|| Keep it clean and tidy. Your web site will often be the only thing your visitors can judge you by. It must inspire confidence and demonstrate your competence, professionalism, and personality. So often companies make the mistake of neglecting the style and quality of their corporate online presence in a way that they would never consider for a brochure or press advertisement. The Internet is no less a marketing medium. You would not invite your potential clients into an untidy showroom or office - so don't present them with the online equivalent! Take care with presentation and keep your sales message clear and easy to understand.
|| Exchange links with other web sites. One of the most misunderstood Internet marketing strategies (especially by home improvement companies) is that of exchanging links. Why should you link to someone else's site? The obvious reason is, of course, that by exchanging links you will also receive more visitors to your site. However, the main reason for exchanging links as far as we are concerned is to help with search engine ranking. An increasing number of search engines will rank you higher if other sites link to you - in other words if other sites think it's good to link to you - then you must be a more worthwhile site. (Simple really when you think about it!) For instance, a small double glazing company in Scotland would benefit in linking to an equivalent company in the south of England. Other potential 'link partners' are suppliers and local town directories. Remember, however, that the search engines will give most 'credit' to links from sites with similar 'themes' - so there is not much sense in linking to a pet food company if you sell conservatories. Also remember that it's an 'exchange of links' - most links from your site should be reciprocated by the other web site.
|| Lose the jerky animations. They are distracting and make it hard to actually read what you're offering. We have all been to web sites with lots of fancy animations. Ask yourself - do they actually contribute to selling the product? Do they make it easier to read the page and get your sales message across? If they don't contribute - dump them!
|| Lose the funky backgrounds. In fact, lose ALL backgrounds. The easiest combination to read is black text on a white background. If you must use a background, then there are some acceptable colours like off-white, cream and light tan. Also avoid any watermark picture or faint pattern as it's harder to read. Backgrounds can be used to spice up your site on the left-hand side, or with your logo on top, etc., but leave your main body of text black against a white background!
|| Does your copy sell? - Ask yourself honestly - where did the copy for your web site come from? Did you employ the same skills on your web site as you did when designing a brochure or press advertisement? Or did you just leave it to the web designers / IT department? Use the best marketing brain in your company to write your site copy - or better still, employ outside help. A web site with great search engine positions will never reach its maximum potential without well-written copy.
|| Put a link to your ordering page and to your home page on every page. It's insane to make it hard to find your ordering page!
|| Offer valuable content! Offering a good product isn't enough. Most people prefer sites with valuable information / tips. Your visitor will respect you and your business far more if they feel they gained some additional value from visiting your site. A short 'tips' page or 'insiders' guide to your industry is one way to do this. Provide it in a download format if possible.
|| Special offers. Everyone likes something for nothing. Visitors to your web site will appreciate free offers, free guides, special offers etc. Even if it's the most 'modest' of offers you should provide some additional reward (perhaps a discount) for purchases made as a result of visiting your web site.
|| Promote your web site. Add your web address to all vehicle livery, stationery, press adverts etc. Commit to regularly resubmitting your web pages to all major search engines. Search engine promotion is not a 'one time thing'. Look out for 'link partners' and make additions / updates to your web site at least once per quarter.