Common Mistakes on business websites.

No name, site names.

This means if your site is about breeding frogs but its title is Jacks place. It's called a no name name meaning it's non informative. Make the site name reflect what it's about.

Or worse, no name at all, I did this one first starting out, my main page was titled index for almost 5mts .The title can be whatever you want, so make it relevant. Not to mention the engines will be able to catalog and find you

Down-load time is too long

Don't make them wait for it. You need product images etc., but you don't need or want all the flash and dash. Keep it simple. Large flash animation's, or jumping about ad banners, graphics following the mouse pointer, or a ton of animated gif's or worse animated backgrounds are a not in most cases.

There are sites where this makes sense, if you are an artist, but only if it makes sense, not just because you think it will draw attention. Most people find it annoying.

WAV files !

The same goes for music. I can think of one type of business page that it makes any sense. The sites for mp3 down loads for musicians, or sites that sell music. If you feel you must put music on the page, put an off button in plain sight at the top and bottom of the page.

Ad pop ups

Everybody hates them. Period, they are not a good marketing strategy and almost everybody has a pop killer now and will never see them.

Too Wide

Check the site out in different resolutions. Make it too large and fixed in how wide, and you just condemned about half your viewers to a side scroll bar, which means scroll down, scroll left, read, scroll right scroll down...... you see what is happening here ? People will put up with that for about 30 seconds.

It does happen occasionally due to a browser mis-match and no fault of yours, build the site to the medium norm, which is 1024 by 768 at the moment.  And set the window size to a percentage. Anything fixed in a larger size, and you force a side scroll.

Dynamic content

Meaning those updated daily, hourly ,to add content to your site ,for updates in news headlines, stock quotes and sports scores. Nope, Unless your a newspaper or news server. They just slow the site down. Amber alerts being the one exception.

No links page

This one I see a lot, the web runs on reciprocity, If you don't have a links page for your business you have no way to have that many in-bound links, as you have no place to make an exchange, no in-bound links means a low page rank.

Test Your Site

Site errors, they happen. Run your site as if you where a customer, especially after you make changes. Nothing worse than page not found, because of some link error you could have avoided.

No Contact Information

Now I know we all don't want to hang our address out there on every page, as some suggest, but at least your real name, a picture, an email address ? Put the address on your printable order form or about us page. Or at least an email to get the address. But let people know your a real person.

I can't count the sites where there was no way to contact the owner. Or they hid it so I had to hunt for it. This just makes people think you have something to hide. And for a business site that's a no no.

Navigation

I have a whole article on this because it's a common problem, make it simple and consistent. Don't make them have to figure it out or......bye bye.

Credibility

Make it credible. Make sure they know their information is secure. Privacy polices, terms of service statements, payment information, refund polices. This is a business, it should look like it. If it does not have these things, most people will not buy and who can blame them they are being given no assurances.

In the real world you can go back to the store to complain, on the net there is less ability to reach the seller. So as seller you have to go out of your way to assure the buyer of your credibility.

Customer Service

Email the customer back right now. Check the mail daily , several times a day. This is where E commerce really falls compared to live. Being able to reach the seller to ask questions.

Disappearing Act

Offline for days, weeks, mts, for updates or moving or whatever. It's the same as putting a pad lock on the door. If you must be offline, put up something that tells them why and when you expect to be back or where you went.

Outdated information

If you haven't updated the site since 2000, you are committing website hari kari. Update often.

Dreaded red X

This means an image didn't download, which looks dreadful on any web site. The impression it gives,is someone is not minding the store. It may not even be your fault. Part of a banner exchange etc.? Host the image yourself rather than have it be a remote call. It's not worth the savings in band useage, to have it not show up, if the other site fails to send it.

Copy cat sites

Yes one should copy things that work, but not to the point where your site can't be told from your competitor. Be original.

Under Construction

Kiss of death. All sites are, by definition, always under construction, so don't say this. If you don't tell them, they will never know it's half finished. Better to say check this page for updates.:)

No prices

Never, do this one. That"call for price quote", unless the business your in, flat demands it. Even then, give them a range they can expect to pay. Article

Forced registration

That in order to buy or even think about buying, I have to log in and join the site ,have passwords, etc. I refuse to do it and so do most people, as everybody knows why you do it. If your e-store software came this way, they have done you a disservice. Give your viewer another option if at all possible.

Track by your sales figures, not the registration list." Big Name al "- mart did this one for two years and they paid major bucks to have it designed, so it's a common thought, but in the mind of the customer, a bad thought.

No shopping cart

With the availability of free services for shopping carts, this one makes no sense. If the client has to write it all out and email it to you, in order to order anything, they are not going to. There are exceptions to this, but they are few. People shop the net because its easy ,and if it's not easy, they are outta here.

Site accessibility for persons with disabilities and the elderly

This one is tricky, but needful, alt statements, large enough font sizes, contrast, ways and means to get around the site for the mobility impaired. You lose a large segment of possible customers if you do not take this into consideration.

No options for payment

Not everybody wants to put their credit card or ATM information on the net. Offer your viewer alternative ways to buy.

Misrepresentation

If the images you show distort the color etc. of an item, your customer is going to be upset when they get it. Make sure that the images you present, come as close as possible to what they get.

Spam

It's easy to get a mailing list, they are for sale everyday. But annoying thousands to gain a few possible sales is not an option for a reputable seller. Not to mention, currently illegal.

Regular retail prices

If your customer can get the same thing, in a local store at that price, why would they buy it from you and pay shipping ? It costs less to run a web store, pass some of that savings, on to the customer.

Ignoring foreign visitors

The web is world wide, and you will get visitors who don't read your language. Put in a link to a translation program, like Alta Vista Babblefish. Which also argues the point of having all relevant information in text form, translators can't translate images.

No search engine

If you sell a lot of things, don't make them wade through it all to find what they want, have a localized search engine for the site and put it where they can see it right off.

I am sure you can think of more, but in short anything that stands in the way of your customer and the goods you wish to sell ,should be avoided if at all possible.

Merry shopping
Esta


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