Here are 10 things to avoid:
1. Bad grammar, poor punctuationA website riddled with spelling and grammatical errors reveals a business person lacking in basic attention to detail. Not a good sales tool. On the other hand, clear and concise writing without errors instills great confidence in who you are and how you conduct business.
2. Jargon and techno-speakThe purpose of most product and service websites is to persuade potential customers to do business with you. But if much of your site’s language is overly technical or loaded down with industry jargon that your audience can’t decipher, potential customers may question your honesty, integrity and quality. Keep your copy straightforward, and have a non-expert review it for clarity.
3. Large photos and bannersLarge photos and animated banners take a long time to load and may cause annoyed visitors to leave. Use animation sparingly, and “optimize” each of your photos to load quickly.
4. Confusing menusSure, you want to offer visitors a variety of pages and features. But keep your site structure simple so that users are not confused or overwhelmed by too many choices. Offer clear navigation on every page so that if users take a wrong turn, they have an easy way to find what they’re looking for. If you’ve got a lot of content, consider putting a search box on each page.
6. Security breachesHackers are always prowling for ways to break into your site. If your site uses a content management system, install a website security component like SecureLive that blocks attacks and alerts you to trouble in real-time, while recording attacker data. And backup your site daily so you can restore it quickly if you’re attacked.
7. Outdated material and bad linksNothing alienates visitors more than content that’s obviously outdated, or links that produce error pages. Review your website regularly for old content and broken links.
8. Visual and audio overkillDizzying Flash intros and homepages with loud, pulsating music often come off as a pointless exercise of technical muscle, rather than providing content that sells your services. And they can take forever to load while visitors flee. Even if your website is music-related, give visitors the option of playing or downloading the music. Playing a video or music automatically when a page loads can be an unprofessional distraction from your business.
9. Unsupervised chat boardsIf you have a chat area, use a moderator to approve every submission before it’s posted. This avoids spam, off-color comments, potential security breaches, and other headaches.
10. Content that makes your business sound too good to be trueBraggy marketing materials and over-stated testimonials may turn off visitors. Rather than making your website an over-hyped infomercial, provide an interactive conversation with your audience that builds relationships based on trust.
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