Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Web Site Guide: What Not To Worry About

Web developmentEven though social media has become more prominent in your marketing, your Web site is still one of your most important online tools, because it's the place people go before they eventually decide to do business with you. However, many business owners are making some common mistakes with their Web site, possibly because of things that used to be true in the past. Here are five things you don't have to worry about with your Web site.

1. Don't worry about re-doing your graphic design.

It seems some Web site owners change their site design more than they change their underwear. A new design alone won't magically transform your Web site - any more than a fresh coat of paint will magically transform a retail shop.

Sure, if your site looks dated or amateurish, and that's turning away business, it might be worth considering a new design. But most Web sites aren't in that situation, so a new design won't help.

For most Web sites, though, the real problems are in the navigation and content - in other words, how people find their way around your site, and then how useful they find the information they read. So do worry about that, and leave the design to another day.

2. Don't worry about a fancy home page.

The home page is the first page that most first-time visitors will see. Its purpose is to show them immediately the site is worth investigating further, then convince them you understand their problems, and then lead them to another page within the site. You can't do this with a big graphic or flashy animation. It's OK for the home page to look good (in fact, it should), but not at the expense of leading the first-time visitor to the next page.

3. Don't worry about social media links.

It's become a common trend to include links to your social media platforms - Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and so on - prominently on your site. Although there's nothing wrong with that, think about what this is trying to achieve. The real purpose of these social media sites is to lead people to your Web site, not the other way around.

Do worry about making it easy for people to get in touch with you directly. Include contact information, including your e-mail address, phone number and perhaps even a postal address if appropriate, prominently on your site - preferably on every page.

4. Don't worry about a static Web site.

It wasn't so long ago that I was recommending that you keep constantly updating your Web site with new articles, videos and other content. That helps to keep the site fresh, and encourages site visitors (and Google!) to keep returning to it.

However, that's because less important now, as long as you have a blog for this purpose. Your blog should be the place where you keep posting new, relevant, high-quality content - and that will lead visitors back to your Web site.

If your blog happens to be part of your Web site, then the site automatically stays fresh and current. But even if your blog is separate, it will still attract visitors to your site.

5. Don't worry about getting more traffic.

What??? Am I really saying you shouldn't care about getting more traffic to your Web site? Yes ... sort of!

Of course, in theory the more visitors you get to your Web site, the more successful it will be. But in practice, most Web site owners try too hard to get more visitors and don't work enough on convincing those visitors to take action.

If you're already getting some visitors to your Web site, look at ways of making the site more appealing to them, and focus on converting them to take action. That will probably be far easier - and more profitable - than trying to get more visitors.

Look at it this way: If 1 out of every 100 visitors to your site takes action (and that's not an unrealistic amount), then 99 of them are not taking action. If you can convince just one of those 99 to take action, you'll double your profits! Contrast that with the effort it takes to double your traffic.

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