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The net is the most competitive place on earth. You need a great site, a compelling offer, and sufficient promotion money - just to stand a chance. The easiest of these is the great site. So start there.

Your site was probably created in some haste a while ago. And if it is like most sites, it is just OK. Not good - visitors expect stellar. Your site must compare to the best on the net or you will not be trusted. It may be time for an overhaul, and because you already own a site, it is not overly difficult or expensive to do so. So take a good critical look at your site and redo it if there is any doubt - your success depends on it. My company, theNETrep, does free web critiques - so we see thousands of sites. We see the same mistakes over and over again. Thus we created a list - the 12 rules for a great website. Use the rules as your guidelines when you overhaul your site.

Overall Look

Your visitor makes her assessment of your website within seconds of entering it for the first time. Schlock doesn't cut it - your site must have a highly professional appearance. Use a graphics designer. Go for clean, simple, and attractive. Under whelm.

Home Page

Your home page must convey your complete message. Think billboard. Tell me exactly what you want me to know right up front - tell me simply, clearly, and immediately.

Message

It is tough getting visitors. Give them a reason to stay. What is your offer? Exactly to whom is it directed? What makes your site better than others like it? What is in it for me if I stick around?

Speed

It is mandatory that your site be quick. Use graphics judiciously. Get rid of the gimmicks. Cut out the fancy scripts. Try to keep each page and all its components under 20K bytes.

Graphics Size

Good graphics adds pop to your site. But graphics are your biggest bandwidth hog. So be careful. Set your graphics to the proper resolution (72 dpi), crop them carefully, reduce their dimensions, and use compression software to squeeze out extra bytes. Check out gifwizard to see how well you are doing.

Text Legibility

Don't get fancy with fonts. A simple font on a light background is usually best. Separate wide blocks of text into columns. Use plenty of white space.

Page Skimability

Use many short headings. Highlight key words within the body of your copy to elaborate on the headings.

Copy Quality

Your web story is told with words - but your visitor is very impatient. He does not like to read. So make your copy simple, sharp and direct. Use half as many words as you think you should. Keep your paragraphs and sentences short. Use the word "you" a lot.

Navigation

Make it easy for your visitor to navigate your site - no matter where he finds himself. Include a link back to your home page on every page of your site.

Contact Form

Your visitor does not like filling out your forms. If you must collect information from your visitors, collect as little as is necessary. If you plan on collecting your visitor's email address, tell her how you plan to use it.

Testimonials

Many of your visitors are suspicious of cheats and incompetent business people. Prominently list testimonials from your best customers to help assuage their doubts.

Mistakes

You will lose visitors if your site has broken links, missing graphics, or scripts that don't run correctly. Check your site often with the popular browsers (IE, Netscape, and AOL) and fix the mistakes.

That is it, twelve rules - all common sense, most easy to follow. But I am startled at the number of sites that ignore them. Whether you do the work yourself or use a pro, overhaul your site now - it is a necessary first step to winning on the web.

(If your Web Site has at least one of the listed mistakes its time to hand your site over to us for evaluation and recommended renovations and overhauling)

HOW TO TRIUMPH OVER THE 12 MOST "DEADLY" Web Site MISTAKES

© 1998 Guy Parneix (reprinted from HTML writers guild newsletter)

It's a fact...business is more competitive today, than it's ever been! To succeed, you have to know how to market effectively. Unfortunately, most businesses have no idea of how to get the most out of every marketing "dollar" spent. Many don't have a clue on how to create powerful, hard-hitting, marketing communications.
Maybe today is a good day to take a sharp look at the Top 10 Most "Deadly" Marketing Mistakes and how you can overcome them.

Mistake #1: Ruining Your Reputation With Inappropriate advertising.

This is in number one position, because it is the biggest mistake that anyone (new or old to the Internet) can make. The common name for it is: "Spamming". Despite what you may have heard, there is no better way to run your online business into the ground than the act of sending unsolicited e-mail. It's the ultimate mistake!


Mistake #2: Your Web Site Is Focused On YOU, And Not On

Your Prospect And Customer Needs. Isn't this obvious? Check out a few web sites...then answer this question: Are most of the sites telling you what benefits you get if you become a customer? Or are they telling you about their company, how wonderful they are, what they do, how great their quality is, hot many 'hits' they get, how great their service is, and all about them?

Mistake #3: Fail To Determine Specifically Who Your Target Market Is And What Their Wants And Needs Are.

Ninety percent of businesses rarely make the attempt to determine who their market is, and what their market's desires, needs, wants, and passions are. The successful online marketers can tell you precisely who they're marketing to, and what their prospects and customers want in a product or service.
Here's a couple of "why and what's" you need to know: Why does your customer buy from you? What do your customers want or need most in the products or services you offer? Once you know the "why/what", you can focus your marketing efforts to show your prospects that you can satisfy their "why/what".


Mistake #4: Not Managing Your E-Mail Communications Efficiently.
Your e-mail communication with prospects and customers will make or break you. Since most of the time you will never get a chance to impress them in person, you really need to learn how to use e-mail to your advantage. Much of it is common sense. Each and every day we receive e-mail from people asking us to do business with them, and many of them look like they were written by a 10 year-old. Spelling errors, grammar problems, poorly formatted and difficult to read ... you name it.

Mistake #5: You Fail To Capture Your Customers & Prospects Names And E-Mail Addresses.


This is the simplest mistake to make and the easiest to correct. Your mailing list, or customer database is your biggest source of lifetime profits! To make your customer list really profitable, plan on contacting each person at least once a month.

Mistake #6: Never Try To Sell Your Customer A "Back End" Product.


Your hottest prospect is someone that has just bought from you. This is your best opportunity for another immediate sell. The key to successfully doing this is having products that offer solutions to the problems that your prospects have. Related problems and related solutions equals increased opportunity for sales. Your job isn't over once you've sold your customers their first product. Just remember: your customers are never "hotter" than when they first order! You should look for a logical product or service to offer your customer. Using the back-end will turn one-shot sales into repeat customers. Smart marketers do it consistently.


Mistake #7: You Are Not Persistent And Willing To "Stick It Out" Until You've Contacted Your Prospects Enough Times.


You must commit to connecting with your prospects a minimum of 7 times. You need to contact your prospect time and time again and hit them with the same benefit packed points over and over again until they take action! Set up a follow-up routine for yourself. One of the best pieces of software, I've found, that solves the "follow-up" problem is called "Pipeline". I used to do all my follow-up by hand (and it was hit-or-miss), now I'm totally automated. Turn the computer on, hit a button...and all my follow-up's for the day are done. You can download a demo of Pipeline at: <http://www.pipelinemail.com/rs/spectra/>


Mistake #8: Destroying Your Site With Graphics and/or Annoying Music.


This ranks right at the top of the most offensive Internet marketing mistakes. If you are running a business online, your web site's job is to sell. Anything that detracts from this process should be voided. Unless you are selling graphics...then heavy graphics on your site, that take forever to load, won't sell anything. Sound or music clips on your web site...annoying!!!


Mistake #9: You Don't Have Any Idea How To Write Or Produce Persuasive Sales Letters That Get Your Prospects To Buy NOW, Or To Get Your Customers To Buy Again.


If your car was having a problem, and you knew NOTHING about cars, (except where to put the gas in) would you open the hood and try to fix it? NO! Your investment in a good copywriter will be worth more than anything else you'll ever spend your marketing $$$ on.

Mistake #10: Forgetting That Marketing Is The Key To Your Success.


Even if you have the greatest product in the world you will never sell anything if you don't tell anyone about it. Without advertising there will be no prospects, and without prospects there will be no sales. It sounds like common sense, but it's also a common mistake. You only have to do two things to be successful in business, and you only need to do one of them on a regular basis. Can you guess what it is?

Mistake #11: Thinking You're Going To Get Rich Without Working Hard.

Here's another mistake that isn't exactly limited to the Internet, but it is just as dangerous as the others. If we had to pick just one, this would probably be the number one cause of failure -- both online and in the real world. Making money is easy, but you must work for it. A successful online business isn't built overnight, it is the result of many late nights. If anyone says that they can teach you to make a substantial amount of money without hard work, run as far away as you possibly can.

 
Mistake #12: Not Understanding The Real Power Of The Internet.


The Internet is a powerful communications tool. It was created for this purpose, and you'll get the most out of it if you use it as such. There has never been an easier or more cost-effective way for a business to reach its target audience. Take full advantage of it. Use the power of the Internet to reach millions of customers all over the world. And then use it to provide them with the sort of customer service that was impossible without it. Use the Internet to gather information, research the competition, and network with others. There's a goldmine of information floating around the Net, but you have to know where to find it. Learn how to use the search engines to easily find almost anything you need and your productivity will skyrocket.

There you have it...the Top Internet Web site Mistakes. Sure there are lots more, but these costly mistakes are common and they provide a good starting point. Steer clear of the Top Mistakes and you are guaranteed to be more successful in your endeavors on the Internet.

 

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