experienced, take heed of the ten website mistakes to avoid that are listed below.

1. Don't hire a web designer without looking at sites the designer created for other businesses. Are they attractive? Do they represent the kind of site you want for your own business? Also, talk to a web designer's former clients. Are they happy with their sites? If they needed a new site or wanted to revamp their existing site would they work with the same designer again?

2. Don’t let yourself get talked into a design that does not feel right for your firm. Trust your gut! Some designers may try to convince you that your site needs lots of bells and whistles, but there is much to be said for a simply-designed site that does not detract from the information on the site and its call to action.

3. Don’t cram a lot of copy on a page. Too much information tends to overwhelm visitors and they are not apt to read it. Less is more. Also, steer clear of long paragraphs. Shorter paragraphs broken up with headings and bullets are more apt to hold visitors’ interest.

4. Avoid copy that reads like an advertisement -- one big sales pitch. A more effective approach is to provide visitors to your site with information that speaks directly to them. The copy should also clearly convey that your business has the knowledge, skills, experience and commitment to help them resolve their problems and achieve their goals.

5. Steer clear of awkwardly worded copy that was obviously written for the search engines. Work key words into your copy, but write for your audience, not search engines. If you provide quality content, the search engines will find you, especially if you regularly provide fresh content through a blog.

6. Don’t ignore the organization of your navigation bar. There should be logic behind the order of your tabs. Make it quick and easy for visitors to find the information they need.

7. Don’t invite visitors to click on a link that takes them off your site. They may get so absorbed in that other site that they don't return to yours! Your goal should be to keep visitors on your site as long as possible, not send them somewhere else.

8. Don’t place your social media buttons at the bottom of the pages on your web site. If you want visitors to click through to your Facebook and Twitter pages, position those buttons where they are most apt to be seen.

9. Don’t try to write your own web site copy unless you are a skilled writer, understand how to use keywords effectively and have a keen marketing sense. It takes all three qualities to create compelling web site copy.

10. Don’t hire a copywriter for your site without reading some of what he or she has written for other sites. Is any of the copy grammatically incorrect or poorly worded? Are there overly long sentences and/or spelling errors? Is the copy interesting enough that you want to keep reading?

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