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Top 10 Mistakes Businesses Make Online

TruePresence, an internet marketing company headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland with fourteen “franchises” across the US, has come up with what they’re calling the “top 10 mistakes businesses make online”. It’s an interesting list, one that definitely covers most of the mistakes that companies make online.

I could probably come up with 100 mistakes that businesses make online, but starting with 10 of them is a good start. Here’s what TruePresence says are the top 10. Do you agree?

Here are the most common mistakes businesses make online, according to Joel Fisher, Vice President and Creative Director of national Internet marketing firm TruePresence.

10. Going with the Old “Slap Something Up There” Approach

Letting your 17-year-old computer whiz nephew build your site might save money in the short term, but the result is very unlikely to achieve any business goals. Think of it this way; if you wanted to build a house, would you let your nephew build it simply because he happens to own a nail gun?

There are numerous tools on the market that can be used to build websites, however leave the heavy lifting to a professional.

9. Companies Talk to Themselves Instead of Their Customers

Too many business sites are built from the inside out rather than from the outside-in. Every business needs to look at its website from the perspective of the customer or the potential employee, and talk to them, in their language. Cut down on industry jargon and talk about what you can do for the customer, not about yourself. You are not your target audience.

8. Failing to Optimize for Search

Everything about a business site — content, structure, links — should be built with search engine optimization in mind. If your site is invisible to search engines, it may as well have no content at all. With the help of web professionals, start by determining what keywords your audience is searching for, (which may include concepts beyond the obvious) and build content around them. Keep in mind that most people search for a business category, not a company name.

7. Cool for the Sake of Cool

In the rush to create a standout website, companies often make the mistake of loading it with bells and whistles that serve little purpose. Though they may look cool and seem impressive, in reality they only frustrate visitors with slow load times and poor navigation. With business sites, less is more.

6. “Latest News” Dates Back to the Clinton Administration

Stale content gives the impression of a stale business. If the customer arrives to see nothing’s been updated in a month, a year, or more, they may assume your company has been idle for the same amount of time. Fresh content, on the other hand, adds relevance and credibility.

5. Sloppy or Clumsy Navigation

With 80 million websites competing for increasingly short attention spans, your site must be user friendly. With navigation, the big word is intuitive — elements of a site should be located where a visitor would think they would be located. Everything should be clearly labeled and easy to find.

4. Missing the Point

Whether you are a local business or a global corporation, your website should help build and extend your brand. Be yourself online and remain true to your principles. Too many businesses forget this fact or try to be something they are not. If your brand is all about customer service, make it easy to contact and interact with support teams through the website. Although it seems simple and obvious, too many businesses have websites that don’t do anything to support their brand proposition.

3. Forgetting Step Two — Getting People to Visit

What’s the use of throwing a big party and forgetting to send invitations? That’s what most businesses do online. Gone are the days of “build it and they will come.” That worked in Field of Dreams, not online. A business must market its site and maximize ways to reach potential customers.

2. Not Starting with Clear Objectives in Mind

What are we doing here again? When you launch a site, you should do so with specific objectives in mind. Whether your business hopes to simply educate prospects or become an all-in-one commerce portal, you’d better know why you got started in the first place in order be successful.

1. No Call to Action

If your website is just a brochure, then you may as well print a brochure. The main goal of a good business website is to Find, Get, and Keep customers. Interaction is the name of the game. This doesn’t have to be complicated; it can be as simple as a printable coupon, a form to fill out, or a newsletter to sign up for. The Internet is a communication vehicle; make sure your site sparks an ongoing conversation.

TruePresence is a national Internet marketing firm dedicated to helping businesses of all types and sizes maximize their online potential. The company’s unique franchise approach lets clients work strategically with a local consultant, while a national team of web design, development, and online marketing experts builds, manages, and supports each client solution. Headquartered in Baltimore, TruePresence currently has 14 franchise offices operating across the country and is actively expanding to new markets. For more information, visit http://www.truepresence.com/.

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